Nonprofit Merger Myths

Jo DeBolt // Thursday, September 18, 2014

Nonprofit Merger Myths

Merger can be a powerful choice for nonprofits, but like any strategy, it has its utility as well as its limitations. We must be rigorous in testing our assumptions and expectations about what merger is, and what it isn’t. This post takes on three of those most common assumptions, or myths, and counters with real-world experience from helping scores of nonprofits use mergers (and other collaborative strategies) to achieve lasting social impact.

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Categories: Collaboration and Strategic Restructuring

Getting to Know the La Piana Team: Melissa Mendes Campos

Claudette Goldberg // Friday, September 12, 2014

Getting to Know the La Piana Team: Melissa Mendes Campos

This blog post is part of our series introducing the La Piana team. This week we spoke with Melissa Mendes Campos, Senior Research Consultant, about mentors and...well, Muppets.

 

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Categories: Our Team

The Feral Board Member: Tapping Untamed Talent

Rosalyn Allison-Jacobs // Thursday, September 04, 2014

The Feral Board Member: Tapping Untamed Talent

Building a pipeline of young leaders who have the capacity — or willingness — to give time, talent, and treasure to nonprofit boards is one of the greatest challenges facing nonprofit organizations. The fact is that these individuals are, by nature, feral in their outlook on life and work. Less structure is more, and commitment is fleeting. So, how might the nonprofit sector adapt to capitalize on the considerable talents of feral board members — of any age? Perhaps it’s time for a new board paradigm….

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Categories: Nonprofits, Governance, Trends

When Foundations Exit the Field

David La Piana // Thursday, August 07, 2014

When Foundations Exit the Field

Whether shifting away from funding in a specific program area or looking toward a total spend-down and closure, foundations face the dilemma of how to make a graceful exit. This blog shares a few observations about how funders can navigate these shifts in partnership with their grantees. For more on this topic, watch for the fall issue of Stanford Social Innovation Review, featuring an article I’ve coauthored with Christopher Oechsli on The Atlantic Philanthropies’ limited-life strategy. 

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Categories: Foundations

Betting on Bold Change

La Piana Consulting // Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Betting on Bold Change

The nonprofit sector is a tough place to take risks, but we believe the trend toward thinking bigger and acting bolder will define the future of the sector. For nonprofits, not taking the right risks can mean losing out on becoming stronger or growing, asserting leadership in the field or community, or increasing mission-driven impact. But how do you work through the fear of taking the risk?

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Categories: Change Management, Collaboration and Strategic Restructuring, Trends

Your Nonprofit Is In Competition

Melissa Mendes Campos // Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Your Nonprofit Is In Competition

As beneficial as it has been for nonprofits and foundations to embrace collaboration, it has also made it difficult for the sector to have open conversations about competition. But the fact is, nonprofits are in competition on numerous fronts and on an ongoing basis, not just at grant time.

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Categories: Nonprofits, Business Planning, Strategic Planning

Resets, Balance, and the Future of Philanthropy

Heather Gowdy // Thursday, July 24, 2014

Resets, Balance, and the Future of Philanthropy

In a recent article for The Chronicle of Philanthropy, the Barr Foundation’s Jim Canales challenges fellow foundation leaders to reset their default attitudes. Touching on key issues such as data and metrics, and the tension between being a leader and being part of something bigger, he encourages funders to consider new ways of thinking, doing, and being. We saw similar themes emerge in a project we undertook with Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy, where we found that the philanthropic sector must master the art of balance, as they are increasingly challenged to manage two seemingly contradictory ideas or approaches simultaneously.  

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Categories: Foundations, Change Management, Trends

Making Decisions or Making Nice?

La Piana Consulting // Thursday, July 17, 2014

Making Decisions or Making Nice?

What are some of the barriers to getting past just making nice and instead making a decision to partner? And how can nonprofit leaders recognize and overcome these obstacles?

We have worked with a number of groups of organizations seeking assistance in identifying collaborative opportunities. Usually, there is no overt funder pressure or acute crisis involved, so the benefit is that the potential partners can approach collaboration in a proactive way, rather than being compelled to it. The problem is that an alliance is then seen as "nice," but not "necessary," and the tendency is for the conversation to focus on low-risk collaborative ventures where none of the organizations has any real skin in the game and there is little hope or expectation of real impact. 

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Categories: Nonprofits, Change Management, Collaboration and Strategic Restructuring

In Appreciation of the Interim ED

David La Piana // Tuesday, July 08, 2014

In Appreciation of the Interim ED

An interim executive director can be a great idea for an organization whose incumbent leader has departed, or is planning to retire, and the board is considering whether to merge with another organization or to recruit its own next CEO. There is a natural rush to find a new leader in this situation, but the interim solution can give the board time to explore a partnership.

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Categories: Collaboration and Strategic Restructuring, Leadership

Building More Powerful Organizations

La Piana Consulting // Thursday, June 26, 2014

Building More Powerful Organizations

Every day, we get to work with nonprofits that are dedicated to creating a more just, prosperous, and sustainable world. Many of these organizations are reaching a kind of midlife crisis, or at least an inflection point at which the old rules seem to no longer apply. That prompts us to reflect on where we have been and what comes next.

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Categories: Nonprofits, Change Management, Trends
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