Editor's Note

By Arin Black

Welcome to the latest Blue Avocado! As a longtime reader, I'm thrilled to be serving as guest editor. I know that I've often used Blue Avocado as a resource, a reminder, and a refuge during those stressful nonprofit emergencies, and I'm happy to present an issue that can be the same for you.


Yes, You Really Need One - Why Strategic Planning Matters and How to do it Better

By Xan Blake

During a recent call with a leader of a nonprofit organization, he asked a question I've been getting more and more. "Do we really need a strategic plan?"

He continued, "It seems like a lot of work for some pie-in-the-sky document that rarely gets used." If done the wrong way, strategic planning can be exactly that: a lot of work for very little result. However, done well, a strategic plan based on an inspiring vision and thoughtful mission, can significantly improve a nonprofit's impact.


Point-Counterpoint: Too Much Influence or Not Enough - Should Nonprofits Be Allowed to Support Political Candidates

By Vikki Spruill / Robert Egger

After signalling his intentions to do so at the National Prayer Breakfast in February, on May 4, President Trump signed an executive order aimed at weakening the Johnson Amendment, an act that has received mixed reaction from the nonprofit world. Created in 1954 by then Senator Lyndon Johnson, the legislation prohibits churches and other charitable organizations from direct or indirect political campaigning.

Although Trump cannot single-handedly eliminate the amendment (that's a job for Congress), his executive order takes on enforcement of the legislation in what he described as an attempt to make sure "people aren't unfairly targeted for their beliefs."

But this begs the question: what does the administration's latest move mean for nonprofit organizations? Will chipping away at Johnson be net positive or negative? The answer isn't so clearcut. Here, two voices within the sector weigh in.


How to Access TechSoup Donations and Resources

By Blue Avocado Editor

Have you ever wondered how to navigate the world of TechSoup offerings?
Is your IT system still running Windows 95 and using CDs? Well, have we got the solution for you. TechSoup will be offering a webinar to Blue Avocado users. During this tour and Q&A session, TechSoup will highlight the ways you can make the most of the donation and discount programs for hardware, software, cloud applications, and services available to eligible organizations.


In the Board Room: Staying In the Loop And Out Of the Weeds

By Ron Kratofil

Recently, a nonprofit CEO requested that I help him keep his incoming board chair "in the loop but out of the weeds."

A catchy slogan, but what does that really mean?


Toolkit: How to Create Cash Flow Projections

By Marc Rand

For many board members and small nonprofit managers, assessing financial security can create some anxiety. As board members hold fiscal responsibility for the organization, knowing where it stands from a cash flow perspective can be invaluable for making strategic decisions. But this skill sometimes feels out of reach. Many nonprofits operate on a shoestring and spend money when it's available, but knowing the cycle of an organization's cash flow can assist in lifecycle growth. In this helpful video, American Nonprofits' executive director, Marc Rand breaks down the process of cash flow projections, step-by-step.


Building a More Diverse Board with Intention

By Andrea King Collier

According to a report from Boardsource, a third of 1,300 nonprofit CEOs surveyed say that their boards are 100 percent white. They also report that 45 percent of board members are women. That means that a lot of important voices never get invited to the table of board service.


Nonprofit Spotlight

By Blue Avocado Editor

A new feature of Blue Avocado. Each issue, we'll highlight a community nonprofit that is doing great work within their sector. This issue brings you a nascent nonprofit that bridges social services and the arts. The Trenton Community A-Team (TCAT) in Trenton, N.J. demonstrates how creativity and the arts can be a lifeline for those struggling with social services issues and provides a way to reinvigorate urban communities. Like many small nonprofits trying to get established, the organization struggles with having enough resources to provide ideal staff and programs, but they say seeing the talent and enthusiasm of the participating artists keeps them going.

We asked a few questions to Board Chair, John Kelly about what TCAT is and what they can teach us.


Is Diversity as Good for Business as it is for Communities? New Study Says Yes

By Arin Black

Primary to the missions of nonprofit organizations is making communities stronger. Advocates for nonprofits tout the importance of diverse communities and social safety nets because they are the right thing to do. But is a multi-faceted, inclusive community also good for business?

We've certainly tried to say so.


Notes from the Chairman

Drew Hastings, Volunteer Chairman, American Nonprofits
Drew Hastings
Volunteer Chairman
American Nonprofits

I’m pleased to write with news of significant developments at American Nonprofits. As many of you know, our organization was established in 2012 with the broad mission to develop programs for supporting the rapidly evolving finance and capitalization needs of the nonprofit sector.

Concurrent with the...

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American Nonprofits was formed by a group of nonprofit sector leaders to serve as a platform to address issues of finance, credit, strategy and accountability. As a membership organization that welcomes both nonprofit organizations and individuals, we occupy the intersection of finance and strategy. We are a platform through which members can convene local and national discussions, initiate solutions, and collectively improve nonprofit finance.
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The work to found American Nonprofits as well as assist with the research into the credit union is possible thanks to a $100,000 grant from Nonprofits Insurance Alliance Group, and an initial $25,000 grant from the Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation. The Silicon Valley Community Foundation also made a $50,000 grant to forward this work.


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