Most of the organizations I headed were either new or in difficult times.  In fact, with only one exception, I walked into an empty office and file cabinets with no contents.


In fact, when I was hired by Dr. Robert Schuller, the famed TV minister of "Hour of Power" and successful author, he was concerned that I had no space to work as his first major donor officer. So, one day he suggested I take a long lunch.  I did. Upon returning, Schuller himself had recruited a couple of other execs and turned an area into an office for me.  . . desk, files, etc.  He was perspiring . . . but with a huge grin on his face!


But I hit some rough spots in his ministry, as well.  In fact, I hit some rough spots in all the nonprofits where I spent the bulk of my working years. And, somewhat sadly, my experience (as that of most all colleagues I talked with) found that faith-based organizations presented more challenges than secular.


It shouldn't be that way  . . . but that's a major part of my experience that can be of benefit to your nonprofit, faith-based or not.


I've devoted a number of pages in my book, for example, on the relationships between the CEO and the board.  Too often, there is a silent tension that never gets addressed, except outside the CEO's office and board meetings.  Here again, so many of my colleagues experienced the same thing.


It takes some honest assessment, but not to face this sometimes sensitive area only inhibits an organization being all it can be to those it serves. 


Whether it's board development, fundraising, staff, financial reporting, the way of telling the organization's story to donors, board/CEO relationships or other concerns . . . there's always room for improvement and it often starts with a frank recognition of the "nonsense" and the application of some "common sense."


As well, I've had experience in uncovering everything from dishonest auto donation programs to a large ponzi scheme involving millions of dollars and sending the perpetrator to prison for 12 years.


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