Strengthening Nonprofit Governance & Management
 536 N.Jackson Street,  Jackson, Michigan 49201

                                                                                                           July 2011

In this issue... (click to jump)

Daring to Lead

New Member Benefit - Free Do-Overs

Google Panda - What is it and Why it's Scary

Why You Shouldn't Start a Nonprofit

Share your 990 Feedback with the IRS

Leadership Book Club

Upcoming Workshops

Welcome New Members

Upcoming Workshops

Wednesday, January 01, 2014 12:00 AM • Does every member of your board understand their legal obligations, basic responsibilities, and duties?
Tuesday, April 22, 2014 9:00 AM • United Way of Jackson Conference Room A/B 536 N. Jackson, Jackson MI 49201
Thursday, April 24, 2014 8:00 AM • United Way Conference Room A/B, 536 N. Jackson St., Jackson, MI 49201
Thursday, May 01, 2014 8:00 AM • Cascades Manor House, 1970 Kibby Road, Jackson, MI 49203

Welcome New Members

Wow! We have welcomed more than **30** new members so far this year!


Welcome - and to all of our members who continue to renew, attend workshops, and participate in networking activities - thank you!


You can find us here: 


Leadership Book Club Progress

You may begin reading now! The Carnegie branch of the Jackson Public Library has offered to host the monthly meetings and also has the technology to do a podcast. In addition, participants will have the opportunity to partcipate in discussion via blog. What Got You Here Won't Get You There by Marshall Goldsmith will be the innagural book. Disucssion will take place on September 20, 2011 at noon in the Carniegie Auditorium.  Click here to register

More about the Leadership Book Club

Meyer and CompassPoint Release New Daring to Lead  Study

Two-thirds of the 3,000 nonprofit executive directors surveyed plan to leave their jobs within five years. Executives express frustration with nonprofit funding models, amplified by the recession, but remain resolved and engaged.

Washington, DC­ Daring to Lead 2011, a new national study of nonprofit executive directors conducted in the aftermath of the deepest economic recession in decades, reports that a significant number of executives plan to leave their jobs within the next five years, citing frustration with their organizations’ shaky finances, under-performing boards of directors, and the difficulty of maintaining healthy work-life balance in their demanding roles.

Significant findings:

  • Almost half of respondents (45%) said their boards had not reviewed their performance within the past year, and only 18% said that their performance review was useful.
  • Most respondents (84%) reported negative organizational impact from the recession, with one in five reporting significant negative impact.
  • Nearly half of respondents (46%) said their organizations had operating reserves of less than three months of expenses, even though three months is the minimum level of reserves suggested by most experts.
  • Executive coaching was ranked highest by respondents as a very effective professional development strategy, but just 10% of respondents were working with a coach. The complete 20-page report can be downloaded at Three briefs—Leading Through a Recession, Inside the Executive Director Job, and The Board Paradox—report additional findings and will be released over the next six weeks. The interactive Daring to Lead website includes information about methodology, executive director demographics, and additional data. To read the rest of the release.


By request of some of our members, we have added a new member benefit.

Starting now - members will have one Free Do-Over per class.  If a member takes a class and would like to re-take the class for a refresher, they can, at no charge. 

This offer is non-transferable and the do-over only applies to a class already taken.  Some exceptions will apply. 

Funders that have Supported our Work this Year!


United Way of Jackson County
The Hurst Foundation
Weatherwax Foundation
Michigan Nonprofit Association

It's Coming... Are you ready?

November 4, 2011

Why you should know something about Google Panda and Algorithms

If you have any interest in or make management decisions in regard to your organization's marketing, website or online presence, you need to have Google Panda on your radar - if only to understand how it can harm you.  

In simple terms - Google Panda "ranks" your website, using algorithms that review the words and phrases that are on a specific page, the links that are used, determines what the site’s reputation is, etc. 

So why do you care?  When people search for something on Google, Google quickly comes back with a list of 206,000 websites that match the search criteria.  Google Panda determines where you wind up in that list of 206,000 websites.  You, obviously, want to be near the top, not the bottom. 

Here are some good tips to keep your website relevant and keep your site's reputation in good  standing:  5 SEO Tips That You Don’t Want to Forget

Why You Shouldn't Start a Nonprofit By Becky Straw

I know. It sounds very ironic, considering I’ve already helped start two.

But here’s the reality. I’ve taken numerous requests for “chats” about starting nonprofits. I want to help, but I’ve noticed I’m telling everyone the same things. So in an effort to still be a nice person, and the reality that I haven’t slept well in four months, I’ve decided to multi-task and move all my “chats” online. I will not have all the answers, but perhaps one of the readers will (thus hooking myself up in the process). So yes, I’m crowdsourcing my inbox, and outsourcing my calendar to my blog.

But before launching into the gritty details of starting a nonprofit, I need to preface it with an important piece of advice. “Just Don’t Do It.”

At least not without being properly warned. If you haven’t launched a nonprofit, or haven’t worked for one before, here are six things you should prepare for:

1. Prepare to be broke.

An important fact usually unknown by the general public.  In truth, most founders and early staff don’t take salaries for at least the first year of the start-ups life-cycle. Sometimes longer.

I’ve heard countless founder war stories about sleeping on couches, or taking calls from our living rooms as we say, “Or… why don’t we meet at your office?” Invisible Children took advantage of being children, and moved back in with their parents. Krochet Kids spent nights crocheting, and waiting tables. Even though I joined charity: water nine months into their life-cycle, I joined the unpaid crew and made ends meet by babysitting at night and occasionally foot modeling (which is an entirely different blog post). Nothing says, “I just got my Masters Degree” like trying on other people’s shoes.

Apparently, you have to become poor to help the poor. You can’t offer equity, take a small business loan, or go after VC funding – so be prepared to eat a lot of mac and cheese, and take deep breaths as your credit card bill creeps passed your savings.


Read the entire blog here.

Want to provide some feedback to the IRS on the new 990?   

As the second filing season for the redesigned Form 990 nears completion, the IRS has asked for recommendations for further improvements.

Through Monday, July 25, Independent Sector is conducting a dynamic online forum where you can offer your ideas and opinions, respond to others, and join with your colleagues to identify the best of the best.

Visit the 990 Forum — and come back often to comment, vote and see what others are saying!


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