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Sharing the news, tips, press releases, special offers and upcoming events posted by LANO members. Share your good news here! Feel free to cross post the blog links to your Facebook or other media pages, or to email them directly to friends.Please allow 1-2 business days for your blog to appear on the network.


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Nominate Young Entrepreneurs

Posted By Katelyn Smith, Louisiana Association of Nonprofit Organizations, Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Do you know aspiring young entrepreneurs? Are they creative and motivated, and do they demonstrate a strong work ethic? Please introduce us!

Nominated students will receive information about YEA and how to apply.



Nominate Here Today:


Deadline is August 31st

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The Infamous Overhead Myth

Posted By Sarah Cortell Vandersypen, CFRE, Philanthropic Partners, Monday, July 2, 2018
Updated: Monday, July 2, 2018

The “Overhead Myth” is one of my favorite topics to talk about because it’s one of the most concerning challenges nonprofits – and funders – face.

“Overhead” is the percent of a nonprofit’s expenses that goes to administrative and fundraising costs. For decades, overhead was seen as bad, wasteful. It was seen as money that could be supporting the organization’s mission that was going to bloated administrative and fundraising budgets. Rating agencies, such as GuideStar, Charity Navigator, and the Better Business Bureau, would rate nonprofits based on their overhead percentage as if this was an indication of effectiveness.

Most – if not all – of us in the nonprofit sector know that overhead has nothing to do with effectiveness. We also know that depending on your type of nonprofit, you can have very different overhead costs. And that’s okay.

In 2013, GuideStar, BBB Wise Giving Alliance, and Charity Navigator wrote an open letter to the donors of America in a campaign to end the Overhead Myth. You can read that letter here. They released a second letter to nonprofits in 2014. The same agencies that perpetuated the Overhead Myth now ask us to consider other ways to evaluate nonprofits.

So what are those other ways? How should donors and the organizations themselves evaluate their effectiveness?

  • Does the organization have a clear mission?
  • Can it clearly articulate how its programs address a need?
  • Does it have SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, time-specific) objectives?
  • How is it investing its funds to make a real impact?
  • Do you see a ROPI (return on philanthropic investment) of your money?

What other ways do you think donors should evaluate nonprofit organizations?



Sarah Cortell Vandersypen, CFRE is the owner of Philanthropic Partners, a Baton Rouge-based consulting firm helping nonprofits build their philanthropic capacity. Check out her new website, webinars, and free white paper at


Tags:  fundraising 

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What To Do With Unwanted Donations

Posted By Celeste Viator, Hannis T. Bourgeois, LLP, Monday, June 25, 2018

Everyone agrees that donations are the lifeblood of not-for-profit organizations. At the top of most wish lists is cash, and depending on your situation, you may accept other assets and in-kind contributions.


But what should you do when offered donations that are not usable or appropriate? For example, how should a charity react when it is offered an item so worn that the only option is to send it to the local dump? Unfortunately, this can be a drain on the charity's staff. And if there's a fee to use the dump, it can cost the organization. 

Another sticky situation that some not-for-profits face is what to do with donations of real estate. Although property is potentially valuable, many organizations don't have the staff or skills to manage real estate and may not want to accept the environmental liabilities that go along with it. 


And how should you cope with contributions of old computers? Since computer parts may contain lead and are considered hazardous waste, many areas charge a fee for proper disposal. 

Of course, not-for-profit organizations don't want to run the risk of offending donors -- especially when a few months down the road, the same individuals might come up with something that perfectly meshes with the organization's needs.

Honesty and politeness are the best policy. Most contributors respond well when gently told that the organization appreciates the gesture, but the donation is something you cannot use. Furthermore, most people understand that a not-for-profit must watch expenses. Explain that it isn't fiscally prudent to accept something, such as out-of-date computers, which will cost the organization money to dispose of. 

Some not-for-profit managers tell donors they can't accept contributions because they lack storage space, while others smooth over any ruffled feathers by letting donors know of other items the organization needs -- including volunteer hours.

Another trick to minimize the problem is to use local media -- send press releases to newspapers and local television stations, for instance -- to get the word out about what your organization really needs and what it cannot accept. 

Or consider making use of clearinghouses in which for-profit organizations advertise what they have to donate -- office furniture and equipment, for example. For a small annual fee, not-for-profits have access to a "bulletin board" and can scan it for items on their wish lists. 

Here are a few other suggestions to minimize any bad feelings and get what your organization really needs.

• Try to steer donors to a more appropriate venue -- another not-for-profit group that might be able to use the items.
• Consult with your not-for-profit adviser about whether it's possible to accept certain assets, such as real estate and the best way to go about handling such transactions.
• Try to find out if the donors have other items that you need and let them know about those needs. When soliciting contributions from for-profits, remind them of what donations can do for their companies in terms of image enhancement and tax benefits. This approach is frequently more effective than talking up the impact a donation has on people's lives.
• Another good method for getting items you need is to ask someone from a particular for-profit company to sit on your board of directors. 

And, of course, the best policy in some situations may be to graciously accept a well-intended, but inappropriate, gift and quietly take it to the dumpster, or to be recycled.


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Have you Celebrated your Favorite Nonprofit Leader or Organization Lately?

Posted By Emilie E. Bowman, Louisiana Association of Nonprofit Organizations, Monday, June 11, 2018

On August 16, 2018 LANO will recognize nonprofit leaders and organizations that are making a tremendous impact on the lives of Louisiana citizens. Every year LANO takes nominations for the Nonprofit Leader and Organization who have selflessly spent their time and energy going above and beyond for their community, at the Force for Good Awards Luncheon.

There are countless moments where we are inspired by the work of our nonprofit community, and I hope today you will take a few minutes to acknowledge those heroes by nominating them for a Force for Good Award. Nominations are open until end of day on June 30th. Don’t miss this chance to say “Thank You” to those who make Louisiana great!


To nominate an individual or an organization visit, LANO Force for Good Nomination Form. 

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Intermediate Grantwriting on July 25

Posted By Nora Ellertsen, The Funding Seed, LLC, Thursday, May 31, 2018

Intermediate Grantwriting
Wednesday, July 25, 1:30pm - 4:30pm
Ashe Power House Theater
1731 Baronne St.
New Orleans, LA 70113

So you've written a few grants and feel like you've got the basics down.  

Are you ready to take your grantwriting to the next level?

Intermediate Grantwriting will help you improve your grant proposals and raise more money for your nonprofit.   Through this workshop, you'll learn specific ways to make your proposal more appealing to a funder, including how to make a compelling case to someone unfamiliar with your nonprofit's work and what kind of research and data to include.

Registration $40 per person. Discounts available for students, AmeriCorps members, and organizations registering two or more people.

Participants will receive a Certificate of Participation for completing the workshop.



For more on services offered by The Funding Seed, visit To reserve your space and pay at the door, or for any questions, please email [email protected]

Tags:  development  donations  fund  fund development  fund raising  funding  Fundraising  funds  grant  grant writing  grants  grantwriting  nonprofit  nonprofit sector  non-profits  sustainability  training  workshop  workshop. grants 

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Grantwriting For Beginners on June 7

Posted By Nora Ellertsen, The Funding Seed, LLC, Saturday, May 26, 2018

Grantwriting for Beginners
Thursday, June 7
9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Ashe Power House Theater
1731 Baronne St., New Orleans

Are you involved with a nonprofit?
Does your job require you to raise funds for your department or position?
Do you want to add a valuable skill to your resume?

Consider grantwriting!

Grantwriting for Beginners is an engaging workshop that gives you the basic tools you need to start writing grants. Participants will learn how to find funding opportunities, tools and tips for writing proposals and ways to make a program competitive for repeat funding.

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

Registration $40 per person. Discounts available for students, AmeriCorps members and organizations registering two or more people.



For more on workshops and other services from The Funding Seed, visit Email [email protected] to inquire about discount codes or to reserve your space and pay at the door.

Tags:  development  donations  donors  events  fund development  fund raising  funding  Fundraising  funds  grant  grant writing  grants  grantwriting  Member Event  New Orleans  nonprofit  nonprofit sector  non-profits  training  workshop  workshop. grants 

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Get the Money You Need

Posted By Celeste Viator, Hannis T. Bourgeois, LLP, Wednesday, May 23, 2018

You know the drill: It's midnight and your grant proposal is due tomorrow. Your assistant left hours ago, and the words on the computer screen start to blur. "It's not worth it," you think. And besides, only a few grants pan out anyway. 


Grants are a big part of the not-for-profit world. And yet, according to Dennis P. McIlnay's book, How Foundations Work, less than 10 percent of grant proposals are ever funded. That's probably why grant writing is often viewed as a lottery with little hope of success.

But it doesn't have to be that way. Here are a few pointers to make the grant-writing process a little easier:


Know your organization. In your proposal, you need to prove your organization has a significant need and then come up with a solution to solve the problems. The more information you have at hand, the easier it is to answer questions on a grant proposal. Ask relevant staff members questions about your organization's programs, and use their answers to help write the proposals. If your employees have trouble providing answers you need, your organization may need to think through its ideas or document its experience more carefully.


Set up a system. The requirements of grant applications are generally repetitive and predictable. Invest some time coordinating and preparing clerical material. You will find that with an efficient system, it's just as easy to apply for 10 or 20 grants as it is to apply for one or two. And the more organized you are, the easier it becomes to tailor each proposal to the specific grant. Before getting started, contact individual grantmakers for their exact application specifications, Requests for Proposals (RFPs) and guidelines. 

Build relationships. Experienced grant writers send a steady stream of information to funders to show that their organizations are responsible and effective partners. Relationships can be cultivated in a variety of other ways, from personal meetings to an invitation to an event sponsored by the local Chamber of Commerce. These contacts give funders a way to develop a positive profile of your organization and to see that you will use their funds responsibly.

Work steadily. Don't wait until you're desperate. Steady, year-round grant seeking lets you gain control over the process. It also gives you the opportunity to carefully select who you will approach as a potential funder and how much to ask for. When you start from a position of power, you come across as a more secure investment. 

Learn your craft. Like most skills, grant writing takes time to learn and can be frustrating at first. But keep doing research and writing proposals. Good writing skills are very important. The more you do, the better you become at crafting a good proposal. 

The pay-off for the time you spend? An effective grant-seeking system that can speed and enhance your organization's future work. 


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Nonprofit Fundraising 101 - SPECIAL LANO DISCOUNT!

Posted By Nora Ellertsen, The Funding Seed, LLC, Wednesday, May 9, 2018
Updated: Wednesday, May 16, 2018



Nonprofit Fundraising 101

Thursday, May 17, 1:30 - 4:30pm
Ashe Power House Teater
1731 Baronne St.
New Orleans, LA 70113

Every nonprofit needs to know the options for how it will raise money. This workshop will give you the essential background you need in order to keep your work well-funded.

Participants will learn:
Where nonprofits get their funding.
Why your nonprofit might choose to prioritize fundraising from grants, individual donors, events, and other sources.
What it means to make your funding sustainable.
The difference between restricted and unrestricted funding.
The Donor Cultivation Cycle- the framework for identifying and building relationships with your donors and funders.

This workshop is ideal for both for those new to the fundraising and nonprofit world and for those with some experience in fund development.

Registration $40 per person. Discounts available for students, AmeriCorps members, and organizations registering two or more people.

Participants will receive a Certificate of Participation for completing the workshop.\



For more on services offered by The Funding Seed, visit To reserve your space and pay at the door, or for any questions, please email [email protected].

Tags:  CausePlanet  development  donations  donors  fund development  fund raising  funding  Fundraising  funds  grants  louisiana  New Orleans  nonprofit  nonprofit sector  non-profits  Page to Practice  sustainability  training  workshop 

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Board Building Done Right

Posted By Sarah Cortell Vandersypen, CFRE, Philanthropic Partners, Monday, May 7, 2018

From job descriptions to strategic recruiting to ongoing training, board development is critical to your nonprofit. Your board should be your biggest advocates, and if it’s an all-volunteer organization, your board serves as your core staff.

So how do you go about getting the right board members to help your organization meet its strategic objectives?

Job Descriptions. This is key. A job description allows you and potential board members to be on the same page on expectations from both sides. BoardSource and The Bridgespan Group have great templates that you can customize to fit your organization.

Conduct a Board Audit. To recruit strategically, you need to understand your strengths and weaknesses of your current board. Are you missing a key demographic group? Do you have board members with critical expertise like financial management? This AFP white paper can be a good guiding document in assessing your current board.

Get Rid of Dead Weight. I have seen new board members come onto a board with new energy and ideas to only be shut down and shut out by board members that no longer helpful to the organization. They are creating a toxic environment. Those new board members also see other members that don’t contribute (financially, meeting attendance, engagement, etc.), which enforces the idea that they don’t have to contribute either. Clean up your board before you bring on new members.

Have an Honest Conversation. Board recruitment is sort of like dating. You should go out to coffee or lunch with a prospective board member and get to know them. What are they passionate about? How much do they know about your organization? Lay out the expectations of board members. Be honest about the opportunities that your organization has to grow/improve. Don’t play Old Maid with your board by which I mean don’t hide your “Old Maid” (your major challenge(s) – financial troubles, decreasing program quality, etc.) until the unsuspecting member joins. It’s not professional and people won’t stick with your organization if they feel roped into this without full knowledge.

Orientation and Ongoing Training. All board members should go through orientation. This can be as long or formal as your organization needs. National Council of Nonprofits has a sample agenda. BoardSource has additional resources. But don’t leave your board members to find their own way throughout their term. Continue giving them training and resources to help them do their jobs better!


Do you need help build a fundraising board? Are your board members afraid to fundraise? Let's talk.

Tags:  board  Board of Directors  boards  fund development  fundraising 

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Join the Fundraising Intensive class of 2019!

Posted By Nora Ellertsen, The Funding Seed, LLC, Wednesday, May 2, 2018
Updated: Wednesday, May 2, 2018

The Funding Seed's Fundraising Intensive Program is an eight month course that gives you tools to raise funds for your nonprofit.  Through a combination of group learning and one-on-one coaching, participants learn best practices and practical skills related to a range of fundraising activities.


Over the course of the program, the nonprofit staff, board members, and volunteers involved will learn about:
Fundraising Planning
Telling Your Story
Individual Donor Development
Major Donor Development
Fundraising Events: House Parties
Fundraising by Mail and Email

Each month, participants come together for a group learning session facilitated by The Funding Seed and dedicated to a scheduled fundraising topic.  Group members engage in discussion, share ideas, learn industry best practices, and receive practical tools and homework assignments related to that topic.  Following the session, each nonprofit receives 90 minutes of in-person, individual coaching with The Funding Seed focused on implementing those tools, plus an additional 30-minute private check-in call.  By joining in both a group learning session and supportive individual coaching, participants have the opportunity to receive well-rounded training that makes real change at their own nonprofits.

The program is designed to allow participants to raise money as they go.  For example, during the month dedicated to fundraising by mail and email, class members write real fundraising appeals for their organizations.  As a result, nonprofits that participate in the program learn how to make their fundraising successful for the long term while also raising immediate funds.

Following completion of the program, participants receive their Certificate of Graduation.




Participation is limited and applications are required.  If you are interested in joining The Funding Seed's Fundraising Intensive Program for its 2018-2019 class, please click the button above and complete the following application by Friday, May 11 at 5:00 p.m.  For questions, please call (504) 307-7220 or email [email protected] For more information on The Funding Seed's other offerings, please visit 


Tags:  boards  development  donations  donor management  donor retention  donors  Finance Fundamentals  fund  fund development  fund raising  funding  fundraiser  Fundraising  funds  LANO Network  New Orleans  nonprofit  nonprofit sector  non-profits  Page to Practice  sustainability  training 

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