Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Nonprofit Operations Advocate

Many readers of my nonprofit management and operations blog on Aspiration's website know that I am very passionate about Nonprofit Operations. In my Nonprofit Operations vs. Programs post on Aspiration's site I describe Operations as "a broad term that I use to describe running the behind the scenes of a nonprofit. These duties include, Administration, Finance, Fundraising, Human Resources, Risk Management, Marketing and more." I'm not sure why I am so passionate about nonprofit operations; I feel these duties are important to the success of any nonprofit organization. I guess I am a nonprofit operations advocate and ask every nonprofit I come into contact with, how's your operations look? Have you completed a Risk Management plan? Do you organize your fundraising files?

Prioritize your Operations please!

During my PhD I'm planning to research how nonprofits that prioritize their operations are more effective at achieving their missions!! Sounds great, but in reality there are so many other priorities within nonprofits that push operations off the list. So, the majority of the time nonprofits tend to waste a lot of money fixing operational problems that could have been avoided. I'm not saying that operations should always be the first priority--I am simply saying it should be a priority. So, before you make another appointment in your very busy day think, what am I avoiding? Updating the personnel manual? Adding my special event to my insurance policy? Assessing my cash flow situation? Then complete that important operational task and avoid costing your organization more money.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Is There an Ideal Executive Director?

As I embark on my PhD in Leadership I have been thinking a lot about my experiences working as a staff member and senior manager in nonprofit organizations. I have had many instances where my priorities for the organization--many times operational don't line up with the ED's priorities until a crisis occurs and then they take on my priorities :) Right now it is really easy for me to judge the ED's I work for because I have never been an Executive Director. I also tend to work for people who are exact opposite of me. I am an Operations person, an organized planner; however I tend to work for amazing charismatic leaders who go from one crisis to another. So I wonder, is there such a thing as an ideal Executive Director?

An ideal Executive Director to me--is not a workaholic, is able to maintain a strong work ethic but knows how to manage his or her time and makes time for his or her family. He or she is supporting and spends quality time with his or her staff including responding to them in a timely manner. He or she is organized and a great leader, manager within and outside of the organization. He or she understands and balances the priorities of the entire organization, program, operational and strategic. He or she knows how to delegate and has confidence and believes in his or her staff to get the job done well.

What does your ideal Executive Director look like?