nonprofit development

Nonprofit Development: Choose Your Board of Directors Carefully!

by Carrie Roberts

People engaged in their own nonprofit development ask me all the time: What is the most important thing to do when putting a nonprofit together? There are many things to consider, but choosing a board of directors is, perhaps, one of the most important. The board of directors has fiduciary and legal responsibility for the well being of the nonprofit, so chose individuals that are competent and business savvy!

Conflict of interest becomes an important concern for nonprofits especially when dealing with their board of directors. Simply put, you cannot compensate your board members in any manner for their service on the board of directors. It is best practice for a nonprofit not to award contracts for service to board members; accept only donated services and products from board members. If there is any exchange of money between your nonprofit and its board member, you are likely to have problems.

Development of Your Nonprofit’s Board

When recruiting board members, look for folks with varied talents. I recommend that every board have at least one attorney and one CPA/accountant sitting on it to provide legal and fiscal guidance. Look for individuals in your community who have interest in your cause and time to dedicate to it. It is important that you have a working board, and not just names on a piece of paper.

A couple of other tidbits to note:  it is best to have seven or nine members on your board; you want to have an uneven number to ensure that you can break a tie vote.  Also, no more than 2/3rds of your members should be related.  However, I think it is best if no one on your board is related to anyone else on it; this way, the board appears better to represent the community.

Take your time choosing your board of directors as this can make or break your nonprofit. Ask everyone you know for recommendations, and choose wisely!

The Financially Empowered Nonprofit

by Carrie Roberts

Today I had to write about Financially Empowered Nonprofits for a nonprofit management class as part of my PhD work at Walden University (  This assignment made me stop and really think about how many nonprofits I encounter each day, and whether the nonprofits I work with are financially empowered.

First, you may ask, what does it mean to be a financially empowered nonprofit? According to Brinckerhoff (2009) a financially empowered nonprofit is one that has the money available to pay for its mission. That is a powerful statement!  Does your organization have the money available to pay for your mission? A lot of nonprofits quite frankly don’t.

It isn’t that a nonprofit should be controlled by money, but if your nonprofit doesn’t have a plan to obtain funds, it gets stuck in a game of survival. A nonprofit necessarily uses money to provide programs for its constituents. Brinckerhoff goes on to state an obvious but really compelling edict for nonprofits: “If you want to be around doing good service in ten years, you had better work toward financially empowering your organization, starting today.” (pg. 196)

Nonprofit Development Requires Financial Empowerment

In my estimation many organizations don’t take the time and energy to focus enough on proper financial empowerment. They continue to struggle fiscally, and never really actualize their services at optimum levels.

Becoming financially empowered as a nonprofit is not easy, and it takes the commitment of all involved.  It’s unfortunate that so many nonprofits are unable to see the value in being fiscally empowered and how that helps them create better programs.  With myopic focus on program delivery, a nonprofit overlooks its own fiscal health. It’s a shame because doing this well – empowering itself financially – is so critical to the long term success of the nonprofit.


Brinckerhoff, P. (2009) Mission based management: leading your not-for-profit in the 21st century. 3rd ed. New York: Wiley.

Carrie Roberts’ Interview on The Jerry Doyle Show

Jerry Doyle interview recording (Listen to what Jerry Doyle said about us!)’s Fearless Fundraising was featured Monday on the nationally syndicated Jerry Doyle radio show in Las Vegas. Jerry called the upcoming Fearless Fundraising teleseminar and diligent efforts of our CEO Carrie Roberts, a refreshing inspiration. He commended Carrie for her wisdom, insight, and valiant efforts in raising over $80 million dollars for the nonprofit sector during her 20 year tenure as a nonprofit consultant. He underscored the extreme value Carrie has brought to nonprofits nationwide with her fund-raising training. He praised our Fearless Fundraising teleseminar as an empowering event that could be of potential benefit to millions of people.

focus 150x150 Carrie Roberts Interview on The Jerry Doyle Show

One of Our Fearless Fundraising Focus Groups

We want to thank Jerry Doyle and his producers for featuring us on his show. It was an honor to speak with him. Check out the compelling interview with our CEO Carrie Roberts: Jerry Doyle interviews Carrie Roberts.

Follow our Fearless Fundraising link to learn more about the upcoming webinar.

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Putting the Pieces Together-Nonprofit Development

by Carrie Roberts

Growing a nonprofit is the title for a podcast series we will produce in coming months.  There is a real need for nuts and bolts information for people starting out in the sector; most nonprofit startups need help with management and development.  According to a Stanford study, over 50,000 nonprofits start up every year  That is a whole lot of folks, many in pursuit of causes without knowing much at all about starting companies.

Some people don’t realize that a nonprofit organization is actually a corporation; it is a corporation that doesn’t make a profit.  A nonprofit is indeed a business that must conform to rules specific to the state in which you do business. You need to complete the following paperwork to start a nonprofit legally:

Articles of Incorporation


Board of Directors Roster

IRS Exemption Application (Form 1023)

State Exemption Forms

Operating Budget

Mission Statement

Program Outlines

We will discuss each of these in-depth in future blog posts and podcasts. We’ll explain the importance of each form and how to complete it. If, in the meantime, you have questions or concerns regarding startup of a nonprofit, please contact us.

Keep up the good work…what you do really does matter!

signaturecarrie Putting the Pieces Together Nonprofit Development


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How Do Nonprofits Counteract Bad Press? Learn How from National Experts!

Publicity Damage Control: A Nonprofit Imperative

If we have learned anything in recent weeks from negative fallout over the Komen Foundation, it is that bad press can seriously damage nonprofit missions and images. An organization must strategically counteract negative publicity with proactive measures. All nonprofits must learn effective media techniques to promote their organizations in a positive light, and to further their fund-raising and goals. They must have the right strategies in place to circumvent negative press.

Learn How to Spin the Negative into a Positive! presents the webinar Damage Control: How to Counter Bad Press! on February 23rd at 10:00 a.m. PST.

Join us and learn from media gurus about effective media campaigns, countering bad press, media policies, and putting your best face forward. Learn what Not to do. Learn What works! Learn what is effective to promote your nonprofit!

Damage Control: How to Counter Bad Press! features prominent national experts who can advise you on everything you ever needed to know about PR/media, but had no one to ask!

Subscribe to and get this and other webinars for a discounted rate! Some of our timely upcoming webinars include:  Fear-less Fund-raising; Nonprofit Tune-ups and the Spirit of Collaboration. Fear-less Fund-raising is a three-day event! Contact:  Carrie Roberts at to find out more about subscriber benefits that include an opportunity to showcase your organization on our website and be featured on our upcoming radio show!

Sign Up for This Event at:

Our Featured Guests Include:

Penny 2 150x150 How Do Nonprofits Counteract Bad Press? Learn How from National Experts!

Penny C. Sansevieri, CEO and founder of Author Marketing Experts, Inc. (AME), is a best-selling author and internationally recognized social media marketing, book marketing, and media relations expert. Her company is a leader in the publishing industry and has developed some of the most cutting-edge book marketing campaigns. Her company researched, developed, and implemented the first comprehensive Internet publicity campaign called The Virtual Author Tour™. In 2008 AME had ten books hit the bestseller list (New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USAToday). In Spring of 2010, Sansevieri taught the first ever self-publishing class for NYU.

Sansevieri blogs on the Huffington Post about Books, Book Marketing, and Publishing. She began her career over 15 years ago in the publicity, book marketing, and literary field. She has been an author, freelance writer, publicist, and instructor.


Michael Rosen 150x150 How Do Nonprofits Counteract Bad Press? Learn How from National Experts!

Michael J. Rosen, CFRE, President of ML Innovations, Inc. Prior to this company, Michael co-founded The Development Center, a pioneering direct mail/telephone fundraising company established in 1982 and sold in 1997.

Rosen is an alumnus of Temple University where he majored in journalism.  He served as the Editor of The Yardley News before transitioning to the development profession.

Rosen wrote the bestselling book, “Donor-Centered Planned Gift Marketing” (John Wiley & Sons) for which he won the AFP-Skystone Partners Prize for Research in Fundraising and Philanthropy.  He contributed chapters to the book, “Membership Development: An Action Plan for Results” (Aspen Publishing) and wrote the foreword to the book, “Effective Telephone Fundraising” (John Wiley & Sons).  Rosen’s articles have appeared in Advancing PhilanthropyAFP FundlineDonor DeveloperFund Raising Management MagazineMembership MattersNonprofit Nuts & BoltsThe International Journal of Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Marketing, The Nonprofit ExecutivePlanned Giving Today, and The Pulse of Planned Giving. He has been quoted in Association TrendsCASE CurrentsThe Chronicle of PhilanthropyInbound/Outbound MagazineThe Nonprofit TimesThe Wall Street Journal, and a number of regional newspapers. He has also served as the Contributing Editor to The Taft Group’s Donor Developer newsletter.

Rosen has been a lecturer for the Institute of Fundraising (UK), the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, a number of Planned Giving Councils (PPP), the Partnership for Philanthropic Planning National Conference on Philanthropic Planning, the PBS Development Conference, and several universities.  He has represented AFP in testimony before the Federal Trade Commission.


PRNewswire logo1 150x115 How Do Nonprofits Counteract Bad Press? Learn How from National Experts!

Richard LeSchander, Account Manager, PR Newswire. PR Newswire sends thousands of news releases out every year — many for non profit organizations. The nonprofits benefit from having their releases read by media across the country and, very often, from media publication of those releases. PR Newswire offers the Nonprofit Toolkit which helps nonprofits understand the basics of public relations and how PR Newswire can help cost-effectively create visibility for an organization. PR Newswire is the premier global provider of multimedia platforms that enable marketers, corporate communicators, public affairs, and investor relations to leverage content that engages with all their key audiences. Having pioneered the commercial news distribution industry 57 years ago, PR Newswire provides solutions to produce, optimize, and target content – from rich media to online video to multimedia – and then distribute content and measure results across traditional, digital, mobile, and social channels.

Sign Up for This Event at:

Contact For The Charitable Community’s CEO Carrie Roberts with questions


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Tune Up Your Nonprofit and Jump-Start Your Fundraising!

Sign up for two exciting premium webinars that will empower your nonprofit!

Fearless Fundraising Made Easy!

3-day teleseminar – March 26th through March 28th

Are you SCARED to ASK for MONEY?

Do you think potential donors will laugh in your face?

Not sure how to approach a donor and what to say or how to say it?

THAT’S NORMAL! Society teaches us to give, not to ask.

Our three-day seminar will give you the pointers you need for an effective ask to jump-start your 2012 fund-raising!

Join us for an innovative teleseminar Monday, March 26th through Wednesday, March 28th from 10 AM to 1 PM Pacific each day. We’ll be streaming live to your computer.  The fee to participate in Fearless Fundraising Made Easy is $150.

To register, contact: Carrie Roberts


Nonprofit TuneUps!

Thursday, March 1st

Bring Your Nonprofit In For a TuneUp!

Is your nonprofit headed in the right direction? How is its momentum? Is it lagging? Is it just chugging along? Are you fulfilling your mission? How effective is your oversight? Could you use some improvement?

Join us for a nonprofit tune up…. Learn the techniques to torque up your efforts to get the traction you need in 2012! The event will run from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. Pacific time and the fee will be $50.00.

To register, contact: Carrie Roberts


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Bad PR is More Than Anecdotal… It’s a Nonprofit’s Nightmare

shelleyavatar Bad PR is More Than Anecdotal... It’s a Nonprofit’s Nightmare

By Shelley M. Johnson

When unplanned publicity or rumor leaches into the public domain as negative commentary, it becomes fodder for a media frenzy. It is exactly that kind of firestorm we recently saw as reporters foraged for every morsel they could find surrounding the Komen/Planned Parenthood debacle. With determined resolve, journalists searched and goaded to gain information from Komen staffers. And got it they did! Much of the emerging rhetoric seemed to lack the customary media protocol and safeguards by the nonprofit in question. A lot of the information was contradictory and reactionary at best.

Media Message Mis-Steps?

What fueled the media blitz and public reaction? Why did Komen media responses seem defensive, haphazard and unprepared? Is it because they didn’t release a formal statement before the story broke? Did the lack of oversight with media inquiries cause some of the angry backlash that eventually pushed Komen to reverse their funding pullback? Inconsistencies prevailed as statements streamed from Komen spokespeople and staffers. All this occurred, while Planned Parenthood was conspicuously quiet. That was an offensive media strategy that actually protected them from the media fray.

Reporters insert1 Bad PR is More Than Anecdotal... It’s a Nonprofit’s Nightmare

One Misstatement Can Fuel a Firestorm of Bad Press

Nonprofits Should Have A Solid Media Plan

All businesses and nonprofits must be keenly aware of the fact that random comments and statements made in the social media landscape can come back to roost. Copious attention must be paid to what is said inside and outside the organization. Formal statements are the rule of thumb. A media strategy must be firmly in place to deal with media inquiries and interviews. Organization officials should be briefed before they accept an interview. To do otherwise can lead to dubious results.

If there is anything we have learned from the Komen foundation media response, it was an example of what not to do. Organizations must be mindful that anything they say is subject to public scrutiny. Statements must be reviewed before being released. Failure to do so can be disastrous. Arbitrary comments should be avoided. Case in point, a spurious comment allegedly made by Komen Vice President Karen Handel in a re-tweet to a Planned Parenthood advocate after the initial story broke, actually intensified the Komen opposition, hastening a lot of negative fallout.

Good Media Policies Mitigate Bad Press

It is just common sense to have a policy in place on handling media queries, especially during a crisis. A guideline should exist that explains: what statements are allowed; what statements are appropriate and what statements best reflect the mission of the organization. All statements must reinforce and protect the integrity of the organization. This is especially true, if there is ever an incidence of bad publicity.

Everyone should know who is authorized speak for the organization. There should be a review process to vet the statements ahead of time. There should be an official spokesperson from the organization who speaks to the media. Random comments from other staffers should be highly discouraged, if not prohibited. That only convolutes the information a nonprofit is trying to convey. If a representative from the nonprofit is interviewed by the media, he/she should be prepared for the line of questioning that will be encountered and be coached so as not to appear unprepared or uneducated in the public limelight.

Nonprofits Are Not an Island

When a tale is told about a nonprofit that it is not fully vetted and verified, it can spread like wildfire with few ways to stop it. The most dangerous publicity is public comment of a dubious nature that questions the very intent of a nonprofit’s mission Remember. We don’t live in a vacuum. What we say on the Web or anywhere else can be tracked down and verified by the media. It can be mis-interpreted and taken out of context. It can also turn a simple sentence into a lifetime of prose for a savvy journalist.


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Nonprofit Guru Carrie Roberts Shares on BlogTalkRadio

Carrie Roberts, CEO of For The Charitable Community visited recently with author and talk show host Bernadine Feagins on BlogTalkRadio. On Feagins’s program, Social Networking for Women, Roberts explained what inspired and talked about the needs of today’s nonprofits. Roberts highlighted For The Charitable Community’s upcoming webinars, Fearless Fund-raising, Nonprofit TuneUp, and an as-yet unnamed event on damage control and counteracting bad publicity.

Listen to the recording of Carrie’s and Bernadine’s conversation on’s Social Networking for Women

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CEO Carrie Roberts Speaks on

Get Acquainted With Nonprofit Guru Carrie Roberts!

For The Charitable Community’s CEO Carrie Roberts will be interviewed on BlogTalkRadio on February 13th at 1 p.m. PST.  She is the featured guest on Social Networking for Women, with author and talk show host Bernadine Feagins. Carrie will talk about what inspired and provide helpful tips for the nonprofit sector. She will also highlight our exciting upcoming webinars that include Fearless Fund-raising, Nonprofit TuneUp and a media webinar on Damage Control: Counteracting Bad Publicity. Don’t miss it!

Be sure to tune in on Monday, February 13th to listen to Carrie and Bernadine on Social Networking for Women on!

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Free, Short Nonprofit Development Webinars

For The Charitable Community, Inc. produces weekly webinars to help with your nonprofit development efforts. This webinar series delivers small doses of potent business management savvy to help with all aspects of lifting your nonprofit to higher levels.

Nonprofit Development in 15 to 20 Minutes

Our webinars discuss fundraising, business management, marketing, accounting, legal, human resources, payroll, evaluation, collaboration, outreach, coordinating volunteers, leveraging the Internet, simplifying with technology, and even delivering services and products. Some are simply inspirational to provide a pick-me-up when the challenges of running a nonprofit become overwhelming.

Our webinars are short because your time is valuable. Spend just 15 to 20 minutes with us each week—a coffee break or part of a lunch break—and pick up a few tidbits to help keep your nonprofit on track.

Our webinars are free because we understand that many, many nonprofits run on shoestring budgets.

Join For The Charitable Community, Inc. each Tuesday at 11 AM Pacific time, 1 PM Eastern. We’ve listed the scheduled webinars in the right sidebar of our website and our blog. Click the register button next to a title to reserve a space for that webinar.

Upcoming webinar topics include:

  • Fundraising Fundamentals
  • Using Media for Fundraising
  • Research: Finding Donors Online

We’ll update the list as we schedule further topics.

Premium Webinars about Nonprofit Development

Some topics are too big for fifteen minute webinars, but they are vital to anyone running a nonprofit or public-sector business. We produce in-depth webinars to teach such complex subjects or delve deep into topics we’ve introduced in our weekly free programs. We schedule these webinars to run for an hour with additional time for questions and answers.

Our next premium webinar titled, Harnessing Media to Maximize Fundraising Efforts, will run on February 23. We’ll provide more information as we finalize details.

If you’d like to receive updates about this and other upcoming events, follow this link and add your name to our email list.

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For the Charitable Community

Beverly Molander of Unity Online Radio interviewed Carrie Roberts on the air. Carrie talked about the financial challenges that nonprofits face and she explained important issues for nonprofit start-ups. Carrie and Beverly discussed the mission of For The Charitable Community, and Carrie explained what makes the upcoming Fearless Fundraising webinar unique. Listen here: Unity Online Radio Interview.

For The Charitable Community in the news: Our own Carrie Roberts was a guest on The Jerry Doyle Show. Listen here: Jerry Doyle interviews Carrie Roberts.

Carrie Roberts interviewed on Blog Talk Radio: Social Networking for Women. Learn more about our mission.

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