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.

What's Behind a Successful Board?

Successful boards all have characteristics in common. In this, the first in a series of articles on board development and leadership, CRE Co-Director Valyrie Laedlein shares her perspective on what makes a board successful.   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 >>

What Do Invisible Nonprofits Mean For Community Leadership?

By Valyrie Laedlein, CRE Co-Director - Those of you accustomed to visiting this website know that CRE exists to support nonprofit organizations in becoming stronger and more effective in their work to fight poverty and advance social justice. So it came as a bit of a shocker to hear the director of a foundation who is a significant supporter of social services and nonprofit capacity building say in a meeting last week that nonprofit organizations are becoming increasingly “invisible.”  Read more >>

What's An ED To Do?

 By Valyrie Laedlein, CRE Co-Director - I’d been looking at data from the Daring to Lead 2011 study about how Executive Directors spend their time – and how they THINK they should be spending their time – and was preparing to write a blog about what prevents us from focusing on “what matters.” Simultaneously, of course, I was reading articles and analyses about the debt ceiling agreement that has been reached in Washington and finding myself increasingly incensed by how the decisions being made by every level of government are impacting our communities, the nonprofits that serve them, and the impossible quandary about just what should get our attention as nonprofit executives.   Read more >>

One Size Does Not Fit All Boards

By Valyrie Laedlein, CRE Co-Director - The recent publication of Daring to Lead 2011, the national survey of over 3,000 nonprofit executive directors about their organizations and experiences in leadership, makes plain the nature of the challenge in getting a Board of Directors to make a solid contribution to the nonprofit it governs. The small to medium nonprofits participating in the survey (roughly 2/3 of respondents had organizational budgets of under $3 million) face a particular set of constraints.  Read more >>

Managing Co-Leadership

By Holly Delany Cole & Valyrie Laedlein, CRE Co-Directors - In July 2010, the two of us wrote a blog post speaking to the decision that our Board of Directors had made to appoint the two of us to the roles of Co-Directors of Community Resource Exchange.  Read more >>

Strategic Planning: CRE's Current Thinking & Approach

By Valyrie Laedlein - Community Resource Exchange (CRE) is increasingly finding traditional methods of strategic planning to be inadequate for guiding nonprofit leaders to define their future and chart their course. Idealistic visioning that suggests growth and expansion needs to be rooted in the economic realities that are defining the terms by which our nonprofit sector must operate. Resources to undertake new directions, new services, and new staff are unlikely; indeed, most of CRE’s clients have had to redefine their programs and organizations based on a reduced budget, and there is no outlook for dramatic turnaround in sight.   Read more >>

Three Lessons from a New Executive Director

by Valyrie Laedlein-On June 15th I wrote a blog post about having been named Co-Director of Community Resource Exchange, along with my colleague Holly Delany Cole.  At the time, I’d suggested that this News & Views column would be a site for us to track insights we gleaned in our new position.  Read more >>

Preparing for Succession

by Valyrie Laedlein-A search on the internet on the topic of succession planning yields considerable guidance and commentary for and from the corporate sector.  Just this week, Forbes.com ran a story on the Chief Information Officer for Equinix, who has been with the company since 2008 and is already preparing his successor, even though the CIO has no intention of leaving anytime soon.  Raising questions related to who will follow the CEO, the COO, the CIO or any other company’s leader is not considered impolitic in that sector.  Indeed, it is expected and seen as exercising good business judgment.  Grooming rising talent for executive positions is not disrespectful of those currently holding those positions.  Failing to do so is considered irresponsible and short-sighted.  Read more >>

Making Change

 by Valyrie Laedlein - I spend a fair amount of my time working with nonprofit Executive Directors (ED) and Boards on workplans intended to make change happen within the Board of Directors.  Much has been written on leading a change effort and managing change, but something I came across today made great sense in the context of some recent client challenges.  Read more >>

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