Can a donor dictate her gift? How about if she’s the Executive Director? — an ethical question handled very well by The Nonprofiteer.

The Nonprofiteer

Dear Nonprofiteer:

I was wondering if it is ethical for an Executive Director to donate to the organization she runs, designating her donation to bonuses or pay raises for the employees that work for her.  She is not paid, thus can remain on our Board.  Seems like a conflict to me.

Signed, Wondering

Dear Wondering:

The Nonprofiteer sees a conflict of interest in the situation you describe, all right, but it doesn’t have to do with the donation.  Any donor can specify the use to be made of his/her gift, and if those terms strike the recipient organization as too onerous it can simply refuse the gift.  A donation from a foundation restricted to paying the salary of a particular staff member—or to giving salary increases to staff members across the board—would be unexceptionable, and in fact would represent a refreshing understanding by the foundation community that people who work…

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3 Things Nonprofit Professionals Can Do To Be More Effective




I talk to a lot of nonprofit professionals throughout my day. All of them care deeply about what they do and all of them want to be really good at what they’re doing. Here are three things every nonprofit professional can do to be more effective.

  1. Figure out who your competitors are and be able to articulate why you are better (and know where you need improvement). I am always surprised when I hear a nonprofit say that no one else does what they do. You need to know who is in your space and be able to articulate how your programs are different and more effective.
  2. Connect with your competitors. Now that you know who they are, go talk to them. When you see them, say hello. There’s nothing that says you can’t talk to each other. You might actually find that your missions are complementary in some way and that you can work together. This is especially true on advocacy issues. Legislators want to see a large number of people pushing up against whatever issue you’re talking about. If you each go in with your own agenda, it dilutes the efforts of all of the agencies. And the people you’re trying to help aren’t getting what they need.
  3. Now that you’ve gotten to know each other: Collaborate. Figure out what you can do together to solve the problem you’re both trying to solve. You don’t need to share your donors or jeopardize your funding. In fact, many funders like when you work together.  Chances are, you’re separate organizations because you have a different way of approaching a similar problem. Those approaches could both be valid: agree to disagree and be stronger for it.

Connecting Coffee: November 7



Is it that time of year when your office gets a little crazy? Or maybe it’s like that all the time? Take some time for YOU and come to the November Connecting Coffee where you can meet peers from other nonprofit agencies, learn what their version of “crazy” is and share solutions.

The topic for November is “Mental Health for Nonprofit Professionals: How to stay sane when it gets crazy.

Connecting Coffee: November 7.