Monday, December 24, 2007

Wishing You a Joyous Holiday Season


Dear Friends,

I wish all of you a joyous holiday season and a blessed New Year. I offer my prayers and best wishes for you and the nonprofits all of you work so hard for all year long. Right now I am taking a break from cooking a traditional Christmas Eve feast and looking forward to sharing some of these "once a year" dishes with family and friends. Later I will also enjoy the Christmas Eve Vigil service in our 102 year old church that was restored/updated (yes, both)just a few years ago in anticipation of our 100th anniversary. Our church is small, beautiful and welcoming. We have had guests of other faiths join us on Christmas Eve and they agree it is inspirational!

Writing this blog has been an inspiration for me during the last year. As I learn something new I have been eager to share it with all of you. Those of you who visit and return to visit again and again keep me blogging. If you don't blog, I highly recommend it - it causes me to think a little deeper about those issues I write about. I have made new friends through blogging and found some other great blogs that I love to visit.

Next week, or right after the New Year I will blog about New Year's resolutions for nonprofits.....I'm still making a mental list. Send me an email or reply to this post with your ideas for the list.

Merry Christmas and Season's Greetings,


Marion Conway Consulting

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Tis the Season - A Great New Opportunity to Get Involved with Online Giving

Today the Case Foundation (like in Steve Case, Founder of AOL) announced America’s Giving Challenge. Oh guess what - they use Guidestar to determine qualified charities (See previous posts on this subject). The Challenge will distribute $500,000 in two online efforts - one at and one on Facebook causes. The challenge starts today and ends on January 31, 2008. People who recruit the most donors will receive $50,000 for their charity. The 100 charities that garner the highest number of online donations will each get $1,000. This really is an innovative project to attract more donors to online giving and promote philanthropy among new givers.

Network for Good provides charity badges and processes donations as will GlobalGiving. You can sponsor a cause simply by developing a charity badge at Network for Good.

Facebook causes....Charlie Crystle posted a reply to my post on social networking recommending Facebook. It was just a matter of time until a great possiblity for Facebook causes like this one came along. Those of you who set up a cause should jump in right now and promote America's Giving Challenge among your cause members. Facebook users can donate and have their donations and causes displayed as part of their personal profiles. My son has set up a Facebook cause for my favorite charity and I am asking him to contact his friends for this challenge.

I have registered my favorite charity, Community Agencies Corporation of NJ, whose board I am on for America's Giving Challenge. You can find my charity badge - which is the way your contribution is registered - by giving through the badge - in the column at the right. You can find out more about CAC at:
Community Agencies Corporation of NJ

Please join me supporting CAC and having us become one of the 100 agencies receiving a grant from $1000 to $50,000. $50,000 - Wow! We would put that to good use! Another great idea.....visit and make your charity badge for your favorite charity right now! Don't forget to reply to this post and let us know all about your favorite charity.

Marion Conway Consulting

Friday, December 07, 2007

Visionary Leadership and Becoming an Effective Leader

On Wednesday, I was the keynote speaker and morning program facilitator for the Brain Injury Association of America’s State Affiliates Leadership Conference. My keynote topic was Visionary Leadership and this was followed by a series of related group activities. I had a great time and enjoyed the enthusiastic feedback I got from participants.

Today I’d like to share some of the key points of my address with you. I started with this definition by Burt Nanus - “Leaders are people who have their heads in the clouds and their feet on the ground.” I talked about how there really is a lot of “hard thinking” that goes into visionary leadership and used Bill Gates as an example. Bill goes off to his isolated cabin in the woods twice a year for a week and reads and thinks about the future. Microsoft employees submit white papers with their ideas for the future of Microsoft and along with this and published books, Bill spends his days concentrating on the future. Bill Gates gets it – being a visionary leader requires taking the time to do “Hard Thinking.” That really is different than just dreaming, although there should be a healthy dose of dreaming also happening.

I go on to talk about how the connection between Visionary Leadership and being an effective leader is related to our ability to turn our vision into a shared vision for the organization – and to let go of it as ours as we see it shaped into a shared vision. Once something becomes a shared vision then it is on the road to becoming a reality. The importance of being able to express our vision in such a way that people can visualize it cannot be underestimated. The next important step on the path to being an effective, visionary leader is communications. In my remarks I use a detailed example of John Kennedy’s challenge to put a man on the moon by the end of the 60’s. I also discuss how all of this causes and requires commitment and the huge financial and human commitment made to putting a man on the moon.

There’s more of course, but there is only so much you can say in a blog post. I thoroughly enjoyed working with BIAA and the wonderful warm weather in San Antonio, Texas. They are a great group of visionary and committed people who do have their heads in the clouds and their feet on the ground.

If you would like to have me deliver a Keynote at your event, please give me a call!


Marion Conway Consulting

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Network for Good's New Gift Cards for Charity and the Link to Guidestar - One More Reason to Update Guidestar Today

Ever year there are new opportunities to give to charity online - and frequently many charities don't even know about it. Last year American Express sent me an email letting me know that I could charge my gift to charity to my credit card. They linked directly to the Guidestar database and Voila! you could instantly charge your donation to any charity in the Guidestar database.

This year I have just received an email from Network for Good letting me know that I could donate online to the charity of my choice and I could buy a gift card for charity. Its called a "Good Card". You could have the gift card sent via email or they will send you an actual gift card that you could give to someone. What a great idea! Do you realise that gift cards have become the most common gift in the United States? Oh by the way...they link to the Guidestar database.

There is a $5 fee per Good Card for processing and handling. The fee is tax-deductible and it covers processing, credit card and PayPal charges so that 100% will be donated to the charity of your recipient's choice.

I assume that Network for Good sent this out to everyone on their mailing list so maybe you got their email also. Or you can just go to their website -

Network for Good

and the opportunity fills their home page.

If it has been on your list of resolutions to update information about your organization on Guidestar this year, don't wait any longer. You have no idea who may get a "Good Card" and when they go to Network for Good to browse and decide which organization they will "spend" their gift card on... what will they be reading about yours....whatever you have provided to Guidestar. Nothing you say?....Oh yes you have provided whatever you put on your 990. That's right you might have let your accountant rather than your development office describe your organization to potential donors. Are you sweating yet? You can update and expand your profile beyond the 990 information. Visit Guidestar today and make that update. After all...that may be a pretty good list of potential donors that Network for Good has.
Marion Conway Consulting

Monday, November 26, 2007

Just Published in Charity Channel's Nonprofit Boards and Governance Review

My article "Highlights from the BoardSource Report: The Nonprofit Governance 2007 Index" has just been published in Charity Channel's Nonprofit Boards and Governance Review. This article was adapted from the featured article in my November 2007 newsletter and expanded from two posts on this blog in October.

You can see the whole article at:
Charity Channel's Nonprofit Boards and Governance Review

Sign up for my newsletter for future articles...see the sign up in the column at the right.
Marion Conway Consulting

Friday, November 02, 2007

So Your Organization Wants to Get Started with Social Networking - How About MySpace

There is a lot of buzz right now about nonprofits using social networking. In reality, it is in an infant stage as far as fundraising goes. But if you are interested and have someone with the time to give to it here are some tips for setting up a MySpace presence. Going through the process will make you think about your organization in a different way than you do for websites. Remember the idea is to develop a social network - and yes they are mostly young people. In general, there are not big donor opportunities but you will attract a new crowd into your network that you may be able to activate at a new way.

1. Use your nonprofit official logo in the default picture block.

2. Make sure you have links to your website and blog. Have a eNewsletter sign-up. Create and embed a fundraising widget on to your MySpace profile and link to make a fundraising widget for your organization (such as

3. Provide links to websites or MySpace pages of your major supporters including churches, boy scouts, local Rotary, etc.

4. Get as many of your donors as possible to become your friends. You want their face on your site and your logo on their site. List your donors as your top friends.

5. Use your MySpace blog area to start a fundraising campaign. Be cognizant of who is listed as your friends and who might visit your MySpace page. Design your fundraising appeals around that constituency.

My personal opinion is that using My Space should be about building a network first and fundraising second. Try to be educational about your organization and its cause but not a billboard for fundraising.

Don't be afraid to try new things with MySpace. Check out some of the large successful MySpace pages and see what they are doing. Remember they have lots of resources dedicated to this that is not going to be cost effective for you, but you will be able to pick up good clues by checking them out.

Marion Conway Consulting

Sunday, October 28, 2007

The Boardsource Nonprofit Governance 2007 Index - Part 2: Highlights of Results on Accountability Issues

First of all let me say that a more complete article on the BoardSource 2007 Nonprofit Governance Index can be found in my newest eNewsletter. If you would like a copy sign up now - right here on my blog. Also, an adapted article will be published soon in Charity Channel's Nonprofit Boards and Governance Review. The complete article, from either source, can stimulate conversation with your Board about actions you might want to take on your own journey to being a better Board. Consider using the material as a handout for your discussion on Board roles and accountability issues....just a thought.

My last post featured a summary of the overall and fundraising results of 2007 Nonprofit Governance Index. This post features the results of the accountability issues.

Accountability Policies - Survey Results
93% Have Directors’ and Officers’ Liability Insurance
88% Have a Conflict of Interest policy
69% Have a written Statement of Ethics
60% Have a Whistleblower’s Policy

There has been a dramatic increase in attention to accountability issues. The percentage of organizations having a conflict of interest policy has increased from 61% in 1994 to 88% today. The range of organizations with a conflict of interest policy is high among every size of organization - ranging from 75% for small (under $500K budgets) to 99% for large organizations (over $10 Million budgets).

Although small nonprofits lag in having accountability policies, they are making progress in all measures. The most catch up is required in having whistleblower(33%) and document retention (41%) policies. I believe that Boards with lawyers and accountants will begin to initiate these policies for their Boards. The changes in the proposed 990s which asks questions about these policies will also have a major impact on their implementation.

Now is a good time for small nonprofits to step back and look at these trends and take proactive steps to implement new accountability policies. It is always better to have good governance policies in place in advance rather than as a result of a problem or crises.

It is only the end of October but here is my suggested New Year's resolution. Charge your governance committee now to develop an updated set of accountability policies to be adopted at your first meeting in 2008. Don't have a governance committee? Start there - appoint one now. Sounds like a plan to me!

Marion Conway Consulting

Thursday, October 18, 2007

The Boardsource Nonprofit Governance 2007 Index - Highlights of Results on Major Board Issues and Fundraising

Boardsource has recently completed its Nonprofit Governance 2007 Index with survey results from over 1000 board members and 1100 chief executives who completed separate questionnaires. I plan to have 2 - 3 posts on the report and here is the first one:

Overall, both CEOs and Board Members give themselves good marks on understanding the mission and providing legal and financial oversight. They get lower grades on such crucial aspects of board service as fundraising, strategic planning and community relations.

The most pressing issues facing nonprofits were by far financial sustainability, fundraising and strategy.
Some of the most basic fundraising statistics for board members were shocking to me - I thought they would be much higher - especially among a Boardsource population. Here they are:
46% Charities have a 100% participation in personal giving
74% Average giving among Board Members
68% Charities that require Board Members to give
#1 Fundraising is the number one thing needing improvement by the Board

In my board development workshops I always stress that all board members should make a personal financial commitment and how important this is on grant applications and as an example for all other giving. How can you be passionate about an organization's mission (the number one requirement for board service) and not make a personal financial commitment to it? Now I understand why some people look at me like I must be kidding or a modern day Pollyanna. Folks, if you are interested in fundraising get your own house in order first!

It was interesting to note that most boards have people with the traditionally desired skills of business management, finance, legal and experience in field related to the organization's mission. Only 30% have board members who have technology experience. This is a big OUCH! for me as I have seen first hand how much people with these skills bring to an organization - by helping to assess the needs and benefits, helping to design a request for proposal and evaluate bids, donor database and website evaluation and more, more, more. I urge you to consider seeking people with technology backgrounds for your boards as this really is a valued board skill today.

Check back soon for more on the Boardsource Nonprofit Governance 2007 Index and, of course, my commentary about the results.
Link to full report at BoardSource

Marion Conway Consulting

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Some Great Technology for Nonprofits Online Seminars Coming Up

Many nonprofits would like to take better advantage of technology available today but they are short on technology savvy staff (if they have any at all), and afraid of what it will cost. Idealware offers online seminars on technology for nonprofits for only $40. These seminars can be a great help to get you started in such areas as accepting donations online and sending eNewsletters. They discuss specific low cost options and compare their features and price points.

I strongly recommend Idealware's online seminars for nonprofits interested in these topics but who don't have a lot of expertise onboard.

Here's the upcoming schedule.

Understanding Data Integration
Thursday, October 11th, 1:00 - 2:30 EST
Discussion on the options for integrating data from multiple systems, including manual integration via spreadsheets, purchasing systems, building programmatic feeds, and more. Discussion will include what's required to integrate the software you already have, and what features you should look when choosing new software to prevent integration woes.

Choosing a Blogging Tool
Thursday, October 25th, 1:00 - 2:30 EST
What should you look for in a tool? Which is the right one for you? Discussion on the features, prices, pros and cons of the seven most commonly used blog tools including Blogger, TypePad, MovableType, WordPress, and more.

Getting Started with Online Donations
Wednesday, October 31st, 1:00 - 2:30 EST
Do you want to help your organization take donations online, but aren't sure how? This session will tell you what you need to know in order to choose a tool and get started. Will touch on the strategic aspects of online donations and focus will be on the tactical: What online donation tools are available? How do they work? How do you know which one is right for your organization? Will look at tools that are available, such as Network for Good, PayPal, Click & Pledge, Groundspring DonateNow, eTapestry, MemberClicks, AuctionPay, and more.

Choosing eNewsletter Software
Thursday, November 8th, 1:00 - 2:30 EST
Email newsletters are a great way to stay in touch with and grow your audience, but it can be complex to send and track thousands of emails. Discussion includes what you need to know in order to setup, send, and track eNewsletters effectively, and talk about some of the reliable and affordable tools most commonly used for mass emailing, such as EmailNow, Vertical Response, ConstantContact, NPOGroups,
CampaignMonitor, Emma, Topica, and more.

Register and find our more here:

Marion Conway Consulting

Monday, October 08, 2007

Check Out the OMB Watch Blog

This is the second of two posts on other blogs of interest to nonprofits. I am making these posts as part of my involvement in the Nonprofit Blog Exchange Virtual Event.

OMB Watch is a nonprofit government watchdog organization located in Washington, DC.
Their mission is to promote open government, accountability and citizen participation. They actually sponsor several blogs but the one I am writing about is specifically geared at nonprofit advocacy and accountability issues.

If federal laws, policies and appointments are of importance to you you will definitely want to add this blog to your "blog watch list." There is a wide range of issues including controversial appointments, faith based initiatives, civil rights issues and more.

Visit this blog and the Nonprofit Blog Exchange Blog where you can find a long list of nonprofit blogs to visit.

OMB Watch Nonprofit Issues Advocacy Blog

The Nonprofit Blog Exchange
Marion Conway Consulting

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Check out the Nonprofit Accounting Boot Camp blog

Once again I am participating in the Nonprofit Blog Exchange Virtual Event where those of us blogging about nonprofit issues make a post about another nonprofit blog. I have been assigned to write about the "Nonprofit Accounting Boot Camp" blog for this round of the event. So here goes.

I don't post about technical financial/accounting issues but I do post about accountability. Sound financial managament and reporting responsibily is definitely an accountability issue that all nonprofits need to pay attention to. I was very impressed with the information available on the blog. It is sponosred by the California Association of Nonprofit Accounting and covers topics of interest for nonprofit finance professionals. You don't have to be from California to find this blog to be a good resource to keep current on these issues. Current topics included the recent Guidestar Compensation Report, 990 changes and handling car donations. In addition to blog posts it has an excellent financial resource list.

Visit the Nonprofit Accounting Boot Camp and check it out.
Nonprofit Accounting Boot Camp
If you would like to see a great list of other blogs about the nonprofit sector visit:
Nonprofit Blog Exchange

Marion Conway Consulting

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Strategic Planning - A Simple Process for Small Organizations

Frequently when small nonprofits contact me about doing strategic planning they either think it is something the board can do in a Saturday morning retreat (It isn't possible) or do not have any idea of what may be involved and are afraid that it may be way too big an undertaking for them. It actually really can be something reasonable and meaningful in between these two ends of the spectrum.

Whether you are large or small it is important to know where you want to go and how you are going to go about getting there. Here is a simple outline that I use to work with small nonprofits and help them set up a process.

Planning to Plan: Determine issues to be addressed, timeline, commitment needed by committee members, design process for developing the plan

Gather and Analyze the Data: What questions will you ask? Who will you ask - customers, board members, staff, funders, partners, volunteers, donors? Will you use detailed interviews, focus groups, surveys?
How will committee members be involved in collecting, summarizing and analyzing data?

Develop Findings Report and Recommendations: Put together a summary of your findings and what your recommendations are as a result of them.

Develop the Plan(Planning Retreat): Now you are ready to involve the whole Board at a strategic planning Board Retreat where you can develop/update your mission, vision, values, goals and objectives.

Implement Plan: Make sure you have a process to integrate the plan into ongoing operations with objectives and a results monitoring process.

I strongly recommend that you do your homework and use a process designed specifically for nonprofits. There are some excellent books on this subject. I recommend checking out the Leader to leader Institute for more information.

Leader to Leader Institute
Marion Conway Consulting

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Strategic Planning - What Is It and Why Should We Do It?

This week I am preparing for a workshop I am presenting next week on Strategic Planning and I thought I would do a series of posts on this subject. Today's post will be about what strategic planning is and why you should do it.

I have left brain and right brain definitions of what strategic planning is, so there is something for everyone. First - the left brain definition - Strategic Planning is a management tool that helps an organization to:
*Focus its vision and mission
*Ensure everyone is working toward the same goals
*Assess and adjust priorities in response to a changing environment

Although I really am a left brain type, in this case I prefer this right brain definition by Frances Hesselbein, CEO of the Leader to Leader Institute:
"The self-assessment process is an adventure in organizational self-discovery, a means of assessing how to be: how to develop quality, character, mind-set, values and courage." I think you can only really appreciate this definition after you have completed the strategic planning process.

Why should nonprofits develop a strategic plan? Here are what I consider the main reasons:
*Develop or Update Your Mission and Vision
*Establish Major, Realistic Goals
*Focus Resources on Priorities
*Develop a Blueprint for Action
*Define Measurements for Success

There are many benefits to this including getting everyone on the same page and stimulating a new focused, energy around your mission and vision. Interested in more...check back soon for the next post on this subject. Better yet, come to my workshop next Wednesday!

Strategic Planning for Nonprofits 9 AM - Noon
Sponsored by the Volunteer Center of Bergen County
64 Passaic Street
Hackensack, NJ
Pre-registration is required. Call 201-489-9454 X119 or email

Marion Conway Consulting

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Craigslist Foundation Nonprofit Boot Camp New York Report

On Saturday I participated in the Craigslist Foundation Second Annual Nonprofit Boot Camp held at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. I volunteered for the "Ask an Expert" part of the program providing expertise in the areas of strategic planning and board development. The setup was like a speed dating environment and in two hours and twenty minutes I met with 7 people - for 20 minutes each. When the bell rang, the new people were ready to meet you and after a quick goodbye it was onto the next organization. I met with people involved with theater, women's groups, youth development and gay literature. When I was done my head was spinning, my mouth was dry and I needed to find the ladies room! But it was very invigorating and I'm happy to have been part of this wonderful event.

Over 1000 people roamed around the beautiful Brooklyn Academy of Museum facilities. The Master of Ceremonies was Darian Rodriguez Heyman, Executive Director of the Craigslist Foundation and the keynote speakers were Nancy Lublin of Do Something and Ana Oliveira of the New York Women's Foundation. There were three workshops in each of 7 tracks. The exhibit hall featured about 40 organizations and I got to meet with people at organizations that I have only known through their websites including NY Charities and Governance Matters.

A highlight of the day for me was finally meeting Laura Quinn of Idealware in person. I ALWAYS recommend Laura's articles at whenever I have a technology for nonprofits question. They are top notch. I feel privileged to have contributed - in a very small way - to a couple of her articles. Anyway, Laura returned to NY from her new home in Maine for the event and I was so happy to finally be able to have a conversation in person with her.

Overall, I'd say that the event was a major success. It attracted a huge audience and had a wide variety of opportunities to offer. Much of the program was geared to those new to the nonprofit world and I don't think I would recommend it to expereinced people. But for those new to nonprofits or just starting one up, it is an incredible resource.

Marion Conway Consulting

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Strategic Planning and Planning a Board Retreat Workshops in September

On September 26th I will be presenting two half day workshops at the Volunteer Center of Bergen County They are:

Strategic Planning for Nonprofits
9 am – 12:30 pm

Planning a Board Retreat
1:00 pm – 4:30 pm

$35 each; $60 for both sessions—lunch included in full day session
64 Passaic Street, Hackensack, NJ
Pre-registration required—call (201) 489-9454 ext. 121
Workshops at this location do fill up so make sure you pre-register.
Volunteer Center of Bergen County

Marion Conway Consulting

Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Board, Strategic Planning and Major Gifts - My Thoughts Just Published in The Major Gifts Report

I was recently asked to contribute to "The Major Gifts Report" published by Stevenson, Inc. First, the important disclaimer - I am NOT a fundraising consultant. This short article appeared in the "Professional Opinion" section and was provided from my perspective as a board development consultant. It is in question and answer format.

Q: Knowing your board’s collective giving should amount to one-third or more of your campaign goal, what key steps should you take to ready them for that major undertaking?

A(Marion): “Update your strategic plan and make sure it clearly inspires passion for your mission and goals. Your Board should be committed to your goals, experienced in fundraising initiatives and able to communicate both anecdotal and factual information about your organization. The implementation stage of the strategic plan is paramount. It should have specific action steps that board members can follow. Ask them to share experiences in attempting to reach these goals. This will differ for each board member. One may be involved in program development, and another in assessing real estate possibilities.

It is of the utmost importance to communicate your progress as the plan progresses. This can be done through your website, e-newsletters, mailed newsletters, press releases, and verbal communications. Post your goals on your website. Keeping the goals and progress – front and center requires continual effort on multiple fronts.”

You can find out more about Stevenson's monthly newsletters for nonprofits and their other publications at their website:
Stevenson Inc

Marion Conway Consulting

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Govenor Corzine, Mayor Booker and New Anti Crime Program Meet Agencies I Am Invovled With

I grew up in Newark, NJ and received all of my education there from pre-school to graduate school. Today I live about ten miles away and I am still very active in and committed to the city. When I retired from my first career, I decided that I would spend my time volunteering and it would all be in Newark. I was involved with a number of organizations which led me to my current career as a nonprofit consultant.

Currently I am on the Board of two related social services agencies in Newark - Community Agencies Corporation of NJ(CAC) and Protestant Community Centers, Inc (PCCI).

After the recent murder of three teens the City is yet to recover. The new mayor, Cory Booker, has put a priority on making Newark safer and reducing crime. This murder was particularly chilling. The victims were good kids just spending a summer night at a local school playground in one of the better neighborhoods in the city. They weren't drinking, weren't involved with drugs and didn't provoke anything.

Newark has finally been making progress towards a comeback from its low point of the riots forty summers ago this year. I remember that summer very well. I think that Cory Booker is determined that this will also be a low point and is doing all that he can in marshaling federal, state and private resources to fight gang/drug violence and make Newark a better place to live.

Today Governor Corzine announced expansion of after school programs in Newark as an integral prevention component to a broad-based anti-crime/anti-gang strategy.

I am proud that two of the nine after school programs funded are for the agencies whose Boards I am on. Visit the website for more information about the full breadth of our work. And you can join me in supporting them. See my charity badge in the right column.
CAC and PCCI website

Marion Conway Consulting

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Changing of the Guard in Philanthropy

During the last week there have been two major changes in leadership in philanthropy worthy of note. This post is inspired by an article in the Chronicle of Philanthropy on this subject. Leslie Lenkowsky writes about two New Yorkers - Brooke Astor who died and Luis A. Ubiñas who was elected to be the next CEO of the Ford Foundation.

Brooke Astor gave away over $200 Million of her family fortune to New York based nonprofits. She is a well known patron of the arts and, in fact, the Metropolitan Museum of Art lowered their flags in recognition of her. But she also quietly contributed generously to many small social service nonprofits throughout the city. She was known for personally visiting these agencies even in challenging parts of the city.

This characteristic of personal involvement is still respected as exemplified by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The Gates have also added a new dimension to the culture of philanthropy. They have been supported by large (Warren Buffet) and small ($1) donations to their foundation because of their personal involvement and emphasis on a business like approach of measurements and results.

Mr. Ubiñas grew up a crime-ridden neighborhood in New York City and he graduated from Harvard Business School and went on to a successful career as head of the West Coast media practice at McKinsey & Company, mostly advising corporations about new technologies. He has a strong business background but his personal background should also equip him with understanding the importance of small nonprofits and their impact at the individual human level.

As Ms. Lenkowsky says "it is worth remembering that such institutions can also benefit those who are trying to get ahead by making available opportunities they could not otherwise grasp. And even make it possible for a child from a modest background to become the head of a major foundation."

Read the whole article at

Chronicle of Philanthropy

Marion Conway Consulting

Monday, August 13, 2007

Craigslist Foundation Nonprofit Boot Camp 2007 - September 15th A Great Opportunity!

On September 15th the Craigslist Foundation will host its second annual Boot Camp for Nonprofits in the New York area. The event will be held at the Brooklyn Academy of Music from 8 AM - to 5:30 PM and the $50 registration includes breakfast, lunch and snacks. Over 1000 people are expected to attend and 100 partner organizations are participating.

The program includes workshops, keynotes, exhibit hall (more than 50 exhibits), one-on-one coaching with the Ask-The-Experts team, Career Coaching, and the opportunity to network and collaborate with hundreds of nonprofit leaders.

Workshop tracks will feature Nonprofit Basics, Fundraising, Social Entrepreneurship, Big Ideas (Nonprofit Trends) and Technology.

Keynote adress speakers and major panelists have yet to be announced but you can expect that leading nonprofit support organizations will be featured in the keynote and major panels.

I will be participating as an "expert" in the "Ask an Expert" segment. You can sign up for a 15 minute meeting with an expert on a particular topic. I have listed strategic planning and board development as my areas of expertise.

See the announcement at the Craigslist Foundation page, and check back for updates as speakers are added. This will be my first Craigslist Foundation Boot Camp and I am really looking forward to it. Last year's Boot Camp got rave reviews. I hope I get to meet some of you who I know through LISTSERVs and my blog. And hope some of you who have attended my workshops will make it out to Brooklyn too.

Craigslist Foundation Boot Camp Announcement

Marion Conway Consulting

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Expanding into Email and Accepting Donations Online?- Don't Miss This Great Opportunity from Network for Good

There is a special offer coming up at TechSoup that I just have to post about in case you haven't heard. You have to already be registered at TechSoup as qualified so make sure today that you are registered if you are interested in this offer.

On August 15 for 8 hours only, 300 bundles of Network for Good's powerful online fundraising services will be available to eligible nonprofits for a special administrative fee of only $99 at TechSoup. The bundle includes one year of these services:

* DonateNow - an online donation processing service to securely
accept credit card contributions at your organization's Web site

* EmailNow - a flexible email messaging tool to send
e-newsletters, raise money online, and communicate with

* Training - six live 90-minute online group sessions including
"Driving Traffic to Your Site" and "Creating a Successful
Internet Strategy"

After this offer ends, the discounted fee of $725 will apply. This substantial discount will only be available from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Eastern time on August 15 while supplies last.
Learn more about the promotion at:

TechSoup Promotion Offer

Learn more about the tools at:

Network for Good

Marion Conway Consulting

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Listen Up All Board Members! Transparency and Changes to the IRS 990 Form

Those of us involved with Board Development are always preaching about trends in good governance and recommend such things has having a conflict of interest policy, separate audit committee , whistle blower’s policy, etc. I do get fewer “you can’t be serious” looks than I used to for sure, and more small boards are taking steps in the direction of transparency but I always have to clarify which things they must do to comply with Sarbanes Oxley and which items are a good idea but are not required. All of this good advice is about to get a big boost.

The IRS is asking for comments on a new draft 990 form that will be used for 2008 (filed in 2009). Here are some highlights of new questions asked about your governance:

-the number of “independent” board members of the governing body;
-whether the organization:
*made any significant changes to the organization’s governing documents during
the past year, and if so, to briefly describe the changes
*has a conflict of interest policy, and if so, the number of transactions reviewed by the governing body under the conflict policy during the past year
*has a whistleblower policy
*has a written policy on document retention and destruction
*regularly documents the actions of the governing board and committees
-whether board members, or employees review and prepare the financial statements
-whether an independent accountant provides any services such as a financial review or an independent audit
-whether board members review the IRS Form 990 before it is filed

The IRS says that these questions were added because “in our view and experience, a well managed organization is likely to be a tax compliant organization.”

Find out more about this and other governance issues at You can comment on the draft through September 14th.

Marion Conway Consulting

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Check out Google Analytics and Nonprofit Leadership 601

A few months ago I decided to try out google analytics and I added this tracking tool to my blog and website. Wow! I can't believe all the data - much more than just the number of visitors - that I can get about the traffic to my blog and website. I am fascinated that people from all over the world from Africa to Vietnam have visited my blog. You can see if people came via search engines, were referred from other sites or came directly. If they came from search engines you can see the keywords they searched on.

I have found the differences in the traffic on my blog and on my website also very informative. People who visit my website have had a much lower percentage via searching and the searches have had relatively little variation. But people have visited my blog on a very wide range of keyword searches. Its true that I blog on varied topics but I think it is useful to know this information.

Another surprise to me was that many people (1/3) visit my blog via referral from other sites. A fair percentage of traffic is from people clicking on my link at nonprofit blog exchange and other individual blogs.

I noticed that a popular referring site was Nonprofit Leadership 601 so I decided to check it out. What a great blog! This is Heather Carpenter's blog. She is an experienced nonprofit manager who is studying for a Ph.D - 600 level courses - hence the 601. Heather's blog is full of useful and interesting posts and she has a sidebar list of blogs she likes - and there is mine on her list.

Thanks Heather - for the compliment and for generating traffic to my blog.
So in summary -

1. Check out adding google analytics to your blog or website. It is free and will provide rich, useful information about your site.

2. Check out Heather Carpenter's blog for nonprofits - one of the best I've seen.

Non Profit Leadership 601

Marion Conway Consulting

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Opportunity To Earn Up to $10000 at with Charity Badges

I've written about and charity badges before, but I am posting again about it now because of the newest campaign that has just been launched. is a project of Network for Good that was initiated by Kevin Bacon and has just received funding from Hanes. You can design your own charity badge in a few minutes and you get the html script to be able to place the badge anywhere you want on the web - your website, blog, MySpace page, etc. The badge has a brief description of the charity that you support and a donate button. Someone can click on the donate button and make a donation through Network for Good. You can scroll down and see my charity badge in the sidebar.

I think that this is a great idea to garner some new young donors at places like MySpace and Facebook. There really is this whole group of people (Lets say those under 30 for the sake of conversation) that the internet is the only way we will realistically reach. No matter how much thought you put into wonderful newsletters and appeal letters - even the most philanthropic are not set up to read snail mail and write checks. Why not provide sample copy to your young volunteers and supporters and encourage them to participate with a charity badge!

There is a special promotion that makes this worth looking at right now. Hanes is supporting people who create badges by awarding up to $10,000 to the causes of the six people most successful at connecting with friends and family to raise funds for their favorite charities. In addition, anyone who gets six people to donate to their badge will receive an official Six Degrees t-shirt from Hanes. The six non-celebrity badges that have the most unique number of donations* between July 19th and September 16th will get a matching grant of up to $10,000 for their charity from Hanes. To qualify for the grants, all you need to do is create a new charity badge on or after July 19th and you will automatically be eligible to receive the matching grant.

Oh....and feel free to click on my badge and if so moved, contribute.

Marion Conway Consulting

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Board Recruitment - Know What You Need and Have A Game Plan

Since I am the board development chair of a nonprofit and we are beginning the board recruitment/nomination process for our elections in December I have been thinking about this subject. As usual we have the people who are completing their terms and the people who have not been active at all to replace. Our by-laws also have flexibility in size allowed so we could even add more people if we wanted to. But where to begin?

We do have detailed board job descriptions and have hosted a successful board recruitment event. Subsequently, I wrote an article about Hosting a Board Recruitment Event for my newsletter and it was published in Charity Channel's Nonprofit Boards and Governance Review (see the link below).

Here are our issues right now - the same as most other nonprofits. We are stepping up the fundraising by Board members so need people who are willing and able to be involved in fundraising. We expect all Board members to be active on committees. We would like to have some people who could open corporate doors for us. Yes, it is a tall order. Here's the game plan right now.

The most important credential for a Board memeber to have is a passion for our mission. We all have too many tugs at our time and resources and if you are not near the top of an individual's list you probabaly won't be satisfied with the person as a Board member. This is the most important thing for the board recruiting team to remember.

Our first step is to provide Board members with a detailed job description and actively solicit recommendations from them. This should be done one on one, especially with people with certain skills that we must have - finance and law. These Board members have colleagues that they can recommend but may not pursue recruiting them without a specific request to do so.

We have some large corporate sponsors and we will be asking our contacts there to identify a potential board member for us. But first, we will try to identify particular skills we would like to have such as marketing or technology.

We will plan tours and invite potential Board members to our events especially those that involve the inner city children we serve.

We will definitely have a Board Recruitment Event which will have social and information components.

We have a desire to have more diversity on our Board and that will cause us to recruit in some places that we have not in the past.

Although we want people to be involved in fundraising and to make a personal financial commitment we realize that this is something that is learned and grows over time. So our initial expection will be an "entry level" of involvment that we will cultivate.

Board recruitment should start with your needs/desire assessment. Next is targeted marketing to attract appropriate candidates. Be honest about what your expectations are rather than complain later about what you get. When all is said and done we hope to identify board members who are committed to our mission and will go the extra mile for us.
Host a Board Recruitment Event Article Fall 2006 Newsletter

Marion Conway Consulting

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Summer Workshops - July 10th and July 24th

Summer is a great time attend a workshop. In July I will be offering two workshops which are sponsored by the United Way of Passaic County:

The Non-Profit Board: Responsibilities, Leadership and Emerging TrendsJuly 10th 5-8 PM Pizza and soft drinks included

Technology Planning, Funding and Resources for Non-ProfitsJuly 24th 9 AM - Noon Continental breakfast

Location: United Way of Passaic County Conference Room
8 Mill Street, Paterson, NJ

Cost: $40 for each workshop

To Register: Call Karen at 973-279-8900 or email

Marion Conway Consulting

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Leadership and That Vision Thing - Does It Matter?

The answer is yes it does. There are many definitions of leadership and my favorite is by Burt Nanus. Burt Nanus is a a well known leadership development expert and author of books on this subject. He has a specialty in nonprofit leadership and my favorite book is his "Leaders Who Make a Difference - Essential Strategires for Meeting the Nonprofit Challenge." I highly recommend it. The Nanus definition:

The purpose of nonprofit leadership is to move the organization in the right direction.

It is as simple as that. Of course there are many facets to making this happen but today I am going to focus on vision. What makes a leader effective, is turning his/her vision into a shared vision. It is only at that point that a vision can become reality.. A shared vision can provide the focus and energy needed to make things happen. It is important for leaders to develop and communicate their ideas so that others can also visualize and embrace them. In preparing to teach a workshop on Visionary Leadership, I did a great deal of research. Visionary leaders have strong cognitive abilities. This requires a lot of hard thinking. Just like athletes who make incredible feats look easy, this is true with visionary leaders. Bill Gates takes two weeks a year in a remote cabin alone reading and thinking about ideas for the future. There is a staff at Microsoft who processes material suggested for him to read during this time. Bill gets it that the vision thing isn't just an innate quality that some people have and some people don't. It takes hard work.

During my workshop we went through a number of exercises which caused each individual to think more and more thoroughly in developing their own vision for their organization. Each participant worked on developing communication about their vision in a more inspirational way. By taking the time to flesh out their ideas themselves, they were better able to communicate their vision in such a way that others would be interested in making the vision happen - making it a shared vision.

I didn't say "buy-in." You need more than for people to buy-in to your idea. You want it to become part of their idea for the organization. So the true leader lets go of the vision as his/her idea and lets it become the shared vision of the organization. Of course it may evovle as that happens but in the end a vision that becomes a reality has to become a shared vision first.

Marion Conway Consulting

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

A View from the New Generation of Nonprofit Leaders

Once again I am participating in the Nonprofit Blog Exchange Virtual Event where those of us blogging about nonprofit issues make a post about another nonprofit blog. For this event I have the pleasure of being assigned

Perspectives From the Pipeline
Observations on the nonprofit sector from the next generation

This is a particularly lucky assignement for me because I am blogging about leadership in June. The author of this blog, Rosetta Thurman is a young nonprofit professional of color working in the Washington, DC area. She's admittedly an idealist, and came to the nonprofit sector to help change the world. Rosetta has a Master's degree in Organizational Management with a concentration in Nonprofit Management. She currently is a director of finance and development at a nonprofit.

Rosetta's goal is to shed light on the dialogue bridging challenges and solutions within the nonprofit sector, especially as it relates to the younger workforce and nonprofit leaders of color. Her main areas of interest and reflection include:

nonprofit management and capacity building
human resources
diversity, race and class issues
organizational learning and professional development

Rosetta's blog is well written, very professional and varied. Reading her blog gives us a bird's eye view of how the next generation of nonprofit leaders is thinking and acting about current issues - and what are the priority issues for them. We also see how comfortable and adept they can be with using technology to communicate. She posts quite regularly and her blog has an interesting feel of being both very professional and having a personal touch. I guess this is because she is writing what she is passionate about...a true quality nonprofit trait.

Check out Perspectives From the Pipeline today and also check out the Nonprofit Blog Exchange for lots of other great nonprofit blogs.

Nonprofit Blog Exchange

Marion Conway Consulting

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Leadership on the Edge

On Wednesday I attended a workshop entitled "Leadership on the Edge - How to Create, Manage and Survive Change" sponsored by the Dodge Foundation. Program Director, Ross Danis, facilitated the workshop. This interactive workshop provided skill development for nonprofit leaders - both Staff and Board.

The first skill addressed was communication. Using an audience member to ask a tough question, Ross skillfully answered it using a simple three point technique: (10 Point with Pride, (2) Acknowledge the Problem and (3) Hope for the Future. In response to a question about failing 4th grade scores, he responded by noting the excellent SAT score results, acknowledging the concern about the 4th grade scores and explaining that a committee of Board and Staff had been appointed to assess the problem and recommend solutions. What a great response!

Ross used a Franklin Covey quandrant chart and humorous video to demonstrate the importance of scheduling time to spend on the things that that aren't just of immediate importance. This is a big issue for nonprofit managers who frequently seem to be moving from one crisis to another.

The day was topped off with a game where both teams improved their output by understanding how well the competition was doing and some tips on leading people.

All together a great set of exercises which helped us think about what is important, how to communicate in an effective manner and how important it is to make time for strategic planning and long term projects. All of these skills should be in our personal leadership "toolkit."

Marion Conway Consulting

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Leadership - Theme for June Posts

Just Published - See Marion's article in Charity Channel's Nonprofit Boards and Governance Review

During June I will be reading about Leadership and Nonprofits as I begin to prepare for a keynote address I will be giving later this year. And my blog will be featuring posts with a Leadership theme during June.

This post just gives you a link to an article I have written entitled "The Board and Fundraising - From Fantasy to Reality." The article was recently pubilished in Charity Channel's Nonprofit Boards and Governance Review. This article deals with an important part of leadership for Board Members and provides some advice on how you can grow into it.

Marion's article at Charity Channel: "The Board and Fundraising - From Fantasy to Reality"

Marion Conway Consulting

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Philanthropic Behavior of Wealthy Americans

Recently the Bank of America sponsored the most comprehensive survey to-date of the philanthropic behavior of wealthy Americans. This High Net-Worth Philanthropy Study was conducted by The Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University. The study included nearly 1,000 respondents with household income greater than $200,000 and/or net-worth of at least $1,000,000.

So what is important to high net worth donors? Some interesting highlights:

“Giving back” is more important than “leaving a legacy.” They are most driven in their donations by “meeting critical needs” (86.3%). The next most important motivators were “giving back to society” (82.6%) “Leaving a legacy” was cited by only 26.1%.

The wealthy think more about the strategic impact of their charitable giving, and act based on specific requests. (Hmmm...see my last post...this is really important)

There is a surprising correlation between donations of time and dollars. This study indicates that the wealthy do not want to just “write a check." Those who write checks are also likely to volunteer their time, and, the more time volunteered, the bigger the check.

Even major tax policy changes would not impact their giving. Over 50% reported that their giving would be the same even if tax deductions were not allowed or the estate law changed.

Entrepreneurs are especially generous donors. In comparing household donations by sources of net worth, entrepreneurs stand apart for giving, contributing an average of $232,206 annually. The next highest donors were those who inherited wealth, giving an average of $109,745, less than half the total of entrepreneurs.

Bank of America High Net Worth Philanthropy Study

Marion Conway Consulting

Monday, May 28, 2007

Major Gift "Etiquette" recently had an article entitled "Major Gift Etiquette" that caught my eye and I thought I would share the main ideas with you. These comments were provided by Susan Orr, Founder of Telosa Software who has also co-chaired several major capital campaigns. She is a lady who knows what she is talking about.

Susan described three basic mistakes that are often made by nonprofits when seeking major gifts.

Mistake #1: Making the ask without the relationship.
It is critically important to first build a good relationship with the potential donor, and develop a solid understanding of their interests. A relationship comes from uncovering those values that are shared between the organization and the donor. The sample Orr uses is one donor may be willing to make a donation of a major work of art and another might be more interested in a community outreach program. If you have taken the time to build a relationship you have a sense of their interests.

Mistake #2: Not asking for an amount
If the potential donor of a major gift doesn't understand how much you are seeking there is a very high probability that you will get less than you would if you ask for a specific amount. Doing your homework about other gifts the potential donor has made may help you frame the ask.

Mistake #3: Setting your sights too low
This has to do with understanding what a donor cares about at a deep level. In asking for a big gift, you must have a big idea that goes along with it. You should have a plan, some piece of which is in line with what the donor cares about. And this plan also should advance your mission or your organization in an exciting way. And guess what? If you do a good job of implementation you can come back to the till with these major donors. They do make repeat gifts if they are satisfied with how their gift was used.

If you have experience with major gifts please share them with others who read this blog by posting a comment to this post.

In June I will be featuring posts on Leadership in Nonprofits....check back soon!

Marion Conway Consulting

Friday, May 18, 2007

Technology Workshop Tuesday Night - Last Call

On Tuesday, May 22nd, 2007 I will be offering a workshop entitled "Technology Planning, Funding and Resources for Nonprofits." This workshop is for non-techies. The Union County Office of Cultural and Heritage Affairs is sponsoring the workshop and it is open to anyone who is interested at the same low price of $15. The location is the Westfield Community Room, 425 East Broad Street, Westfield, NJ.

To register call the Union County Cultural and Heritage Affairs office at 908-558-2550 or email them at

In the past executive directors, technology managers, board members, volunteers, development directors and nonprofit consultants all have found this workshop useful. One participant had this to say: "One of the most informative workshops I've broke the "tech" language down into digestible pieces."

Marion Conway Consulting

I'd love to meet some of my regular blog readers....hope to see you there.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Shall We Blog? Lets Say The Answer Is Yes - Part 2

Part 2: Some Technical and Administrative Tips

So, you have your content plan in place and you're ready ...more than ready to get started. But you really are not a techie....... What do you do?

I suggest that you use a simple, easy to use system such as Blogger. Blogger is a free Google product and it is a quality product. There are many choices of standard templates or you can customize your own if are a more sophisticated user. To get started go to:


Make sure you set up google analytics on your template so that you can get reports on the traffic to your blog. You will find this information very helpful as you develop your blog. How many people visit? Return visit? What search keywords brought them to your blog?

Have a link to your website at the bottom of every post. Make sure there is a link to your blog on your website. If you have a newsletter, set up a sign up for the eNewsletter on your blog as well as your website.

Link! Link! Link! Any place people gather online, make sure they know about your blog. Add it to you online and offline signatures. Use it in your signatures on your posts on lists. Register your blog at the nonprofit blog exchange.

Nonprofit Blog Exchange

When you are setting up the blog make sure you read all of the questions carefully and consider all of the options you have. Control who can actually make posts (1 to 3 people is best) and allow comments. If you allow comments make sure you moderate them. With blogger you will get an email whenever someone submits a comment, then you can accept or reject the comment before it is actually posted. This is important because there are spam posts just like there are spam emails and you don’t want comments on drugs for sale etc on your blog.

Wait until you've made some posts before officially announcing it and then you can announce it to your email list.

There is more...much more...but this is just a getting started post.

So....Get started! And enjoy blogging!

Marion Conway Consulting

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Shall We Blog? Lets Say the Answer Is Yes....Part 1

Part 1: What About Content

Before you start, have a plan for the blog. Have a headline statement about what the blog is about, and include the mission of your organization. Make yourself a list of the types of posts you will have – for example – advocacy, news about topics pertinent to your mission, events, your fundraising needs, volunteer, staff and client highlights. The content should be focused but varied. For instance my blog is focused in that it covers topics of interest to nonprofits and varied in that it covers topics in all areas of my consulting.

Blogs are really a very different type of communication tool than your website. Your website should be concise and well organized. People go to your website when they are looking for specific information. People go to blogs to see what you are saying and what is new....not with a particular informational objective. You want to interest them, have something fresh for them to think about and perhaps surprise them. One of the great things about blogs versus websites is the opportunity for relationship building. People go to blogs on a regular basis rather than occasionally.

Most blogs are written from an indivudual’s perspective and have a personal touch. As an example, if you are blogging about an event, don’t just have it be an announcement, give a personal perspective of what you are looking forward to or what happened to you last year. Or even you are hoping for good weather if it is an outdoor event.

You do not have to blog everyday. Large political campaigns with a staff dedicated to this stuff may blog everyday but you do not want this to become an ordeal that swallows up more time than it deserves, it really should be a fun project. Try to post at least twice a month - once a week is even better. If you skip whole months, your blog will become stale and worst of all...unvisited.

An effective policy for blogs is to have links to other websites or blogs. This kind of networking that blogging offers so well is very popular. If you quote or reference other articles, websites, blogs. etc provide a link.

My next post will have some suggestions for technical details on how to make your blog more effective. (Note..this is the teaser to get you to come back. I hope you will and suggest you try this technique also.)

To summarize – Have a plan, be creative and spontaneous and enjoy!

Marion Conway Consulting

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Shall We Blog? Shall We Blog? Shall We Blog?

Even small nonprofits are past the "Should we have a website?" stage and now many are beginning to explore blogging. I think that blogging is finally past "techies and nerds only" and is definitely going mainstream. It is time for nonprofits - both large and small - to get onboard. My suggestion is that you start out by reading blogs and try to savor them like a fine wine. They really are very different than websites which try to provide information in a straightforward manner. Blogs are timely, editorializing is perfectly ok, and informal. So much more fun than websites....See what I mean.

Anyway, this is the first of at least a two step post on blogging. The very first step is to read blogs to get a sense of what blogging is all about. has a section called "Give and Take" which provides a long list of nonprofit blogs.

Give and Take

Here are some of my favorites.

AFP Blog: Recent News of Note
This blog contains assorted news and commentary on the fundraising profession and philanthropy gathered by the AFP Fundraising Resource Center.
AFP Blog

The Nonprofit and Foundation Advocacy Blog
This forum is hosted by Alliance for Justice to strengthen the voices of nonprofits and foundations and to provide a better understanding of the laws that govern their participation in the policy process.
The Nonprofit and Foundation Advocacy Blog

This blog by Laura Quinn, the incomparable authority on technology for nonprofits, is a great resource for technology news of interest to nonprofits.

Check back for more posts on this subject. And please share with all of those who visit this blog what your favorite nonprofit blogs are. Just post your comment to this post.

Marion Conway Consulting

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Accountability and Transparency - Articles of Good Governance

These days many nonprofits are concerned about good governance and adopting new policies as they step up to better governance. Two of the most discussed "articles of good governance" that you hear talked about are ACCOUNTABILITY and TRANSPARENCY. But what exactly do we mean by these terms. The Guidestar eNewsletter had as its question of the month: "What documents does your organization use to demonstrate accountability and transparency to your donors and funders?

Topping the list were audited financials and an annual report. But showing up on more lists are conflict of interest, document retention/destruction and whistleblower policies. Apparently everyone, even nonprofits, have heard of Sarbanes Oxley.

Guidestar's report includes their definition of transparency and I thought I'd share it with you on this blog. It is straightforward and should be easy for even a small nonprofit to adopt.

Straight from their eNewsletter.....
At GuideStar, we think transparency means answering these questions for donors and funders:

Is this a legitimate 501(c)(3) nonprofit?
What social impact will my donation have?
How fiscally responsible is this organization?
What are this organization's goals and intentions?

Effective means that address these questions are to state publicly, clearly, and concisely your mission, annual accomplishments, ways you measure success, and goals. It is also vital to make readily available federally required public disclosure documents and to check your state's laws, which may include additional requirements. GuideStar offers nonprofits a platform to demonstrate their transparency by updating the GuideStar Information Form and by uploading PDFs of required and substantiating documents to their GuideStar Reports through eDocs.

Marion Conway Consulting

Guidestar Accountability and Transparency Article

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Two Workshops for Boards - Register Now!

Next week, on March 22nd I will presenting a workshop on board development entitled “Serving with...Serving on...Your Board.” The workshop is sponsored by the Center for Nonprofits and will be held at Episcopal House on Mulberry Street in Newark from 9 AM to 1 PM. The registration fee includes continental breakfast and networking lunch. Call the Center for Nonprofits at 732-227-0800 or visit their website at for more information.

On April 11th the “Planning a Board Retreat” workshop will be offered by the Volunteer Center of Bergen County in Hackensack beginning at 5:30 PM. Call the Volunteer Center at 201-489-9454 to register.

Both of these workshops are very modestly priced. A great bargain! I hope you can make one of them.....I'd love to meet some of my regular blog readers.

Marion Conway Consulting

Friday, March 02, 2007

CAC of NJ - See the Newsletter

In my last post I introduced my new charity badge for the organization for which I am on the Board. I just received our new newsletter which provides lots of information about the work of CAC which I would like to share with you - so this post has a link to the news on their website. Choose the January 2007 Newsletter and it is a pdf file that comes up easily. As an extra, I am the featured "Volunteer/Board Member" and there is an article about me. It is so glowing that it is embarrassing but I would be remiss if I didn't let you know about this article also.

Have a good weekend...and check out CAC - a great organization serving the inner city.

CAC of NJ Newsletter

Marion Conway Consulting

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Join Me In Supporting CAC of NJ

I was going to wait a few days to post this but currently there is a lively discussion going on on charity badges on NTEN-Discuss and E-Philanthropy lists so I thought I would post my own charity badge now.

I created my own badge in less than two minutes - it is soooooooo easy to do! I encourage all of you to create charity badges supporting your own favorite charities and post them on your website, blog and MySpace pages. Go to six - see the link below - and you'll be good to go in a minute.

Oh - and I understand that Network for Good gives you the opportunity to also pay for the fee (4.37%) that is otherwise deducted from the charity.


Marion Conway Consulting

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

A Novel Fundraising Idea - Quick and Easy

Here is something new and easy to use that you may want to try. Go to the website and you can find celebrity "badges" to add to your website or blog and you can create your own "badge." Okay so it is a little gimmicky. I thought it might appeal to young people. I am adding Kevin Bacon's "badge" here and next I plan to create a personal badge for the agency I am on the board of. Check back again - that is coming soon.

Marion Conway Consulting

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

3 Technology Opportunities Coming Up

In the next few months there will be three opportunities for us to meet when I will be discussing technology issues for nonprofits. Check my website for more details including registration details, location and cost. Here is a summary:

Feb 28 Technology Planning, Making the Most of the Internet
Funding and Resources for Nonprofits
3 Hour Workshop sponsored by Volunteer Center of Bergen County, Hackensack

Mar 16 Technology and Non-Profits: Maximizing the Use of Technology
75 Min Hands-On Workshop
5th Annual Non-Profit Symposium
Raritan Valley Community College

May 22 Technology – Planning, Funding, Marketing and Resources for Nonprofits
-With Special Highlights for Arts Organizations
3 Hour Workshop sponsored by the Union County Division of Cultural and
Heritage Affairs Westfield

Volunteer Center of Bergen County

Raritan Valley Community College Nonprofit Symposium

Marion Conway Consulting

Monday, January 29, 2007

The Board and Fundraising – from Fantasy to Reality

Hello all. Thanks for the great feedback about my article published in Charity Channel's Nonprofit Boards and Governance Review (see below) and on the featured article in my new January 2007 newsletter entitled: "The Board and Fundraising – from Fantasy to Reality." This article provides some basic ideas for Boards who are just getting started to be involved with fundraising. It isn't posted on my website yet, but if you go to my website and send me an email I will send you a copy.

Hope to hear from you.............

Marion Conway Consulting

Monday, January 22, 2007

Just Published - Host a Board Recruitment Event

The featured article in my fall newsletter -"Host a Board Recruitment Event" has just been published in Charity Channel's Nonprofit Boards and Governance Review. This is my third article published in NBGR. The link for this article is:

Host a Board Recruitment Event

Marion Conway Consulting

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Nonprofit Blog Exchange Project

Today's post is part of my participation in the Nonprofit Blog Exchange project. I have agreed to make a blog entry about two assigned nonprofit blogs and two others have been assigned to post about this blog.

Today's post is about "" This is a residential treatment facility for children with serious behavior issues as a result of trauma. Their blog discusses their successes, analysis of data to correct problems early and emphasis on one on one support. If you know someone who is dealing with this type of problem you may want to check out this blog.

If you are interested in other nonprofit blogs check out those listed at the nonprofit blog exchange site.

Marion Conway Consulting

Trauma Treatment Center

Nonprofit Blog Exchange

Sunday, January 07, 2007

New Study Provides Benchmarks for Museums

The American Association of Museums has published a report which analyzes 2003-05 statistics from more than 800 museums across the country. Even if your museum, or historic site is much smaller there is a lot of information to be gleaned from this report.

To put the data in this blog post in perspective, here are the median statistics for the 800 museums included in the study. Median attendance has held steady at 34,000 visitors a year since 2000, with 15 percent of that coming from school visits. The median museum has operating expenses of $783,000 and a staff of six fulltime employees, four part-timers and 60 volunteers, the study says.

Overall, the study says, museums are in better financial shape now than in 2003, with a third fewer institutions reporting deficits.

That improvement occurred as government support for museums declined to about one in four dollars of operating income, and as private support grew to account for more than one in three dollars of income.

Museum endowments also grew, with almost half crediting new contributions and more than half citing changes in financial markets.

And almost one in four institutions is currently involved in a capital campaign, with a median goal of $10 million.

Fundraising remains critical for museums, given that the median cost of serving a visitor is $23, the study says, compared to a median admission fee of $6.

Major benchmarking takaways whether you are a large or small museum:
Government support averages 25%
25% of museums are having a capital campaign
Fundraising is cricial
Median cost of serving a visitor - $23
Median admission fee - $6.

Hmmm...some food for thought...........

Happy New Year!
Marion Conway Consulting