Q1: What are the three biggest issues (other than fundraising) preventing your organization from moving forward?
- Expertise around business development and fundraising approaches.
Leveraging advisory board.
Building a start-up culture.
- Lack of process maps/written history of how things work and how things are done.
Instruction manuals for staff, interns, volunteers.
Podcasts and videos – informational resources for clients.
- We need some help with impact research.
Better communications to partners.
Better go-to-market strategies for new products and tools.
- Advice on priorities.
Learning how to best position ourselves & market.
- Impact assessment and articulation.
Technology for engagement.
- Finding corporate sponsors.
Creating a brand image.
Ensuring we are doing skills-based projects that have tangible impact.
- Programming and website design.
Q2: If a donor were to give you $250,000 to be spent on three consultants, who would you hire and why?
- Help with spin-out from fiscal sponsor (setting up infrastructure of organization) Business development – and teaching us how to do it.
Organizational development (building an innovative culture)
- Priya Parker – because I like her thinking and games for human development. Our staff could benefit from that.
A capacity building consultant – to develop systems and help us set up structures, manuals, tools.
- Market research for new products (To ascertain how the products serve needs and business potential)
- Run a focus group/survey – get feedback on what people want out of our program and how we can tailor for that.
Edit our positioning & marketing – we have a good idea of what we are, but it’s hard to articulate it succinctly.
- Technology Strategist: to set up iterative systems to engage our members.
Strategic Planner: to assess competitive landscape and help develop a 3-5 year plan, new opportunities (locations, programs)
Impact Assessment: to conduct a long-term study and white paper of our impact on nonprofit grantees and the members.
- Write business plan/strategic plan.
Fundraising strategy and implementation.
Advocacy to school districts and schools.
- I would hire a programmer and a website designer to redo our website.
I would bring someone in to help with business strategy.
Q3: What areas of expertise do you wish your board had that it currently does not have?
- I am just setting up a board but will need legal and financial expertise.
- Experience serving on a board. Experience starting a nonprofit.
- Grant-making & investing.
- Nonprofit sector knowledge (other than our board)
Fundraising (direct asks)
- Expertise in corporate sponsorship. How do we find the right people within corporations to sponsor our program?
- Nonprofit scale-up; fundraising.
Q4: If you could ask other nonprofits questions about how they operate, what would you ask?
- How they grow and staff up when they don’t have solid financials?
How they use data to manage the organization?
How they motivate and encourage staff when salaries are lower than private industry?
- What pillars and structures do you have in place?
What makes your life easy?
What mistakes has your org done/organizational wisdom gained?
- How do you deal with growth without losing your cultural imprint?
- How do you keep costs low while maintaining quality?
What kind of operating budgets are reasonable?
How do you get people motivated about the program and show up?
- Most questions would be around technology and implementation.
- I would ask them about their fundraising strategy. How do they make it most time efficient without letting it distract away from their main mission?
- How do you raise the required amount of money each year?
What is the right division of labor between the board and executive director?
How do you get buy-in from key stakeholders and community groups?
- What is your plan to be self-sustainable?
For tech/crowdfunding nonprofits: where does the bulk of your funding come from?
What has helped you get this funding?