Org. Behavior and Culture

Happy Administrative Professionals Week!

Hooray to all those hard working Admin/Operations/HR/IT/Finance staff within nonprofits. This is your week to celebrate and appreciate your role in the organization!

Why isn't there a holiday for program staff or executives--you say?

Because we as admin/operations/hr/finance staff do the grunt work that no one else likes to do!

Specifically, we:

Strategic Planning for Nonprofits

A Strategic Plan is a multi-year planning document which focuses on the entire organization and not just one specific program or component. Although there are many ways to write a strategic plan, I learned how to write a strategic plan including these key components:

STEP Analysis (An analysis of all the external factors that effect the organization.)

  • Socio-cultural factors
  • Technological factors
  • Economic Forces
  • Political/Legal Forces
<p class="MsoNormal">Porters Five Forces (Also describing the external forces that effect the organization).</p>

Nonprofit Operations vs. Programs

Several folks have asked me to blog about Nonprofit Operations vs. programs. I will attempt to explain what I mean by Nonprofit Operations.

Nonprofit Operations is a broad term that I use to describe running the behind the scenes of a nonprofit.  These duties include, Administration, Finance, Fundraising, Human Resources, Risk Management, Marketing and more.  Nonprofit Operations is often the work that nonprofits' constituents or the general public do not see.

Nonprofit Operations and program administration are very intertwined. It is hard to run the behind the scenes of a nonprofit without doing some sort of program administration, for example, when I do all the logistical planning for an Aspiration event, I do both program and operations work.

Hire a Caterer or Not Hire a Caterer---That is the Question

I tend to work for nonprofits like Aspiration that do a lot of events for our constituents. Our goal for each event is to spend as little money as possible on the food by either getting it donated or ordering pizza instead of getting catering.

I found that in my past organizations, we spent a lot of time requesting food donations, doing food set up/clean up as well as errands to pick up things that we ran out of or forgot to get.

When I did the math, I found it was actually the same cost and sometimes cheaper for me to hire a caterer who takes care of all that stuff like set up and clean up. Now with all Aspiration events we hire a caterer. I usually pick one who charges between $15-$18 per person (including tax) for breakfast and lunch combined.

Now that I have the extra time that I don't have to focus on food purchasing or preparation, I focus my attention on the important aspects of the event like posting notes to the event Wiki like http://www.advocacydev.aspirationtech.org and contributing to the sessions.

Working with Vendors/Consultants/Contractors

I have worked with a lot of vendors/consultants/contractors ranging from Copy Machine vendors, phone/wiring vendors,  to accountants, web designers, and more. So I thought I'd write a post about 4 steps I follow when working with vendors.

1. When researching vendors I get multiple quotes to make a comparison of prices and services and always ask for a list of nonprofit specific client references. Then I call the references. A lot of vendors say they work with nonprofits, however I like to verify that they have many nonprofit clients and those clients are happy with their work.

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