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FAR Nonprofit Member Discussion Events

About FAR Nonprofit Member DISCUSSION Events

Formerly scheduled as in-person breakfast events, FAR Nonprofit Member Discussions are now being conducted as online meetings. You can expect to continue to receive the same high quality, thought-provoking and helpful conversations found during our physical meet-ups – the only thing missing will be the breakfast! 

Schedule: Held monthly, Nonprofit Member Discussions are generally scheduled from 9:30 am to 10:30 am.

Registration: Open to Nonprofit Members and their nonprofit guests, these discussions are free of charge.

Size and Format: Created as informal conversations with an identified facilitator and topic of discussion, the group size is limited to ensure there is a lively and interactive discussion among participants. 

Topics and Facilitators: If you are interested in facilitating a future Nonprofit Member Discussion or would like to suggest a topic for discussion, please contact hq@far-roundtable.org to be put in touch with the committee.

Click here to view upcoming Nonprofit Member Discussions

  FAR Nonprofit Member Discussion Summaries

Nonprofit Investment Strategies: Best Policy Practices

Many nonprofits depend on their investments for some portion of revenues. This requires a sound investment strategy that reflects the organization’s mission, goals, and spending needs as well as donor intent.

To manage this, nonprofits should:

  • Establish investment objectives
  • Select an investment advisor/manager 
  • Determine a suitable asset allocation
  • Define suitable investments consistent with the mission of the organization and maximizing investment returns
  • Define the roles and responsibilities of the board, management team and advisor
  • Schedule regular portfolio reviews
  • Limit fraud risk by establishing dual control procedures and segregation of duties

The online discussion "Creating a Motivating Workplace: Secrets to Keeping Staff Happy" was insightful and enriching. Participants delved into the complexities of maintaining employee satisfaction in nonprofit environments, highlighting the importance of people, processes, and proactive dialogue for organizational success.

Key insights:

  1. People-Centric Approach: Participants unanimously agreed that the people aspect of organizational management is the most challenging yet rewarding endeavor. Recognizing and valuing employees as the foundation of success emerged as a recurrent theme throughout the discussion.
  2. Factors Influencing Employee Satisfaction: Various factors impacting employee satisfaction were explored, including:
    • Continuous Challenge and Career Articulation: Keeping teams engaged by providing constant challenges and articulating clear career pathways.
    • Benefits and Amenities: Providing appropriate benefits and amenities tailored to employees' needs.
    • Sense of Purpose: Fostering a sense of belonging by emphasizing each employee's contribution to the organization's mission and greater cause.
    • Team Collaboration: Cultivating a collaborative environment where individuals feel they are part of a cohesive team working towards common goals.
    • Professional Development: Offering opportunities for continuous professional growth and skill enhancement.
    • Social Events and Recognition: Organizing social events, office catered lunches, and implementing employee recognition programs.
    • Employee Feedback Mechanisms: Conducting regular employee satisfaction surveys to gauge sentiments and identify areas for improvement.
  3. Leadership Influence: Participants acknowledged the significant impact of leadership style and tone at the top on organizational culture and employee morale. Authentic and vulnerable leadership styles were emphasized, highlighting their positive outcomes, including:
    • Improved Productivity: Authentic leadership fosters an environment of trust and transparency, leading to enhanced productivity among employees.
    • Excellent Teamwork: Open communication and genuine leadership encourage collaboration and synergy within teams.
    • Reduced Turnover Rates: Employees tend to stay longer in organizations where they feel valued and connected, thereby reducing turnover rates.
    • Increased Results: Authentic leadership ultimately leads to better organizational outcomes and results.

The discussion provided valuable insights into creating a motivating workplace environment within nonprofit organizations. By prioritizing the well-being and professional growth of employees, fostering a sense of purpose, and embracing authentic leadership, nonprofit CFOs can effectively nurture a culture of happiness, productivity, and success within their organizations. Continuing dialogues and proactive efforts in these areas are essential for sustained organizational growth and impact.

Creative Use of Office Spaces

The group shared experiences of moving from larger floor plans to a smaller footprint. This involved giving up fixed or assigned offices, reducing traditional storage space, and creating more collaborative spaces. The discussions points ranged from a complete move to a new smaller office or redesigning and downsizing existing space. Involving employees in the process and asking for their input helps is important to have a successful transformation.

Anatomy of a Breach

The breakfast meeting on May 17, 2023 focused on the anatomy of a cyber breach. Presenters Villy Savino and Larry Bazrod, both from CoreNet Global, described a cyber-attack at their organization and the lessons learned. With discussions from the group, we had the following take-aways:

  • Every organization is at risk, even if the organization has mainly public information, there are still personal data, such as employee or membership information that may need to be protected.
  • It is important to have a communication and response plan if a cyber-attack occurs involving all stake holders. Communicate to your insurer and legal counsel first. Be aware of different laws if your organization operates in different states or countries.
  • Most attacks happen through a “weak link”, unsecured or easy access through an employee or vendor. It is important to establish workplace norms regarding security. Educate employees and vendors. 
  • A cyber-attack can happen again. Be vigilant and keep monitoring your network and keep educating your employees.

Bring Diversity to Your Recruitment Plan: Nonprofit Member Discussion 

The initial discussion centered on understanding the importance of diversity recruitment strategies in organizations. The speakers presented tools and methodologies for DE&I, including: reviewing job descriptions for inclusive language, reviewing imagery on Careers sites, external partnerships, professional diversity networks, and employee resource groups. Using these tools helps achieve the goal of building a diverse slate of candidates.

We discussed the role that unconscious bias plays in the recruitment process. Unconscious bias does not mean discrimination but can lead to discrimination and other outcomes we don’t want. We learned about the methods of reducing bias when hiring. We also talked about the approach to recruitment screening tools and what questions should be asked when using these tools, with the mindset of eliminating unqualified candidates and not losing any valuable ones at the same time.

Change Management

Carolyn Lanham, CAE, Chief Operating Officer of the American Society of Addiction Medicine led a discussion with colleagues on the topic of change management. The conversation kicked off with describing the difference between change and transition.  

Change is situational. Transition is the psychological process people go through to come to terms with the new situation. Change is external and transition is internal. When we talk about change, we focus on the outcome. Transition is different. The starting point is not the outcome but instead the ending that will have to take place to leave the old behind.

Nothing undermines organizational change as the failure to think through who will have to let go of what when the change occurs and to be ready for those changes and losses. This requires engaging with all stakeholders, anticipating needs, and planning for different scenarios. It is necessary to keep a continual pulse on transition issues and adjust/adapt to unforeseen circumstances.  

The group agreed that overcommunication is vital to lead everyone to the shared vision for the change. It requires targeted messaging to address the unique needs of each person/group and to be done through various channels, continually reinforcing the “why.” At the same time, it is important to acknowledge that the old way is or will be no longer. There may be some sense of loss. After all, change is an emotional process.

One thing is for certain, change is constant. Successful management of transitions is the key for transformation.