18 March 2009

Nonprofits for Nonprofits

Today's post focuses on several organizations whose mission is to serve other nonprofit organizations.

Their mission is to strengthen nonprofit organizations by engagi
ng business professionals in service. Their vision is to harness human capital to improve the human condition. Founded in 2001 in San Francisco by Aaron Hurst, the foundation recruits highly skilled professionals to do pro bono work to help nonprofits increase their impact.

Since 2001 the foundation has awarded 695 pro bono projects, supported over 500 nonprofit organizations, and recruited 9,000 business professionals to volunteer their skills. Their services include:
  • Marketing
  • HR
  • IT
  • Strategy Management Consulting Services
For more information please visit Taproot Foundation's website.

Founded in 1980, this 501(c)3, Community Development Financial Institution provides loan that help nonprofits realize their visions, financial management training and resources that promote healthy financial practices, and guidance to nonprofit staff on strategic financial planning and management. Their mission is to foster community development and vitality by building financially healthy nonprofit organizations.

The Nonprofits Assistance Fund supports nonprofits through transformational lending, encourage healthy financial practices, and by providing strategic financial guidance. As a nonprofit organization themselves, they understand the unique needs of the sector.

Their core values are:
  • Impact. Our financial tools make a tangible, positive difference for our client organizations and the communities they serve.
  • Innovation. We are dedicated to continuously developing and advancing new and creative approaches to achieve our mission.
  • Operational Integrity. We hold ourselves to the highest standards of operational excellence and discipline, both for Nonprofit Assistance Fund's long term viability and as a model to our clients.
  • Collaboration. We work in partnership with peer organizations to help promote and sustain the vitality of the nonprofit sector and the communities they serve.
  • Leadership. We actively participate in the leadership of the broader community, providing a voice for the financial health of nonprofits.
  • Respect. We work closely and cooperatively with our client organizations and staff to help them achieve their full potential.

"The website offers a range of free resources that nonprofit staff and board members can use to implement healthier financial practices. They range from a downloadable cash flow template that can help organizations get a better handle of their cash position to budgeting guidelines and sample financial policies."

Nonprofits Assistance Fund also has a weekly blog: Balancing the Mission Checkbook, written by Executive Director Kate Barr. She blogs about current issues impacting the nonprofit sector from her perspective as an organizational and community leader, board member, and former banker.

The organization also has a Facebook group and Twitter account to help connect nonprofits to financial resources. They are also in the process of developing webinars based on their training curriculum. And finally, to help nonprofits develop strategies to respond to the recession, Nonprofits Assistance Fund has developed some new resources which will be available via their website shortly.

Marketing Coordinate, Ashley Schwietzer, who I must thank for providing me with such wonderful information, said:

"We are a national pioneer in the area of lending to nonprofits and our loan fund is a cornerstone of our mission (to build financially healthy nonprofits that foster community vitality). Credit is a tool that nonprofits can use to adapt to changing challenges due to the timing of grant disbursements, contract reimbursements, and donations, as well as unanticipated expenses. Credit is especially crucial right now, because the recession has made the already delicate balancing act of nonprofit finance even more challenging. Nonprofits Assistance Fund was established specifically to provide credit to Minnesota's nonprofit community and in the current economic climate our ability to lend to nonprofits is critical."

For nonprofits located outside Minnesota, Ashley recommends Opportunity Finance Network's member locator that can help you find a nearby community development financial institution. This includes other organizations dedicated to lending to nonprofits. Ashley says the organization also encourages nonprofits to reach out to their bankers. They recently wrote a resource article that outlines some steps for positive communications with your banker. You can read it here.

For more information please visit Nonprofits Assistance Fund's website.

The Innovation Network is a Washington D.C based nonprofit organization that is committed to helping nonprofits and funders answer the question: What difference are we making? The organization provides program planning and evaluation consulting, training, and Web-based tools.

They want all nonprofits to have the knowledge and skills to:
  • Manage their internal matters, programs, and services effectively.
  • Gain a stronger understanding of what is happening in their programs and how those programs are affecting people and communities.
  • Collectively raise a strong voice in funding and policy decisions.
Their evaluation and capacity building services are available online and in person. 

For more information please visit the Innovation Network website.

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