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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 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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Audits Are Essential to Your Organization's Health

Posted By Celeste Viator, Hannis T. Bourgeois, LLP, Thursday, April 26, 2018

Audits have become more important due to increased public and government scrutiny of not-for-profit organizations, their management and their boards. Audits not only provide you with a fair assessment of your organization's financial health, but also can reveal vulnerabilities such as weak internal controls, insufficient cash reserves and poor investment policies. Perhaps most important, regular audits reassure your donors, members and other stakeholders that you run a fit organization.


Ins and Outs 

Audits come in two forms, serving different purposes:

1. Internal audit. This type of audit is a function of your board's fiduciary responsibility to the organization and is performed by an "inside" auditor, such as your CFO.

The auditor examines whether your financial policies and processes meet your standards and those of outside agencies, and may look at how well your nonprofit's accounting and financial policies accord with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) and applicable state and federal laws. The auditor also may review the accuracy of financial information, assess how efficiently your organization handles money matters and test your internal controls. 

2. External audit. An external audit is conducted by a financial professional outside of your nonprofit. This type of audit is completely separate from an internal audit. Although external audits are optional for not-for-profits in some states, they're required in others. Be sure you learn the rules in your state.


In an external audit, a CPA examines your organization's financial statements and issues an opinion on whether those statements offer a fair picture of your finances and adhere to GAAP. To support this opinion, the auditor tests underlying records such as your not-for-profit's bank reconciliations, accounts payable records and contribution classifications. The auditor also evaluates your organization's internal controls.

It's essential to choose an external auditor who has no ties to your organization. For example, a board member's spouse who happens to be a CPA — no matter how qualified the spouse may otherwise be to perform an audit — wouldn't be able to accept an engagement to perform your audit.


Committee Work

Another major component of the not-for-profit audit process is your organization's audit committee — financially knowledgeable people who provide oversight of your organization's reporting and internal controls. Some states mandate who can serve on an audit committee. Others allow board members, as well as non-board member volunteers, to serve. Depending on the size and complexity of the not-for-profit organization, the committee generally has three to five members. 

The audit committee's primary role, besides selecting external auditors, is to maintain open communication with internal and external auditors to discuss audit processes and results. The committee also should ensure internal controls are in place throughout the year. The key to a successful audit committee is its independence and ability to bring to the table financial expertise specifically related to nonprofits. 

Preparing for an Audit

To help ensure you get the most useful results from an external audit, assemble relevant documents, including financial statements, bank correspondence, budgets, board meeting minutes, payroll, accounts receivable and accounts payable records. Your auditor also may ask to review records related to loans, leases, grants, donations and fundraising activities. Ask your auditor for a detailed list of required documentation. 

Expect the auditor to ask questions during the review process. He or she also will want to question board or staff members about your internal controls — including procedures for fraud prevention and detection. Among the issues likely to be reviewed are how money and other resources are received and spent, what the organization does to comply with applicable laws, and how financial transactions are recorded. 

Ideally, you should keep a running file of appropriate paperwork so you're prepared when the audit takes place. You also should communicate with your auditor as questions arise during the year about, for example, launching a program to sell items to raise funds or accepting a large grant. This ongoing approach can make the annual audit smoother and faster. 

Good Reasons

Audits take considerable time and effort, but if they reveal serious issues, such as fraud, they're well worth it. If that isn't enough incentive, consider the government's growing interest in not-for-profit audits. Although the revised IRS Form 990 doesn't mandate them, it does ask organizations to discuss their audit activities, as well as the role their boards play in them.



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2018 Semaine de la Francophonie Creative Placemaking Summit

Posted By George Marks, NUNU Arts and Culture Collective, Thursday, April 12, 2018

Creative placemaking is a planning process that places arts at the center of shaping the character and vitality of neighborhoods, cities, towns, and regions. It is an innovative approach to advancing the planning objectives of livability, sustainability, and equity.

Join us. Gather information and return home empowered. Adapt to your community's unique and authentic character.


Tags:  Register now 

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Grow Your Individual and Major Gifts Fundraising

Posted By Sarah Cortell Vandersypen, CFRE, Philanthropic Partners, Monday, April 9, 2018

Did you know that donations from individuals make up 72% of all charitable giving in the US (Giving USA 2017)?


Is your individual fundraising performing well? Do you want to find new ways to grow your individual fundraising? Do you not know how to approach a face-to-face solicitation?


In the upcoming workshop, Individual & Major Gifts, on April 18, you will learn how to develop an individual donor program and moves management strategy. We'll close direct mail, annual fund, membership programs, and major gifts. A special focus on major gifts will help you secure transformational gifts for your organization.


Lunch and training materials are included in your workshop fee. Attendees will receive a Certificate of Participation for completing the workshop.


Discounts are available for students and organizations registering two or more people.


Register here:




About Philanthropic Partners

Sarah Cortell Vandersypen, CFRE is the founder of Philanthropic Partners, a Baton Rouge-based consulting firm servicing nonprofit organizations. She specializes in building a development program from the ground up, diversifying revenue streams, and enhancing a culture of philanthropy through board and staff training and coaching. More information about Philanthropic Partners can be found at


Tags:  fund development  fundraising  nonprofit  workshop 

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Non-Profit Application Workshop

Posted By Katelyn Smith, Louisiana Association of Nonprofit Organizations, Monday, April 2, 2018

Serve Louisiana, formerly Louisiana Delta Service Corps is currently seeking non-profit organizations to partner with for the upcoming 2018-19 service term. The work that nonprofits, public schools, grassroots efforts and community initiatives do to improve lives across South Louisiana is critical. And since 1991, Serve Louisiana has helped a diverse group of organizations grow their mission and deepen their impact by partnering them with smart, energetic young leaders who have a passion for service.


Our AmeriCorps members serve full time for 11 months starting September 1st. They work on capacity building projects encompassing volunteer recruitment and management, technology and social media, community outreach and program design and evaluation.

Serve Louisiana is seeking organizations that will offer a meaningful service opportunity, provide excellent mentorship and training experiences and help develop the future leaders of our community.


Partner Organizations pay a one-time cash match of $10,000 per member. This helps offset the cost of the member’s living allowance ($14,000), health insurance, member training, and education award ($5,920).


If you are interested in learning more about hosting an AmeriCorps member please attend one of our application workshops in either Baton Rouge or New Orleans. We will review the entire application, the timeline for submission and corps member recruitment and the benefits and responsibilities for hosting a member. Please rsvp to if you are interested in attending. Applications will be available on our website starting April 9th and will be due to us on April 30th.


Baton Rouge

April 9th 1-3 Goodwood Library (room 102)


New Orleans

April 12th 10:30-12:30 Keller Library 

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2018 Semaine de la Francophonie Creative Placemaking Summit

Posted By George Marks, NUNU Arts and Culture Collective, Thursday, March 29, 2018


Be part of this regional endeavor to introduce neighboring communities to ongoing Creative Placemaking work throughout Acadiana, and to each other, and join in workshops that seek to assist with shaping projects that better YOUR community, town and/or city.
During these five days you will hear from leading experts in the study and practice of Creative Placemaking. You will participate in discussions designed to assist with a fuller and working understanding of how to implement Creative Placemaking.
Sunday, April 22 - NUNU Arts and Culture Collective, Arnaudville
Monday, April 23 – Sliman Performing Arts Center, New Iberia
Tuesday, April 24 – Abbey Players Theater, Abbeville
Wednesday, April 25 – St. John Episcopal Church, Washington
Thursday, April 26 – Acadiana Center for the Arts, Lafayette
Creative Placemaking is all about the transformation of communities and neighborhoods via art and/or culture centered projects that result in places where people want to live and visit. It is about inclusion and partnership building, and the want for an improved quality of life.
While this summit is certainly something that community and organizational leaders, public officials, decision makers, municipal and economic planners, and innovators in arts and culture would find beneficial - you need not be one who is considered a leader to affect change


For more information and/or to register, visit:



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Building Strong Donor Relationships - Special LANO Discount

Posted By Nora Ellertsen, The Funding Seed, LLC, Friday, March 23, 2018
Updated: Friday, March 23, 2018

Building Strong Donor Relationships
Thursday, April 12
1:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Ashe Power House Theater
1731 Baronne St., New Orleans

Build and strengthen relationships that will sustain your nonprofit!

Did you know that getting donors to give to your nonprofit is not just about what you say when you are asking for a gift, but what you are doing when you are NOT asking?

This workshop will give you best practices and practical tools to get your donors excited to give to you. Having great donor relationships means that you raise more money, with less stress and less work.

Participants will learn:
-The Donor Cultivation Cycle- a simple way to think about the process of identifying prospects, building great relationships, and asking donors to give in the right way.
-The right balance of asking and not asking.
-What to do with your donors who have the capacity to give the most.
-Attendees will receive a Certificate of Participation for completing the workshop.

Registration $40. Special LANO discount available - enter code LANO2018 at checkout for 15% off!



For questions, to inquire about discount codes or to reserve your seat and pay at the door, email

Tags:  development  donations  donors  Finance Fundamentals  fund  fund development  fund raising  funding  Fundraising  funds  LANO Network  New Orleans  nonprofit  nonprofit sector  non-profits  sustainability  training  workshop 

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Does Your Management Team Measure Up?

Posted By Celeste Viator, Hannis T. Bourgeois, LLP, Friday, March 23, 2018

Part of a good management structure means that key leaders not only get the job done but they also encourage staff members and volunteers. That involves praising them properly, inspiring their trust, and providing them with the information needed to do their jobs and understand their roles in the organization.

Often it's more a question of attitude than skill. We all have the ability to communicate and motivate people to do their best. 

Here's a checklist of questions to ask about your organization. How does your management team stack up? If you have too many "no" answers, it's time to examine the attitude of your organization's supervisors.


The Good Manager's Guide:

  • When problems arise, do managers separate the issues from the people? Employees are more comfortable bringing up issues without fear of retribution.
  • Does the management team approach mistakes in a constructive manner? Coaching an employee or a volunteer how to fix an error is a positive experience. When the issue is made into a personal failing, rather than a task oriented mistake, it creates a negative atmosphere.
  • Do senior managers create a team atmosphere? Good managers take a personal interest in their team and participate in social events.
  • Do supervisors regularly offer praise for jobs well done? People respond to comments of appreciation. But don't turn it into a ritual by praising every little thing. That will have little effect.
  • Are managers effectively communicating their expectations? People feel that they are being penalized for not reaching goals of which they aren't aware.
  • Do managers have an adequate number of people reporting to them? Supervisors lose their effectiveness and cannot give proper attention when they handle too many employees or volunteers. 
  • Do managers listen and do staff members think their suggestions are appreciated? Good supervisors listen to the relevant ideas, opportunities, needs and problems of subordinates.

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Complete the 2018 State Nonprofit Salary Survey !

Posted By Katelyn Smith, Louisiana Association of Nonprofit Organizations, Thursday, March 22, 2018
Updated: Thursday, March 22, 2018


The Louisiana Association of Nonprofit Organizations has partnered with publisher Columbia Books & Information Services to conduct a large scale nonprofit compensation survey for Louisiana nonprofits. Participation is FREE and members of the Louisiana Association of Nonprofit Organizations are eligible to receive a free copy of the report if you participate in the survey.  The survey will go live March 26th, 2018 and close May 31st, 2018. Members who do not participate in the survey can purchase a copy of the report at a discounted price. To register to participate in the 2018 survey please visit and click “Register”.


  • If you are unsure whether your organization is a member of the Louisiana Association of Nonprofit Organizations, please contact Katelyn Smith, Member Services Manager at


What is the 2018 Louisiana Nonprofit Compensation Survey?

Prepared and produced by experts with over 30 years of experience conducting compensation reports, this annual salary survey is designed specifically for nonprofits. It is the fastest and easiest-to-use salary survey available. With over 100 job descriptions, a quick and easy interface and a robust support team behind it, taking the survey is easy, and the resulting report will be a tremendous help to your nonprofit.


Why participate?

         It’s fast, easy, and FREE. Clear job descriptions make matching your positions simple and straightforward.

        The survey is specific to nonprofits like yours.  You can compare your organization’s staff salary levels to those of similar organizations.

        The more participants we have, the better the data will be. High participation produces robust results, benefiting both nonprofits and those seeking to work in the nonprofit sector in our state.

        The results will help you and your organization set fair and competitive compensation – the key to hiring and maintaining valuable employees.


What will the final report include?

         Hard data to use to analyze your nonprofits’ salary structure

         Specific market salary information for over 100 positions. Easy-to-read charts include median     salaries, average salaries and more

        Changes in nonprofit pay levels from one year to the next

        Salary differences by non-profit type, budget, and staff size

        All-new enhanced benefits section



Your Questions Answered:

        Who fills out the survey? Primarily HR or finance executives at associations and nonprofits, but if you don’t have a dedicated HR or finance staff person, your executive director would be the most appropriate person to complete the survey.

        Is it difficult? No. The user interface is designed for easy input of compensation information. A support team will be available for troubleshooting.

        Is it secure? Absolutely. The user interface is encrypted and password protected.

        What if I filled this out last year? If you participated since 2014, the survey will “remember” your responses from the last time, which will make filling the survey out much easier!

        Is there a cost? It is 100% free to fill out the survey, and as a member of your State Association you will receive a free copy of the report.

Here are what other participants have said about the survey:


"As a participant I found the survey was easy to take and didn't consume a lot of my time. The resulting report is going to be a valuable tool for myself and our board of directors"

-          Linda Elliot, President, Hawaii Wildlife Center


"The survey contained so many options under job positions - it was easy to find and list our staff salaries"

-          Bryce Chitwood, Director of Operations, Central Christian Camp


We hope that you will contribute to this vital study. Participation is free and all results are confidential. We encourage you to forward this information to other organizations you think might be interested.


When will the report be available and how much will it cost? The report will be available in August from Louisiana Association of Nonprofit Organizations. The full report is free for any participating members, $75 for members who did not participate, $75 for non-members who participated and $150 for non-members who did not participate.


To register to participate in this year’s survey, opening March 26th, please visit and choose “Register”.


Feel free to contact Katelyn Smith, with any questions.

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