News & Views

A blog for those interested in what affects, motivates and drives the New York City Nonprofit Sector — written by CRE’s crackerjack consulting team. We hope you use this space to share your thoughts, ask questions and engage in conversations about our city, social justice and the nonprofit sector.

The Original Social Entrepreneurs

By Holly Delany Cole
…are nonprofit organizations. The language about social entrepreneurship has become code for the way to ‘do anything good at scale’ at least since the late 1980’s. It’s a big tent these days. Social entrepreneurs today are finding their footing in the B corporations they have formed, at hedge funds whose principals make strategic investments in nonprofits, at ‘for difference’ organizations, and at government agencies that are partnering with the private sector to establish social impact bond initiatives. All of these moves in my mind have value. But a reminder to us all: nonprofit organizations have been the vehicles through which enormous social good has been generated and important social change engendered for more than a century. 
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5 Questions Driving Organizational Effectiveness

By Louisa Hackett - What makes an organization effective? Sure strong managers, high performing staff, visionary leaders, sufficient resources and up-to-date technology all play a part. But a critical element, maybe the most critical, is clarity of purpose. Without knowing fundamentally what an organization is striving to accomplish and for whom, the chance to have the most effective programs is lost and muddled, diffuse programming can follow.  Read more >>

What Can the Rockaways Teach Us About Collaboration?

By Pamela Dicent - The Far Rockaway/Arverne Nonprofit Coalition was created nearly three years ago by a core group of nonprofit service providers that recognized the value of coming together to address common issues in the Rockaways, particularly around engaging and developing young people on the Peninsula. From the very start of CRE’s involvement as facilitator, it was clear that this was a new kind of collaboration in town – one that has already fulfilled its promise of strengthening the network of nonprofit organizations.  Read more >>

Leaving the Projector Behind: CRE’s Community-Based Training Efforts

By Jeff Ballow, Senior Consultant - Is training more valuable for participants when you bring the training experience to their communities? This is one question that has emerged during the last year as part of our Neighborhood Based Capacity-Building Initiative funded by the New York Community Trust. So far we’ve taken this mountain-to-Mohammed approach to management development in East New York in Brooklyn and Far Rockaway in Queens, and in early May we launched a similar training series in the High Bridge section of the Bronx. Here’s what we have learned so far:   Read more >>

Accountability Versus Effectiveness

By Valyrie Laedlein, CRE Co-Director - Nonprofit leaders are hard-wired for accountability.

The tax-exempt sector was structured to assure accountability to the public since its very beginning. Nearly all the leaders whom CRE has had the privilege to work with drive themselves to be sure they are doing right by their communities. And in this moment of terribly constrained resources, all of us are conscious of how important it is that we make every dollar matter in terms of its rightful and effective use.   Read more >>

Far Rockaway Nonprofits Speak Out on Post-Hurricane Needs

By Barbara Turk, Senior Fellow – CRE has been visiting our clients in areas most affected by the Storm to understand their immediate and long-term needs, and to start the process of helping these community-based organizations recover. Since last week, I have made three visits to Far Rockaway and Arverne, Queens. CRE has been fostering the formation and development of the Far Rockaway/Arverne Nonprofit Coalition for nearly two years.   Read more >>

Coaching: A Critical Skill for Effective Nonprofit Management

By Mohan Sikka, Managing Director - Corporations – including nonprofit organizations – are not people, as the Supreme Court seems to believe. But they are made up of people: boards, leaders, staff teams, volunteers, clients. In all aspects of leadership, management and operations, these people have to deal with each other, quirks and all. What gets overlooked sometimes by managers is that they, not a strategic plan or a tracking form, have to be agents of change and accountability. In other words, there's no getting around the reality that relationships are key to management success, and that what we think, feel, say and do, our presence as human beings, and how we communicate and relate, are the primary tools we have to organize, motivate, and influence others.  Read more >>

Why Nonprofits Should “Bother” with Civic Engagement

By Louisa Hackett, Senior Managing Director - When talking about getting people to vote, I’ve frequently heard – “Why bother? People only pay attention to this every four years.” It’s true the frenzy dies down after the Presidential election and voter engagement issues diminish, but the reality is local, state and national elections happen way more often then every four years. A year from now New York City will be voting for a new Mayor, and a year after that we will have mid-term elections for seats to the House and Senate. These regularly occurring elections require more -- not less -- civic engagement.   Read more >>

The Broken Machine

By Rashid Littlejohn, Program Assistant/Public Ally - My name is Rashid Littlejohn, a Public Allies Fellow and Program Assistant for Community Resource Exchange (CRE). Public Allies is a nonprofit organization that develops new leaders who are focused on strengthening communities, by partnering us with other nonprofit organizations advocating for social change. I started a nonprofit social justice and environmental leadership group called GCAMP (Genuinely Care About My Planet) in mid-2010 in Brooklyn, NY, which led me to Public Allies. Partnered with CRE for the next ten months, I’ll learn more about the nonprofit sector as Program Assistant and will also blog about some experiences at CRE. This first post, “The Broken Machine,” is a reflection of my first two weeks with CRE.  Read more >>

Every Vote Counts: Stepping Up Your Nonprofit's Role in Civic Engagement

By Louisa Hackett, Senior Managing Director - Community Resource Exchange is joining hundreds of other nonprofits across the country to promote National Voter Registration Day on September 25th. We support nonprofit civic engagement activities because we believe participating in our democracy furthers our mission of fighting poverty and advancing social justice.  Read more >>

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