The nonprofit world has, somewhat grudgingly, begun to embrace the use of data in decision-making. This is good, not because numbers are everything, but because informed decisions are usually better than off-the-cuff choices. The term “dashboard” has become commonplace in nonprofit board and management team meetings. But is any dashboard a good dashboard? Not necessarily.

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AuthorScott Schaffer

Jim Collins’ book Good to Great introduced a powerful concept in management management strategy. Named for the humble, nocturnal hedgehog, which has sustained as a species for millions of years, the book is as relevant as ever. The Hedgehog Concept can be valuable for nonprofits, and in this entry I talk about why.

Trump is our asteroid. The questions nonprofit leaders need to ask are: Can we adapt rapidly?  And, if not, will our organization become irrelevant?  Adaptation may require rapid deployment of new programs, immediate expansion or reallocation of resources, engagement with new partners, or mobilizing constituents in short order.  Resilient organizations will survive, and may even be stronger when this chapter ends.

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AuthorScott Schaffer

Many nonprofits struggle to break even, or face strict capacity limitations. The root of these problems is usually the soundness and health of the organization's business model.  The business model is a key to ensuring high performance in achieving mission and financial goals. Public Interest Management Group has released a new white paper that demystifies the business model and its key role in organizational strategy.

Now, more than ever, all nonprofits need to engage in advocacy as a strategy to serve their communities and support their missions. Contrary to a widely-held myth, 501(c)(3) organizations are not prohibited from advocacy. Further, nonprofits are vital intermediaries in the public policy process. Here I offer 4 practical ways mission-based organizations can incorporate advocacy into their work.

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AuthorScott Schaffer

Over 61 million people voted for a would-be strongman, who conveyed a charismatic, hyper-masculine style. Does this in reality translate into effective leadership? A growing body of research suggests it does not. Public Interest Management Group's own applied research shows that externally-focused nonprofit CEOs do not, in fact, have greater success than internally-focused counterparts. Strong leadership can take many forms, and we - nonprofit search committees and voters - need to look beyond cliches and gut reactions in identifying effective leaders.

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AuthorScott Schaffer

Trump's election has wide-ranging implications for nonprofit organizations, particularly in the areas of health, the environment and social justice. Further, potential impact of economic policies may impact nearly all nonprofits. This post discusses the impacts, and offers tangible steps nonprofit leaders can take to adapt and respond.

Conventional strategic planning in the nonprofit sector is often ineffective. PIMG's Data-Driven Strategic Planning approach aims to remedy this gap. Rather than focusing primarily on alignment of people within the organization, it’s principally about identifying a strategy that will focus the organization on successful performance. Informed by hard financial and market data, nonprofits are empowered to move confidently toward ambitious, attainable goals.

Charity Navigator (CN) is a prominent evaluator of nonprofits' performance, issuing ratings of many U.S. charities. PIMG issued a review and critique of CN's methods in a white paper last winter. Since then, CN has tweaked its financial rating methodology. Unfortunately, these minor changes failed to address major problems. Again we must ask: why is the nonprofit sector so vulnerable to poor uses of data?

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AuthorScott Schaffer

Charity Navigator (CN) is a prominent evaluator of nonprofit organizations, and publishes ratings for the purpose of informing donors. PIMG has examined CN's rating system in depth, and we found deep flaws and inconsistencies. As it stands, CN's ratings are not valid indicators of nonprofit performance. More troubling, however, is the sector's willingness to accept unsound "standards."

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AuthorScott Schaffer

Many great nonprofits work their magic largely behind the scenes. Farmers markets offer an excellent example of nonprofit enterprises at work, and the state of Washington has two of the best in the business: the Neighborhood Farmers Market Alliance, and Washington State Farmers Market Association. Both of these PIMG clients are efficient, effective, and striving for bigger things in the future.

Read about PIMG's new upcoming workshops. "High-Performance Nonprofit" and "Business Planning as a Strategic Tool" are newly designed sessions that offer practical, proven tools for improving organizational effectiveness and results...

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AuthorScott Schaffer

A newly formed national nonprofit, Grounded Solutions Network is the result of a merger between the National Community Land Trust Network and Cornerstone Partnership. Grounded Solutions Network ensuresthat communities across the U.S. are inclusive across all income levels for generations to come.What made the merger process so successful?  Learn more...

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AuthorScott Schaffer

Organizational partnership is a time-tested mechanism for nonprofits to attain many benefits of scale. In fact, there are many flavors of partnership, most of which are not widely understood.  Read more about PIMG's latest white paper Emerging Nonprofit Partnership Models: Two Alternatives to Traditional Merger... 

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AuthorScott Schaffer

Public Interest Management Group’s work is about building strong and sustainable nonprofits, and helping our clients adapt to change and grow. We draw on effective management practices and use analytic methods to build and test scenarios. Our clients are moving forward through data-based strategies, inspired leadership and savvy operations. These will be big themes in 2016 too

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AuthorScott Schaffer