HOW TO RUN A NONPROFIT

It doesn't require rocket science.

A MUST READ for anyone associated with a nonprofit,
Particularly newbies and anyone interested in assuming authority as an officer.
As such, it is a GREAT GIFT IDEA.

by Tim Bryce
IN PRINTED, PDF & eBOOK FORMATS (Kindle)
For pricing and ordering information, click HERE.
August 2019

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TIM BRYCE is a writer and management consultant living in the Tampa Bay area of Florida. Over the last 45 years, he has served on the Board of Directors for well over fifty nonprofits in a variety of capacities, everything from President to Historian, Secretary, Finance Chairman, Division Director, Communications Chairman, etc. He has written several books and numerous articles on management, technology, and our ever changing world. His columns are read worldwide and his radio segments are played in the United States. As a management consultant, he has lectured and worked with companies of all sizes and shapes around the world. lectured and worked with companies of all sizes and shapes around the world. His blog, "The Bryce is Right!," can be found at: timbryce.com
 

Published by:
TIM BRYCE
Copyright © 2019 by Tim Bryce
Paperback, PDF & eBook (Kindle) formats
ISBN: 9781082722172
151 pages (paperback)
E-Mail: timb1557@gmail.com

 
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Mr. Bryce is available for lectures, speeches, readings, and after-dinner talks.
Click for LECTURE FLYER. Click to REQUEST SPEAKER.
 

    DESCRIPTION

    The purpose of this book is to act as a guide to effectively run a nonprofit organization, be it a charitable, fraternal, religious, amateur sports, civic, social, veteran, political, professional trade, or homeowner/condominium association. All of these organizations typically experience the same type of problems, such as leadership, organization, membership, attendance, finances, records management, excessive politics, or whatever. Sadly, most of this is unnecessary and can be avoided with a little patience, common sense, and some good old-fashioned management.

    Let's put our cards on the table; the biggest problem with most nonprofits is they are run by nice people, who mean well, but haven't a clue as to what they are doing. This book is for anyone involved with a nonprofit, be it a new person, or someone about to assume an officer position. As such, it is a GREAT GIFT IDEA.

 

    From the INTRODUCTION

    WHY THIS BOOK?

    The purpose of this book is to provide a guide to effectively run a nonprofit organization. In the parlance of the IRS, this includes the following types of nonprofits:

    IRS Codes:
    501 - Representing a multitude of charitable, fraternal, religious, amateur sports, civic, social, professional trade, and veteran organizations, to mention but a few.
    527 - Political organizations (which may be for-profit).
    528 - Homeowner/condominium associations.

    There are obviously distinguishable nuances for each type of group, but this primarily resides in their mission statement. Otherwise, they are all fundamentally the same in terms of their operations and challenges.

    Over the last 45 years, I have served on the Board of Directors for well over fifty such organizations in a variety of capacities, everything from President to Historian, Secretary, Finance Chairman, Division Director, Communications Chairman, and just a simple helper. I learned a lot along the way and hope to describe my lessons learned. By profession, I am also a management consultant who has taught planning, systems design, and project management to a wide variety of companies around the world.

    As an aside, of all the groups I have participated with, the homeowner/condominium associations were perhaps the most difficult to work with, due to the bickering, false accusations, and more. Serving on the board of these associations is a thankless job, regardless how well you perform the task.

    Interestingly, no matter where I go these days, I inevitably encounter a nonprofit organization struggling with such things as membership, attendance, finances, records management, excessive politics, or whatever. Sadly, most of this is unnecessary and can be avoided with a little patience, common sense, and some good old-fashioned management.

    Even worse, the press frequently writes horror stories of embezzelments, adversarial relationships with management companies and lawyers, and primitive or nonexistent records management. True, these are fast-paced times in terms of changing technology, but it has always been so. However, if you pay attention to the basics of management and have an eye for detail, you should be fine.

    WHY ARE NONPROFITS FAILING?

    Let's put our cards on the table; the biggest problem with most nonprofits is they are run by nice people, who mean well, but haven't a clue as to what they are doing. Many of these offices come with a fancy title, but offer little in terms of insight for performing the work. Very few provide training in how to run a nonprofit effectively. There are some state courses describing pertinent rules and regulations to be observed, but none to my knowledge in terms of how to actually lead and manage. Consequently, nonprofits flounder due to ineffective leadership, causing meetings to become chaotic, financial reports to be prepared erroneously, the group finds itself doing nothing but fighting fires (reactive management), all of which causes a decline in the organization regardless of the goodness of its intent.

    People who serve on the Board of Directors for nonprofits should only do so "for the good of the order," meaning it has more to do with the overall group and less about the individual. In the early days of our country, the Congress consisted of representatives from farms and other businesses who took turns serving, and at the end of their term, were anxious to return home and tend to their farm or business. There was no thought of lifetime service as there is today. They came, they performed the nation’s business "for the good of the order," and returned home. This simply is not so anymore.

    Today we have a lot of people serving only to fuel their ego or career, and the nonprofit suffers in the process. There are those who take on a position to give themselves visibility to promote their products and/or services. Of course, the membership has no interest in this, yet the individual persists in his/her agenda. I remember attending a party shortly after moving into my neighborhood. In the course of the evening, I was introduced to a gladhander who said, "Hi, I'm Joe Blow, President of the homeowners association." His attitude was a bit pompous for my taste and I don't know who he was trying to impress, but I was glad he moved along to someone else and I was able to wipe my hand clean.

    Then there are others who look to add a feather in their cap which will look good on a resume. In Freemasonry, we call this "chasing aprons," meaning they are actively pursuing fancy Masonic aprons and titles. Most of these people never accomplished much in life and thrive on the adulation associated with such recognition. These type of people should be given their aprons, then get them out of the way so they do not impede progress. "Chasing aprons" is equally applicable in other nonprofits as well.

    Such conduct results in what today is called an “Ineptocracy,” an incompetent ruling government where the least capable are elected to positions of authority. Quite often, this is done not because the person has exhibited any special talent, but rather there is nobody willing to serve or, perhaps worse, "it's his/her turn" to preside. Not surprising, people quite often rise above their level of competency (aka, "The Peter Principle"). This does a disservice to both the organization and the person as well. When a person has risen above their level of competency, it will become obvious to others and will likely affect morale.

    Years ago, Sam Rayburn, the 43rd Speaker of the House of Representatives made the observation in a political campaign, "I will not deny that there are men in the district better qualified than I to go to Congress, but gentlemen, these men are not in the race." This is an important point as qualified people tend to avoid serving on a Board as they are not inclined to belong to something perceived as a thankless or futile job. Consequently, less qualified people end up running the show.

    Working "for the good of the order," means you believe in the virtues of the group, that it serves a useful purpose, and you possess something to help the group, be it a specific talent or you are willing to work in any capacity. This too is an important point. If you are unwilling to get your hands dirty, you should not be serving on a Board of Directors. It is like the old saying, "talk is cheap." The effort of ALL members of the board are required in order to be successful. It is one thing to offer advice, quite another to see it through to completion.

    There is one other cause for failure, people believe management is not "cool." Translation: a person lacks the discipline, organization, and structure to effectively lead people and hold them accountable. This normally results in either one person doing all the work so others are not burdened, but more likely, everything falls through the cracks and chaos ensues.

    Whoever leads a nonprofit, must set the proper tone from the beginning, including the "5-W’s and H," meaning "Who" is assigned to "What" work, "When" and "Where" it must be performed and "Why." As to "How," there may be standard protocols, tools and techniques to be followed, but it may be time to upgrade them. This should be followed by a prioritized list of objectives for the nonprofit to pursue in the operating year.

    Running a nonprofit organization doesn't require rocket science. Actually, in most cases, it is quite simple. You need responsible management; someone who knows the governing docs, Robert’s Rules of Order, and knows how to write an agenda and use a gavel. It is not necessary for the leader to have all the answers, but how to formulate the answers with the rest of the board or membership.

    One last responsibility the leader must master is to "do yourself out of a job." Your tenure is typically brief, such as a year or two. Before you leave though, it is essential you have taught the Board to carry on without you. This is actually an on-going process beginning on the first day of your tenure. Take plenty of notes, perhaps a log of your activities, but also create or update checklists, job descriptions, governing docs (e.g., bylaws), and technical "how to" procedures.

    The chaos within nonprofit groups these days has gotten worse because the leaders have either forgotten the basics of management or were never trained to begin with, or maybe worse, they're in it for the wrong reasons, such as accolades. It is like they have come down with a bad case of "The Stupids." All of this is so unnecessary. We must always remember, we are there to serve for "the good of the order," and no other reason.

    This book is organized into the following sections:

    CHAPTER 1 - A NONPROFIT IS A BUSINESS - some legalities to consider.

    CHAPTER 2 - THE HUMAN SPIRIT - being sensitive to it.

    CHAPTER 3 - MEETINGS - how to conduct properly.

    CHAPTER 4 - MANAGING RECORDS & FINANCES - describing administrative details.

    CHAPTER 5 - COMMUNICATIONS - how to effectively communicate with the outside world.

    CHAPTER 6 - BRYCE'S PLANNING SEMINAR - a special seminar to determine a nonprofit's purpose and objectives.

    CHAPTER 7 - PROJECT MANAGEMENT - how to plan, estimate, schedule, report and control projects.

    CHAPTER 8 - ANOMALIES - describing difficult situations we often face in nonprofits.

    - Tim Bryce
    Palm Harbor, Florida

 

    UPCOMING LECTURES & BOOK SIGNINGS

    Thursday, Oct 15th, 2019
    "Tim's Senior Moments"
    Rohan Recreation Center
    850 Kristine Way
    The Villages, FL 32163
    One hour presentation.
    The doors open at 5:30pm; the trouble begins at 6:00pm.

    Contact Tim to REQUEST SPEAKER.

 

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