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It's Not What You Know, But Where You Look That Matters

Posted Apr 10, 2012 01:15 PM
If there’s one thing that ties nonprofit-sector “newcomers” with those more experienced, it’s the learning curve. Board members, staff people, even those that arrive with years of private-sector experience, all share the need to get up-to-speed on the uniqueness of the sector. It simply takes time to learn and understand.

If there’s one thing that ties nonprofit-sector “newcomers” with those more experienced, it’s the learning curve. Board members, staff people, even those that arrive with years of private-sector experience, all share the need to get up-to-speed on the uniqueness of the sector. It simply takes time to learn and understand.

When starting out, the focus tends to be on bylaws, fundraising strategies, and other requirements, like financial reporting. Soon, attention shifts to evaluation, human resources, and even marketing.  Over time, organizational and leadership development emerge as areas to address. And, throughout it all, there’s the issue of board roles and responsibilities.

Are there other topics to grasp? Plenty! Is it humanly possible for anyone to know all of the “best practices” and tools and templates of the trade? Unlikely at best.

Thankfully, for whatever the issue-at-hand, you don’t have to re-invent the wheel or spend hours tracking it down. We, through the Statewide Nonprofit Resource Directory, have curated some of the best in the business. With over 20 categories and countless more subcategories, the list of resources is too long to include. But here’s a sampling of what you’ll find:

  • NPower’s Social Media Audit
  • CompassPoint’s Internal Controls Checklist
  • United Way of King County’s Board Composition Analysis Template
  • Independent Sector’s Basics of Nonprofit Advocacy
  • WAACO’s Nonprofit Legal Self-Assessment Checklist
  • 501 Commons’ Volunteer Management Resources
  • And many, many more…including some that are in the works!

No matter where you are on the learning curve, you’re still learning.  So it pays to be ready for that next challenge before it comes up. When it does, use the Directory’s search function or visit the Tools and Best Practices for Nonprofits page to meet your information needs.

And, as always, if you don’t find what you’re looking for, let me know (matt@501commons.org, 206-682-6704). We’re here to help.

- Matt Fikejs