The Center for Association Resources

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Is an association management firm focused on helping Non-Profit associations succeed in their mission.

What Do They Mean by “Non-Profit Organization”?

Another in a series of articles related to association management selected from our reading list by:
Robert O. Patterson, JD
CEO/ Principal
The Center for Association Resources, Inc.

Some of you may not know what a non-profit organization is in its entirety. You may wonder, “why do they call themselves non-profit organizations?” or “what’s the point of telling everyone that they’re non-profit?” The reason is because non-profits and for-profits have different sets of laws that they must abide by. The main difference between a for-profit and non-profit organization is ownership. Non-profit organizations don’t have owners, so they can’t sell their shares or personally benefit in any way. All profits gained by a non-profit organization would have to go into the organization for its self-preservation, expansion and future plans. None of the members are allowed to benefit financially from it. Non-profit organizations are often charities or service organizations, founded and supported by people who are dedicated and want to support a certain cause. Those causes are often charities or service organizations.

Nowadays, many non-profit organizations follow the same structure as for-profit organizations by using corporate leadership and managing their volunteers the same way for-profit organizations would. Foundations could give grants to non-profit organizations to support their cause. The performance of non-profit organizations is strongly dependent on its management, so some of them want experienced managers who have worked for for-profit organizations before. For a non-profit organization to be known, there are multiple ways for them to speak up. One of them is called community advocacy, which may involve changing the ideas and attitudes of the public through education, publications, websites, and by other means. Some non-profit organizations would even use legal advocacy, whereas they find the idea of having lawsuits would be a more effective method to gain public attention. This is because the complaints must be heard as long as it is presented properly.

Through these ways and some others, non-profit organizations can become well-known and benefit more from the donations of the general public.

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Filed under: Association Resources, Center for Association Resources, Fund Raising, Leadership, Marketing, Non-Profit, Planning, Strategic Planning, Strategy, The Center for Assocation Resources info, , , , , ,

What is the Center for Association Resources?

Another in a series of articles related to association management selected from our reading list by:
Robert O. Patterson, JD
CEO/ Principal
The Center for Association Resources, Inc.

The Center is an Association Management firm in Schaumburg, Illinois, with Robert Patterson as the Chief Executive Officer. We provide management, consulting, and advisory services to primarily non-profit organizations and associations that need the expertise and management services we provide.

Our experience spans areas ranging from volunteer recruitment to assembling a productive and engaged board of directors, to developing association policies against substance abuse, drinking, and harassment. Your non-profit organization benefits from over 50 years of combined experience. We can provide numerous positive references and testimony from associations we presently benefit.

Filed under: Association Resources, Center for Association Resources, Leadership, The Center for Assocation Resources info, , , , , , ,

Use search engines to increase association recognition

Another in a series of articles related to association management selected from our reading list by:
Robert O. Patterson, JD
CEO/ Principal
The Center for Association Resources, Inc.

At The Center for Association Resources has published many articles about how to improve your association’s results using an effective online presence. These include
Non-profit organizations and associations benefit from community support, name recognition, and online presence. Search engines, such as Google and Yahoo, can provide traffic and accessibility to clients and those seeking to learn or donate to the association. Even a small center, organization, or association should have a website containing at least basic information about your services, and preferably a more interactive and engaging experience that raises interest and awareness of your association and its central objectives.

Providing useful content, in an accessible form, is critical to reaching the widest audience. Google is able to catalog text pages very well. Unfortunately, many sites have begun using Flash and other media to present information. This also makes life difficult for people with blindness or other disabilities that make using a graphical system difficult. If you’re going to have a  graphics version of your site, also make a text alternative available. This will increase your audience, and show that you care about those you serve and those who contribute to the success of your organization.

Filed under: Association Resources, Center for Association Resources, Leadership, Marketing, Non-Profit, Planning, Strategic Planning, Strategy, The Center for Assocation Resources info, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Ethics in non-profit associations

Another in a series of articles related to association management selected from our reading list by:
Robert O. Patterson, JD
CEO/ Principal
The Center for Association Resources, Inc.

When examining the field of nonprofit work, which focuses on providing a wholesome contribution to the community, it becomes clear that the ethics of such associations must be pure and unquestionable. This is essential for several reasons: most importantly, the integrity of a nonprofit organization must be intact for it to have any stature in society. Furthermore, the efficiency of such organizations is compromised by any foul play or mismanagement, and in organizations where every penny is supposed to be used to further a particular cause, efficiency is key.

A not for profit organization is meant to be, in most cases, an association dedicated to a certain charitable cause. The very nature of these organizations is typically thought to be pure and selfless. It is in this way that such groups appeal to the public and people’s desire to join in or donate to something that is helping others. However, if the ethics of an association are besmirched, the moral basis of the group is compromised. Since this moral basis is the foundation of the organization and the factor that makes donating to the organization attractive to the public, the entire legitimacy of the group will be destroyed. The public is not willing to donate their hard-earned money to line the pockets of a greedy middle man rather than to feed starving children. And so, when any question of a breach of ethics arises, the public will easily divert their donations to another organization that has maintained such codes of conduct. This will ultimately cause such an organization to not only lose stature and legitimacy, but also to be drained of funding, without which no organization can long survive.

Well-preserved ethics and codes of conduct amongst nonprofit organizations are essential for another reason: an organization cannot run efficiently unless all of its transactions are transparent and above board. Should a breach of ethics occur such as the siphoning of an organization’s funds into an administrator’s personal account, the money lost would be a much greater blow to a not for profit than to a multimillion dollar commercial corporation. Indeed, the majority of nonprofit organizations operate at the bottom line, as they typically rely on charitable donations, not the most opulent of sources, to garner funds. Furthermore, when helping the thousands or millions in suffering, a dollar must be stretched as far as possible, and even then it will fall short. If ethics are breach regarding the handling of an association’s funds, it will drastically decrease the necessary efficiency of the organization.

There are a multitude of reasons as to why ethics in nonprofit associations are essential. Any lack of ethics destroys an organization’s reputation and good standing, and cuts into its efficiency. For these reasons, it is clear that to run a nonprofit organization well, upholding ethics must be a key component of the organization’s mission statement.

Filed under: Association Resources, Center for Association Resources, Fund Raising, Non-Profit, Strategy, The Center for Assocation Resources info, , , , , , ,

Leadership training and development for non-profits

Another in a series of articles related to association management selected from our reading list by:
Robert O. Patterson, JD
CEO/ Principal
The Center for Association Resources, Inc.

Every successful organization or business must have competent leadership.  For the non-profit organization, its leaders are the board of directors and the executive director.  Jointly they communicate the vision, set the goals and provide the direction for the organization to achieve its mission.  As leaders, the executive director and each board member must dutifully carry out their roles and responsibilities.  A leader must also recognize when he or she needs training and development and should seek the proper help to fulfill the requirements of the job in order to advance the organization.

The most important staff role of a non-profit organization is its executive director.  While the primary job of the executive director is to manage the day-to-day functions and the staff (including developing the staff), he or she also needs to work closely with the board of directors on a variety of initiatives such as strategic planning, fundraising, and participate in board involved committees.  Whether the organization size is small, with a budget of less than one hundred thousand dollars; or large, with a budget of over five million dollars, the executive director must have excellent business and people skills and teamwork to work along with staff personnel and the board as well as interface with the organization’s constituents and supporters.  To develop the breadth and depth of skills required for this non-profit leadership role, many nonprofit services offer classes and coaching.

Also vital to the non-profit organization is its board of directors.  Most often non-profit board members serve because they are passionate about the cause.  Therefore board members’ talents and skills vary and may or may not compliment the staff or each other.  Sometimes the board members need to learn about their roles and responsibilities and how to perform them as they are a governing body sanctioned by the state.  There is a wealth of information online about board duties as well as agencies that provide consultation to build and develop non-profit boards in the areas of fundraising, strategic planning, succession planning, governance, and managing the performance of the executive director.

A key position on the board is the president.  The board president leads the rest of the board members by being clear about the board’s role, sets examples of behavior for fellow members to follow, maintains a business focus and develops the board into a cohesive and productive body.  If an area of board development is to bring on training, there are many workshops and programs that would help the board and its president to be more effective leaders.

A trained and developed board and executive director are poised to help the non-profit organization through challenges, to transition the organization to the next level, and most importantly to achieve the mission of the organization.

Filed under: Association Resources, Center for Association Resources, Fund Raising, Leadership, Marketing, Non-Profit, Strategic Planning, Strategy, The Center for Assocation Resources info, Training, , , , , ,

Tips for effective strategic planning

Another in a series of articles related to association management selected from our reading list by:
Robert O. Patterson, JD
CEO/ Principal
The Center for Association Resources, Inc.

In fulfilling their missions, nonprofits must make a plan, lest they follow the adage that those who don’t know where they are going will certainly get there. Strategic planning is a sort of road map that allows organizations to plan where they are going, how they will get there, and what benchmarks will prove that they have met their goals. An analogue is the business plan of a for-profit venture. However, the methods and the goals may be slightly different.

There are, of course, as many ways to approach strategic planning as there are nonprofit organizations. However, the means of putting plans together have key points in common. One important starting place is that the planning has to come on the heels of intimate knowledge of the organization, its constituents, its methods, and philosophy. One tip for strategic planning meetings is to assemble binders that have all these elements in them for planners. Some materials that may be useful to include are previous budgets and figures regarding service delivery. When things will happen is an important question to answer. Proposed timelines for implementation can be included in the binder to maximize the usefulness of the time and materials.

In addition to mechanics of fulfilling the mission of the organization, it is important for the binder to include materials that both present and illustrate the vision and values of the organization. During strategic planning, planners may even notice that a modification of the mission statement is necessary because of an evolution in the organization’s practice or purpose. Examples of how the values of the organization have been implemented in the past can be an important tool in planning for the future. While day-to-day management of the organization is not the focus of a strategic planning session, it should be included from an eagle’s-eye perspective. One thing to include in written materials is a list of key positions and how they support the fulfillment of the organization’s mission.

There will be a significant amount of information and action to discuss when doing strategic planning. Another tip for planning effectively is to allow enough time for reading and active discussion. Following that, it may be useful to change settings with planners. If planning has thus far occurred in a conference room setting, the final stage could take place at a restaurant or in a retreat setting. One final question to answer is what the results will be of successful implementation of the proposed plans. Looking at the answer to this question both at the beginning and the end of planning will inform the answers selected.

No matter what direction strategic planning takes, it is important to remember that whatever is determined must boil down to tangible steps and measurable results. If planners combine these with their passion for the work of the organization, strategic planning has the greatest chance of being successful. As planners take things a step further and clearly communicate the results and expectations of planning to the people within the organization who are affected, something commonly overlooked, they are planning for success.

Filed under: Association Resources, Center for Association Resources, Non-Profit, Planning, Strategic Planning, Strategy, The Center for Assocation Resources info, , , , , , , ,

November 2017
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