Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Tune-Up? New Tires? New Car?

Friday, February 7th, 2014

Are you giving some thought to a Strategic Plan for your organization? Perhaps your existing plan simply needs a review and a tune-up. Or you might have an organization that really runs well…….on paper; but for some reason all the air has gone out of the tires. Or you might be in the market for a brand new car……..a totally new Strategic Plan. If any of these needs resonate with you and your non-profit organization, contact me and we can discuss how you can get back on the road and fully operational……whether with a tune-up, new tires or a totally new vehicle!


Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

Oh no! Not another committee! Oh no! Not another committee meeting! Gr-r-r-r-r! Committees have gotten bad raps over the years in non-profit organizations. Rightfully so in many circumstances. There are often too many committees. They are frequently poorly and under-utilized. Committees don’t know what their functions are. Committees should bring power and vigor to your organization and your board. They should be an asset, not a liability. Committee participation should be energizing and not drudgery.

Often Boards as a whole usurp committees’ roles and do all their work, often making the very existence of committees unnecessary. If you are on a non-profit board and your meetings last 4 hours or more, your board is probably doing the work that committees should be doing.

Boards with whom I have met have often heard me say: “Very rarely should there be any items on a board meeting agenda where the board is starting from scratch on that matter. Instead, your individual committees, whether they be standing (mandated by the by-laws) or ad hoc (project-oriented, with an end to them) should do the up-front work and bring their findings and recommendations to the full Board.” The Board then discusses and possibly refines the committees’ work. This is then followed by an acceptance of their recommendations or by a request that the committee do some more work on their assignment.

In implementing such a process, the mission of each committee must be clear and the scope of the immediate task before the committee must be made plain. Take some time to give some thought to your Board’s committee structure right now, regardless of your role on the board. If necessary, nudge someone at the top with a suggestion as to how your committees can be more effective. Be energized! Be eager to go to a committee meeting!

If you would like to have an outside objective eye take a look at how your Board committees work and are structured, please get in touch with me.


Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

One of the most frequently used phrases by both non-profit and profit organizations and companies is “Mission Statement.” Were you to scan the internet you will find multiple definitions of “Mission Statement” or simply “Mission.” You will also discover myriad guidelines as to how to establish your Mission.  What you will find agreement upon, however, is that it is essential for every non-profit to have clarity on what its Mission really is.

I find that a stated Mission for an organization is fundamental because of what I believe its definition to be. Simply, the Mission Statement or Mission of an organization is its Marching Orders! It is the reason for the organization’s existence. It is what prompts the staff to get out of bed and go to work every day. The Mission motivates board members and volunteers to give time, energy, skills and passion to a cause. An organization’s clearly stated Mission inspires donors to contribute.

Can you articulate your mission right this second? Could each of your staff, board and volunteers state it? When was the last time you read it? Is it simple enough to memorize quickly? Is your mission stated clearly on your organization’s web site?

If your mission is fuzzy at best, or non-existent at worst, and you would like some assistance in either clarifying or developing clearly stated Marching Orders, I would be happy to facilitate a process for you, along with your staff and board, to bring that about. Send me an email or give me a call.


Thursday, February 17th, 2011

We often hear and use the phrase…… “taking it to the next level.” In fact, I refer on this web site’s home page about helping to move your organization to “new levels of service.” Expressions that are familiar can all too quickly become trite and meaningless. “New level” or “next level” can certainly fall into that category.

It’s difficult to know whether or not we have arrived at a next or new level of service unless some planning and goal-setting has done that allows you to envision what you want your organization to look like as it moves forward and upward. Establish challenging, yet achievable, goals will motivate you to take the necessary steps to arrive at that next level; plus, you will know when you’ve gotten there because you’ve already taken a prior mental, and hopefully on paper, snapshot of where you hope and expect to be.

It’s not trite or meaningless to say “next level” when it’s a strong place of service to which you’re aspiring to move your organization. Next time you use the phrase “next level” to describe where you’re advancing to, rather than it referring to some amorphous destination, have that specific image in mind of where you’re headed. I’d be happy to help you focus your camera if you want to take a clear picture of your organization’s next level.


Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

Close to the top of any list of responsibilities of a non-profit Board of Directors is Governance. In almost any thesaurus, you will find a lengthy listing of synonyms for “Governance.” Among the most frequent are “authority,” “control,” “direction,” “oversight,” and “management.”

The bottom line is that the non-profit Board is the foundational governing body of the organization. The Board establishes policy. It hires and evaluates (and sometimes dismisses) the CEO. The Board guards the mission and insures fiscal solvency. Although the Board does not, or at least it shouldn’t, run the day-to-day operations, it establishes the governing framework within which those ops take place.

I often whimsically refer to the “Mac Truck Syndrome” or depending on one’s taste, the “Beer Truck Syndrome.” If the CEO of an organization on a given day is run down by one of these trucks, or for any other reason he/she hastily departs, the Board is in charge. Both the Board and the CEO should take heed of this reality: the Board must, in the sense that it should wrap its collective mind around the fact that it actually is in place to govern, and not to rubber stamp the plans of the CEO; the CEO should, in that she/he “executes” the direction of the organization within the policy (Can you say “Governance?”) framework established by Board.

Rubber stamping by the Board is abdication. Circumvention by the CEO is irresponsibility. Either or both lead to an organization characterized by my newly invented word for your dictionary: “governless.” JW Non-Profit Advisors would welcome hearing from you if you want to be certain your organization is not suffering from terminal “governlessness.”

GPS or Road Maps?

Friday, January 21st, 2011

For my retirement from Angel Flight West, I was given a very good GPS. Not being particularly gadget-oriented, I didn’t take it out of the box to put it to use until about three months later. Now, I wouldn’t go anywhere without it! But, I still keep my ample supply of paper road maps easily accessible in a nearby drawer. My GPS gets me directly to my destination, but my road map allows me to see the bigger picture of where the starting points and destinations are in relation to everything else along the way during my trip, e. g. other cities, key landmarks, intersecting roads and highways, tourist attractions, mountains, rivers and more.
The vision and mission of your non-profit organization is what you enter into your GPS. They are your ultimate destination. Along the way, however, your road map is needed – a bigger picture Strategic Plan that includes all other aspects to be taken into consideration in your organization’s journey, e.g. board development, fund raising, volunteerism, personnel training and more. We at JW NonProfit Advisors are here to assist you in constructing your very vital road map.


Saturday, January 8th, 2011

I am hoping that the simple header photo of this web site can signify my desire to shed light on some of the complexities and challenges of the NonProfit world. Whether it is the convoluted difficulties of the NonProfit board room, or the struggles of planning for the future with the uncertainties in today’s economy, or the stress of raising money to serve our fellow human beings – my hope is that together we can penetrate some of the clouds that often hang over the efforts of NonProfit organizations and leaders, and let the light dispel and solve the problems they face.

Jim Weaver 1.8.11

New Web Site

Friday, December 31st, 2010

Thank you for visiting the JW NonProfit Advisor’s web site, our new presence on the web.