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.

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 >>

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 >>

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 >>

HR Without HR, Part 4: Employing Fair, Consistent, and Rigorous Practices

By Pavitra Menon, Senior Consultant - Organizations must develop systems that promote fairness and consistency in all decisions related to people because without them productivity and morale will plummet. In addition, ensuring fair and consistent practices will most likely keep organizations from unintentionally breaking the law.

What gets in the way of being fair?

  Read more >>

Using Nonprofit Interns and Volunteers Effectively

By Ximena Rua-Merkin, Senior Consultant - I recently had an opportunity to work with a youth-led organization that is managed by a bright group of college students, including four part-time employees in their early twenties. In working with this group of “twenty-somethings,” I was reminded of the incredible talent, passion, energy, and resourcefulness college students bring to the table. Unfortunately, nonprofit organizations often times miss the opportunity to engage young people in meaningful volunteer opportunities or leadership roles for fear of their abilities or lack of ideas on how to work with them.  Read more >>

HR Without HR, Part 3: Putting the Right People in the Right Place Doing the Right Things

By Pavitra Menon, Senior Consultant - One very important aspect of a nonprofit leader’s job is to align the organization’s resources in service of the mission. And critical resources in this regard are the people, the staff. When staff’s professional needs are met in meeting the organizations mission, it’s a perfect fit! When an organization is structured to accommodate people, it often spells disaster! This is not to say that people don’t matter – in fact because they matter so much, it’s important to place them within the organization doing the things they are most capable of and motivated to do.   Read more >>

My Board Member Wants to Work for me. What Should I Do?

By Jeff Ballow, Senior Consultant - You have just posted a new position on a variety of job sites, circulated the position description to colleagues near and far, and among the initial wave of inquiries is an e-mail from a current member of your board of directors expressing interest in the position. You stare at your computer monitor and wonder, “How should I handle this situation?”  Read more >>

HR Without HR

By Pavitra Menon, Senior Consultant - When nonprofit organizations are created, the emphasis and focus resides on getting the work done, fulfilling the mission by providing programs, and/or services that serve the needs of the clients and communities. Hiring program staff to do the work is priority and, when resources permit, staff expansion happens in the form of hiring fundraising personnel and maybe someone to manage finances. Most nonprofits do not have the capacity to hire a staff person dedicated to the HR function (with the training and skills necessary to manage this critical function well).   Read more >>

The Power of Collaboration and Why Evaluation Stinks Part II

By Michael Hickey, Independent Community Development Consultant - Just recently I attended a very compelling conference put on by The Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development, Neighborhood Housing Services of New York City, and my alma mater the Center for NYC Neighborhoods, entitled The Power of Collaboration. The title of the event comes from the very engaging article “Collective Impact,” published by the Stanford Social Innovation Review. Its authors make the argument that only through collaborative efforts can funders and nonprofit providers rise above the fragmentation of their service niche. The lay out a helpful framework include the following four components of effective collective action:  Read more >>

CRE’s Current View of the Nonprofit Sector and What’s Needed Today

  By Holly Delany Cole and Valyrie Laedlein, CRE Co-Directors: It’s grim – politically and economically – for nonprofits, including CRE, and more significantly, for the people nonprofits are working with and issues that are important to them and us. CRE sees five key issues facing the nonprofit sector in the Fall of 2011.   Read more >>

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