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The Trap of the Buzzword

Posted By Katherine Robinson, EMH Strategy, Monday, October 05, 2015

One of the biggest challenges facing non-profit organizations today is the dichotomy between crafting a catchy pitch and running an impactful, multifaceted program.  Mission-driven organizations are typically trying to solve complex problems that require in-depth, specialized knowledge to address, but they need to be able to pitch their models to funders, partners, and the public in a succinct, digestible way.  Additionally, funders often organize their grants into specific categories, such as education, arts, or health, expecting non-profits to fit into one unambiguous box.  In reality, most successful organizations realize that issue areas are interrelated and build programs that are more holistic in nature.  Despite their multifaceted value propositions, non-profits are still expected to speak about their cause or mission in a way that is short, punchy, and on trend.  This oversimplification can seep in messaging, operations, and impact. This is the trap of the buzzword.


Because so much of what non-profits do is communicated through social media and grant requirements are very specific, non-profits often abbreviate their messaging to focus on a few popular key words.  Jordan Levy, the Chief External Relations Officer for the Ubuntu Education Fund, recently wrote an article in the Stanford Social Innovation Review stating that “to fundraise effectively, nonprofits come up with accessible, digestible, emotive concepts that resonate with those who work outside the sector.”  At first glance this is seems like a great idea–the general public will become more aware of pressing issues and will (hopefully) be encouraged to donate or volunteer in support of the cause.  Some popular phrases are “youth leadership development,” and “community resource center.”  At first blush, these sound like great models that have the power to impact society positively.  But what do they mean?  And how do non-profits actually deliver these programs? 


So non-profits are trapped.  Buzzwords are important for getting funding and building awareness, but they also oversimplify issues and lead to mission creep.  So how do non-profits avoid the trap of the buzzword?  Showing how and why is the solution to the trap of the buzzword. 


How to sell your organization’s true impact


There are a number of tools that go beyond the mission and pitch to distill both the impact an organization is making on its target population and the process it is using to do so.  Some of the most popular tools for showing how a non-profit works are theories of change and logic models.  These tools are used to map out the work that a non-profit does in a way that is digestible, but is more reflective of the big picture, which includes the large-scale problems being addressed and the long-term vision for the organization.  Recently, EMH was engaged by the Emeril Lagasse Foundation to help them develop a new program.  We built a logic model as the “recipe” for the program to show funders, board members, potential partners, and other key stakeholders the what, how, and why of the program’s impact.  When distilled from a logic model, the short, catchy verbiage of what an organization does is more accurate and can be backed up with the how, the why, and the relevant metrics. Despite their funding challenges, the youth leadership development organization I mentioned earlier is committed to serving their youth in a formalized and comprehensive way.  We are working with the organization to build out a theory of change and logic models so that funders better understand how and why the case manager will be beneficial to the organization’s other work.  Hopefully, these tools will help the organization be funded for a case manager in the near future. 


Building a solid foundation like this can prevent your organization from succumbing to the trap of the buzzword, especially when you back it up with impact metrics, which we discussed a few months ago.  Good impact metrics track back to the problems the organization is trying to solve and are directly related to the activities performed by the organization.  Any time you can back up the results of your programs with data, your organization will be more credible—and more attractive to funders.  Once the impact of a non-profit is designed and tracked, catchy phrases, infographics, and other ways to make the story of the organization more palatable can be employed in ways that are powerful and accurate, rather than clichéd buzzwords. 


In reality, most non-profits are solving a multitude of complex problems in a targeted way within a multifaceted landscape.  Funders need to understand the myriad of factors that affect the non-profit’s work, rather than focusing on a series of compelling buzzwords.  And, as mission-driven organizations are compelled to distill their message into buzzwords, it is important that they do so in a way that accurately reflects what they do–with the logic and strategy behind them.  EMH has worked with a number of non-profit organizations including Lycée Français de la Nouvelle-Orléans and Café Reconcile.  We work with non-profits to help them build effective programs, analyze and understand their impact, and refine their value proposition in a way that avoids the trap of the buzzword.  If you’d like to learn more about our work with non-profit organizations, view our case studies or contact us.  To view the original post and others, visit EMH's blog.

Tags:  funding  marketing  metrics  nonprofit  youth development 

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2015 Force For Good Award Winners Announced

Posted By Bettsie Norton, LANO, Monday, October 05, 2015

The Louisiana Association of Nonprofit Organizations announced today the selection of Gerard Barousse of the Bayou District Foundation and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul as the 2015 honorees of the LANO Force For Good Awards.  The awards will be presented during the annual LANO Conference on October 22-23 at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge.

The Nonprofit of the Year Award recognizes a LANO member whose exceptional delivery of services to the community sets a high standard of quality and impact.  The Leadership Award honors an individual LANO member who has demonstrated strong decision-making abilities consistent with their organization’s mission and scope; rallies both staff and volunteers to maximize their potential; and achieves consistently successful results.


Based in Baton Rouge, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul recently celebrated 150 years of delivering care and assistance to homeless, at-risk and disadvantaged individuals and families throughout the Baton Rouge area. The nonprofit organization provides person-to-person aid by offering food services and housing solutions for those in need.


The Society collaborates with stakeholders and business leaders to develop affordable retail stores, dental clinics and pharmacies, and in 2014, the Society served over 240,000 meals, filled over 30,000 prescriptions and provided 25,000 guest nights of shelter to the homeless.


Gerard Barousse is the founder and Chairman of the Bayou District Foundation, an organization largely responsible for the creation of Columbia Parc—a thriving, mixed-income family community serving nearly 500 low-income households in the heart of New Orleans.


Since its completion, the Columbia Parc community has been 100% occupied, crime has reduced by nearly 100%, and all residents are either employed or in school full-time.  Barousse is regarded as an urban renaissance innovator, mentor and a community icon demonstrating outstanding leadership in the New Orleans nonprofit community.  

Please join us in celebrating these outstanding LANO members by attending the 2015 Annual Conference and Force for Good Awards Luncheon October 22-23!

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Co-working office space available for rent in beautiful, historic, CBD building.

Posted By Shantrell Austin, Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, Friday, October 02, 2015

The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, a leader in telling Louisiana stories to the world, is offering a professional environment in which cultural innovators can be productive and collaborate with peers and leaders within the sector. With a 40+ year history in capacity building, content development and public program implementation for the cultural sector via grant making and strategic partnerships, the LEH is the best entity to launch and support the first incubator dedicated to cultural innovators.

The Culture-Up Incubator includes shared workspaces designed to foster community and collaboration for Louisiana’s cultural sector. Incubator membership options include access to two conference rooms, a kitchen, overnight storage and complimentary tea and coffee. Incubator members can also receive discounts on usage of the Louisiana Humanities Education Center and Board Room.

The LEH building is located in downtown New Orleans within walking distance of the Southmarket District, Rouses’, the Poydras Corridor, the Julia Street Art District, the Mercedes-Benz Superdome and numerous cultural institutions.  

Learn more and apply for membership at  Email or for additional information.

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Tags:  Collaboration  culture  incubator  innovation  Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities; Baton Roug  networking  nonprofit sector  rental space 

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Fundraising workshop: Major Donor Development 101

Posted By Nora Ellertsen, The Funding Seed, LLC, Thursday, September 24, 2015

Fundraising workshop:
Major Donor Development 101

Thursday, October 8
9:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Ashe Cultural Arts Center
1712 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd., New Orleans
Details and registration at 


Asking someone for a large donation can make a huge difference for your nonprofit.


The Funding Seed's October workshop covers the basics of major donor development: how to identify your donors, ways to build strong relationships with prospects, and what to say (and not say!) when asking for a big donation. 


Attendees will receive a Certificate of Participation after completing the workshop.


Registration $35 per person.  Discounts available for students, AmeriCorps members and organizations registering two or more people.


Email to inquire about discount codes or to reserve your space and pay at the door.  For more on workshops and other services offered by The Funding Seed, visit

Tags:  development  donations  donors  fund  fund development  fund raising  funding  Fundraising  louisiana  Member Event  New Orleans  nonprofit  nonprofit sector  non-profits  sustainability  training  workshop 

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Phenomenal Grant Writing Seminar!

Posted By David Kiviaho, kiisa Corporation, Wednesday, September 23, 2015



Image result for registration button

  • Relevant, Informative, Highly Rated! 
  • Targets Any Level of Grant Writer 
  • Phenomenal Seminar!

Laser Focused, Newest Information on Writing Grant Narrative, Goals and Objectives, Outcomes, Budgets, and more. 

As a corporate organization of the Louisiana Association of Non Profit Organizations (LANO), kiisa corporation provides a unique grant writing experience that explores all areas of grant writing. We help the writer to learn how to prepare stellar narratives, comprehensive budgets, develop proper evaluations, understand IRS requirements, identify funders, develop meaningful funder relationships, and much more.

  • Expert to Speak to Successful Grant Writing Participants on Frequently Asked Questions of the Funder. 
  •  Listing of funders ready to provide dollars to non-profits, community groups, municipalities, faith-based organizations, and academia.
  • Techniques on Writing the Winning Narrative, Goals and Objectives, Outcomes, and Budget. 
  • Latest Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requirements. 990's and Financial Audit Requirements.
  • Latest Giving Trends...From Wall Street to Your Street
  • Latest Data Management Resources for narrative citations. Exploration of where to find data to reinforce the need for your funding request.

Instruction Provided By:


Sharon Sandifer, M.Ed                                                                                                               David Kiviaho


Tags:  Grant  Grant Writing  Money  Non Profit  Seminars  Webinars  Workshops  Writing 

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10/31 Consortium Collecting Halloween Costumes For Big Buddy Program

Posted By Kristi LaMattery, Big Buddy Program, Sunday, September 20, 2015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Baton Rouge, LA (September13, 2015) – In keeping with the mission to bring the fun of Halloween to everyone, the 10/31 Consortium is collecting new and gently used children’s Halloween costumes.  All costumes collected will be donated to the children served by the Big Buddy Program who will enjoy parties, trick-or-treating and marching in the Baton Rouge Halloween Parade wearing the costumes. 


New and gently used costumes may be dropped off through Thursday, October 15th at the following locations:


·        Party Paradise - 3546 Drusilla Lane (Drusilla Shopping Center)

·        Party Time - 3350 Bluebonnet Blvd (at Airline Hwy.)

·        Big Buddy Program - 1415 Main Street

·        Parties Start Here - 3150 Valley Street (at Perkins)

·        Spirit Halloween Store - 6865 Siegen Lane

·        Gerry Lane Chevrolet - 6505 Florida Blvd.


Everyone is encouraged to attend the Baton Rouge Halloween Parade at 2pm on Saturday, October 31st in downtown Baton Rouge and cheer on the children as they march in their costumes.


Give the gift of creativity by picking up an extra costume and donating in the bin at the entrance of your favorite party store or dropping of gently used costumes at Gerry Lane or Big Buddy.


Those with questions or needing more information should contact 10/31 Consortium at


10/31 Consortium is a Baton Rouge, LA based non-profit organization established in July 2010. The organization is a club for Halloween enthusiasts which hosts several Halloween-themed events, throughout the year, leading up to the organization’s largest events, the Baton Rouge Halloween Parade and its corresponding ball, the Ghostly Gala. The organization remains dedicated to children and the preservation of this autumn tradition by raising money for Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital, collecting food for the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank, collecting costumes for children in the Big Buddy Program and by working with area neighborhoods to promote safe Trick or Treat practices.


The Big Buddy Program is a local non-profit (501(c)(3))youth services agency that provides positive role models and quality learning experiences to over 750 disadvantaged youth weekly.  For over 30 years the Big Buddy Program has provided children and youth with positive adult role models through the Big Buddy/Little Buddy mentoring programs; character education and leadership sessions; after school programs, holiday camps and summer enrichment programs; teen programs, and literacy skills.


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For more information contact:  Lauren Collins, 10/31 Consortium President

                                                         Phone:  (225) 773-4277   ●  

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Big Buddy's 17th Annual Day of the Mentor

Posted By Kristi LaMattery, Big Buddy Program, Sunday, September 20, 2015

The Big Buddy Program will host the 17th Annual Day of the Mentor, Friday, October 23, 2015 from 8:00am to 2:00pm @ Cortana Mall (Entrance 2, behind the Mall).


With lead sponsor ExxonMobil, Big Buddy is excited to present this rewarding event which matches individuals in the community with children who would benefit from establishing a relationship with a caring adult role model.  The day begins with breakfast, followed by a visit to the Mentor’s workplace, and concludes with an inspiring luncheon.  This year’s theme is “Unlock Potential”  According to Big Buddy Executive Director Gaylynne Mack, “Mentoring is the single most effect way to have an impact on the life of a child.  In the long run, mentoring is the fiscally responsible course of action. The cost of $1,500 per year to provide one youth with a caring adult role model equipped with the capacity, gained through training and support, to guide the youth successfully through the decision making process and through the transition of adolescence to adulthood is a mere drop in the bucket compared to the $88,000 per year it costs to incarcerate one juvenile.”


8:00 am           Mentors arrive for sign-in, packet pick-up and opening program

9:00 am            Mentees arrive and meet Mentors at breakfast

9:00-12:00 pm  Mentor workplace visit

12:00-1:30 pm  Pairs attend Day of the Mentor luncheon

1:30 pm            Mentors receive commitment cards and special recognition. Mentees say goodbye

1:30 – 2pm       Program wrap-up.  17th Annual Day of the Mentor comes to an end.



The Day of the Mentor was established in 1998 to bring heightened awareness to the service of mentoring and to motivate members of our community to get involved and make a difference in the life of a child.  Through this event, many in the community have stepped forward to make a commitment to share their wisdom and experience with a child in need.  Past Day of the Mentor participants have included Mayor Kip Holden, Southern Baseball Coach Roger Cador, EBR Sheriff Sid Gautreaux, State Senator Sharon Weston Broome, NFL players Barkevious Mingo, Odell Beckham, Jr., Zach Mettenburger, and Jarvis Lanrdy, athletes from both LSU and Southern AND local businesses such as ExxonMobil, The Shaw Group, Cox Communications, Chase Bank, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, The U.S. Army, Baton Rouge Coca-Cola, the LSU Champs program, and more.


The Big Buddy Program is a local non-profit (501(c)(3))youth services agency that provides positive role models and quality learning experiences to over 750 disadvantaged youth weekly.  For over 30 years the Big Buddy Program has provided children and youth with positive adult role models through the Big Buddy/Little Buddy mentoring programs; character education and leadership sessions; after school programs, holiday camps and summer enrichment programs; teen programs, and literacy skills.


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For more information call the Big Buddy Program at 225-388-9737, email or click here.

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Don't miss webinar with expert and author Jeff Brooks on irresistible fundraising communications on Sept. 24

Posted By Kris H. Rutledge, CausePlanet, Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Join expert Jeff Brooks, author of The Fundraiser’s Guide to Irresistible Communications: Real-World Field-Tested Strategies for Raising More Money, for this exclusive interview on Thursday, September 24, at 11:00 Central Time.


Find answers to these questions and more:

  • What kind of content should you include when asking donors for money?
  • What are some design techniques that help a donor read your communications?
  • How do you focus on donor-centric communication?


LANO Members: Registration is FREE thanks to the support of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation. (Simply log in using your email address on file with LANO and “Password1”.)


Not a LANO Member? Guests welcome! Register here.



Download this book summary and other titles!


Thanks to the Foundation, you can download a free Page to Practice™ summary of Jeff Brooks’ book and other titles for free!


Simply log in at CausePlanet’s home page ( and enter your registered email with LANO and “Password1”. Click on “Summary Library” to see The Fundraiser’s Guide to Irresistible Communications and other titles.

Tags:  author interviews  CausePlanet  Page to Practice  webinars 

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LANO Announces the Baton Rouge & Shreveport Community Leaders Participants

Posted By Kelly Pepper, Louisiana Association of Nonprofit Organizations, Tuesday, September 08, 2015


The staff and board of the Louisiana Association of Nonprofit Organizations (LANO) are proud to welcome 65 Baton Rouge & Shreveport/Bossier professionals to the 2015 class of the Community Leaders Program.


Celebrating its 10th anniversary in the Shreveport/Bossier area, the program began as a collaborative partnership between LANO and the Community Foundation of North Louisiana and now includes Capital One Bank as a funding partner. In Baton Rouge the program begins its inaugural  year as a result of a collaborative partnership between LANO, the Huey and Angelina Wilson Foundation and Capital One Bank.


The LANO: Community Leaders Program is designed to increase a legacy of civic engagement and philanthropy for the Greater Baton Rouge and Shreveport/Bossier areas by developing future nonprofit board members and engaged community leaders.


The 2015 class of the LANO: Community Leaders Program - Baton Rouge includes:


Carla Anyaele, MTK Consulting

Laquitta Bowers, Louisiana State University

Tammy Boyd, Capital One

Suzette Bryan, Blue Cross Blue Shield of LA

Nicole Carter, Louisiana Housing Corporation

Amanda Clark, Law Office of Amanda Clark

Francisca Comeaux, Phelps Dunbar

Landon Corbin, SSA Consultants

Carroll Devillier, Breazeale, Sachse & Wilson

Monique Edwards, The Edwards Law Group

Stephen Feazell, SSA Consultants

Michelle Garbiras, Hannis T. Bourgeois

Todd Gaudin, On Point Legal

Ann Hijuelos, The Water Institute of the Gulf

Johnathan Hill, Louisiana Department of Justin

Lee Ledet, Erlingson Banks

Christen Losey-Gregg, Losey, Ins. & Fin. Services

Ben Mahoney, Blue Cross Blue Shield of LA

Cheryl Michelet, BREC

Lisa Moore, Capital One

Anthony O’Connor, Lee Michaels Fine Jewelry

Tandra Perkins, Department of Children and Family Services

Kimberly Plant, CMFG Insurance

Cody Saucier, SSA Consultants

Mary Slayter, Reputation Capita Media Services 

Carli Thibodeaux, Covalent Logic

Eilleen Thompson, State of Louisiana

Traci Thompson, Breazeale, Sachse & Wilson

Christopher Waters, Elayn Hunt Correctional Center

Trey Williams, Latter & Blum/City Pork Hospitality Group

Stacie Williams, Office of the Mayor-President


The 2015 class of the LANO: Community Leaders Program - Shreveport/Bossier includes:


Jason Holland, Community Bank of LA

Ivy Johnson, The Philadelphia Center

Tania Lang, Common Ground Community

Erica Ledet, Bossier Parish Community College

Jamie Lopez, Po’ Folks Promos

Brett Malone, The Philadelphia Center

Crissy Malone-Golden, Moonbot Studios

Kevin May, May & Company

Leslie McCormack, Wildlife Education and Rehabilitation of LA

Gia Morgan, Wildlife Education and Rehabilitation of LA

Laura Ashley Overdyke, Community Foundation of North Louisiana

Jan Pou, Catholic Charities of North LA

Cole Rhodes, TEG Architects

Marisa Roberson, Blue Cliff College

Abbey Rubel, Common Ground Community

Bert Schmale, Bankcorp South Bank

Stacey Smith, Ayres, Williams, Shelton, Benson & Paine

Daniel Strickland, Gremillion & Pou Marketing

Miranda Warren, Shreveport Behavioral Health Clinic

Kamesha West, Walmart

Nodie Williams, Wildlife Education and Rehabilitation of LA


Throughout the year, participants in the program take part in hands-on nonprofit leadership training, establish a communication network in the community and develop a clear understanding of the region’s needs.


The LANO: Community Leaders program is made possible by the support of the Capital One Bank, the Community Foundation of North Louisiana and LANO.


LANO is a statewide member organization that advocates for the nonprofit community. For more information, contact LANO at 225-929-5266 or visit



Tags:  Baton Rouge  Community Foundation  Community Leaders  Kay Irby  Shreveport  Wilson Foundation 

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Thank You, Shell!

Posted By Kelly Pepper, Louisiana Association of Nonprofit Organizations, Monday, August 31, 2015

 Thank You, Shell!


On August 15th, LANO & Shell kicked off a capacity building program in our Gulf Parishes at the Terrebonne Parish Library North Branch. The program will develop core capacity for nonprofits in the parishes of Plaquemines, Lafourche, Terrebonne and St. Mary. Upon completion of this program, the participating board members and staff members will be equipped to develop, manage and evaluate a successful governance process. Organizations will be able to demonstrate to regional funders that they are working towards nonprofit organizational excellence and will be strong stewards of their investments. Participants will also receive a complimentary one-year organizational membership to LANO to further encourage long-term capacity building and sustainability.


LANO and the participating organizations are beyond grateful to Shell in their generosity to make this program a possibility!


Recipient organizations include:

·       Alcohol and Drug Abuse for South Louisiana (Terrebonne)

·       Bayou Country Children’s Museum (Lafourche)

·       Chez Hope (St. Mary)

·       MacDonnell UMC Children’s Services (Terrebonne)

·       Plaquemines CARE (Plaquemines)

·       Plaquemines Animal Welfare Society (Plaquemines)

·       South Louisiana Wetlands (Terrebonne)

·       Terrebonne Education for Academic Excellence (Terrebonne)

For more information, visit




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