Building a Nonprofit Career

The nonprofit sector here in Lincoln has many fantastic leaders doing great work. Some are executive directors and program managers, other are committed case workers and fundraisers. How can you be part of this cadre of people? Here are some beneficial tips to become a true nonprofit leader.

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Avoiding Bias in Hiring

Even in nonprofits, it is hard to avoid bias in hiring. We want to be better than for profit companies and give everyone an equal chance, but the truth is that we are all human and have opinions about other people. If you grew up in an all-white environment, you have to put in more effort to relate to someone of another race. If you have never known someone who is deaf, you won’t know how to communicate with a potential deaf employee.

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How to Make a Great Hire

Hiring a good executive director is a challenging process. How can you whittle down the dozens of applicants and choose the best person for the job? How do you know that person will be successful?

I recently read Who: The A Method for Hiring by Geoff Smart and Randy Street, which outlines a straightforward process for hiring the best candidate. The book is targeted toward the business world, but the steps are perfect for a board hiring an executive director.

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Cultivating Your Next Board Leaders

Every board needs great leaders, but it takes time to build up a strong board. The best advice I can give you is that you can’t instantly have a good board, as discouraging as that sounds. The good news is that you can develop a board who will make a real difference for your organization.  Here are the steps:

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Nonprofits and Lobbying

How can your organization be a tool for real change? It’s not enough to help people, you need to make sure that elected officials know the needs of their constituents. Is the legislature discussing a bill to close the Medicaid gap? If that impacts the families you work with, you need to let them know what that bill means to families who can’t get health insurance. Is Congress discussing rules that impact nonprofit organizations? They need to hear from you about the potential impacts.

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Upcoming Board Trainings

I’m offered the following two board trainings through the Human Services Federation. If you are interested in a similar training for your board, let me know.



November 17th, 12:00 – 1:00  |   Nonprofit Hub
Staff need the help of board members to fundraise. Board members know they should help but don’t know where to start. This workshop is targeted at fundraising staff, executive directors and board chairs, and will give you practical ideas on developing a strong board that enjoys raising funds.


December 12th, 12:00 – 1:00  |   Nonprofit Hub
Need more board members to fill empty slots? Need board members with certain skill sets? Have board members stepping down soon? Wondering who is going to take over as the board chair?
You’re not alone! Join us for an informative presentation on building a stronger board, and take back practical ideas to grow your organization. The training is targeted at executive directors, board chairs, or nomination committee members.

Budgeting for Small Nonprofits

Just starting out? Have a small organization up and running but haven’t quite gotten around to writing down a budget? Even if you are just thinking about starting a nonprofit, you can benefit from a budget. A budget is a spending plan, and the most important part about it is the planning aspect, which makes you really think through your potential income and expenses. Here’s some help to get you started.

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The Number One Reason You Should List Salary Ranges on Nonprofit Job Postings

Over and over, I see job postings from nonprofit organizations that don’t list salaries. Instead they say things like, “Salary shall be commensurate with experience.”, or “The company offers a competitive wage and excellent fringe benefits package including health, dental and life insurance, and tuition reimbursement.” It’s nice to know there are benefits, but the salary range is still the primary piece of information.

Employers have budgeted ranges for each posting, so why can’t they disclose the details? Do they hope they can find someone who will work for less than they budgeted? No one would admit to doing that, but it is likely that some organizations do it. Are they embarrassed by how little they are paying? They need to be up front about it, and then work to change that in the future. Are they just following the lead of corporate job postings? How about doing something different and being transparent about what you are able to pay?

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