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Bridge the gap between your service and advocacy

Posted By Denise McMahan, CausePlanet, Thursday, March 29, 2012

Heather GrantThis post is the third in a series on advocacy and offers relevant Page to Practice™ book summaries and articles at the end of the first article and second article.

In our monthly virtual book club last week at, we had coauthor of Forces for Good: The Six Practices of High-Impact Nonprofits, Heather Grant, participate. One of our attendees said, "Nothing beats actually hearing the author explain his/her insights on a subject.”

I agree.

Start at the beginning. One of the six best practices we spent some time discussing with Grant was first on the list of high-impact nonprofits: bridging the gap between service and advocacy. Several EDs in the group commiserated with one another about how this was a neglected area which needed improvement.

Systemic change requires more. In Forces for Good, Crutchfield and Grant explain that great nonprofits realize that, in order to achieve higher levels of impact, they need to bridge the gap between advocacy and service. They may start out providing great programs, but eventually realize that they cannot make systemic change without also engaging in advocacy. Others start out doing advocacy and then add programs to catalyze their strategy.

Bridge the divide. Providing services helps meet immediate needs, such as feeding the hungry or housing the poor; advocacy helps reform larger systems by changing public behavior or creating governmental solutions. High-impact nonprofits bridge the divide between advocacy and service. Although policy advocacy can be an incredibly powerful tool for creating large-scale social change, many nonprofits shy away from it.

Create a virtuous cycle. Some of the reasons for their hesitation include the fact that advocacy is difficult to manage and requires different organizational skills than those needed to provide direct services. In addition, it is challenging to measure results of advocacy efforts. However, the authors discovered that simultaneously doing both creates a virtuous cycle. Instead of causing the organization to lose focus or lessening its impact, engaging in both service and advocacy can create an impact that is greater than the sum of its parts. It is no surprise, then, that all the organizations in the book have engaged in both.

Here are three ways to bridge the divide...

Read more at the Page to Practice blog.

Tags:  advocacy  CausePlanet  civic engagement  Heather Grant  Page to Practice  public policy 

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Don't be a Financial Statistic!

Posted By Erica Crenshaw, Execute Now!, Thursday, March 29, 2012

A new post at the LANO member blog Finance Fundamentals points to some alarming statistics about the business acumen and money savvy of nonprofit leaders.

The [Indiana University] survey revealed a disconnect between the leaders' perceived level of financial knowledge and what they actually knew: Of the financial literacy questions asked of over 500 leaders, only 36% were able to answer all three questions correctly; however 76% of the respondents considered themselves to be knowledgeable in financial principles and concepts.

We shouldn't be as surprised by that finding as by respondents' stated priorities, objectives, board involvement, and the reported cash levels of nonprofits with up to $5M in revenue. Those findings were surprising indeed...

Learn what we found so surprising and troublesome. And then learn how to keep your organization from being yet another sad statistic!

Click here to read the full post.



Does your organization need strategic financial leadership? Contact Execute Now! at 877-504-0954to find out how we help nonprofits develop, analyze, and monitor forward-looking financial goals. Execute Now! is a LANO member benefit provider, a proud Corporate Member and the preferred provider of outsourced financial management expertise.

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Deadline Nears for SENO Social Venture Accelerator Applications

Posted By Andrea Chen, Propeller: A Force for Social Innovation, Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Social entrepreneurs play a tremendous and critical role in solving New Orleans's biggest challenges.

Apply NOW for the SENO Social Venture Accelerator, which helps early-stage ventures become operational, reach financial sustainability, and meet social impact targets through hands-on support.


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Oyster Jubilation!

Posted By Gerald Duhon, Reconcile New Orleans, Inc., Sunday, March 25, 2012

What do you get when you add 5,500 Louisiana Oysters to 340 feet of fresh French bread? The Longest Oyster Po-Boy, of course!

On March 10th, Cafe Reconcile headed to the French Quarter for the 6th Annual Louisiana Oyster Jubilee festival of food and music.

Chefs from all over New Orleans united to celebrate Louisiana Oysters by creating the largest oyster po-boy in history.

Our General Manager, James Zelaya, was there with past graduate and current Floor Trainer, Ryan, to represent Cafe Reconcile. James created an incredible "Oysters Gone Baja" po-boy as a tribute to his favorite fish taco recipe. James folded a trio of peppers aji panca, ancho & chipotle, citrus, garlic, cilantro and flat leaf parsley into a house made Aioli of caramelized shallots, smoked tomatoes, and spices to create the instant favorite.

What a way to showcase local Louisiana oysters!

[Read our full March Newsletter here!] 

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Academic Institutions Now Eligible for LANO Membership

Posted By Matthew Mullenix, Louisiana Association of Nonprofit Organizations, Thursday, March 22, 2012

In response to growing interest in partnerships between academic institutions, nonprofits and community volunteers, LANO is offering a new membership category that makes available all our continuing education and networking opportunities, career building tools, and event and service discounts to academic institutions statewide.

LANO has long offered a low-cost ($25) Student membership that confers full benefits and networking access to enrolled students.

The new Academic Institution category now allows school faculty and staff to save thousands of dollars on individual memberships by joining as a group under one affordable institution membership fee of $250 annually.

Academic Institutions (and all General and Associate LANO Members) have access to:

Download PDF detailing LANO's network benefits

Interested to learn more? Contact Matt Mullenix or Glinda Causey at 225.929.5266or visit

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Webinar: Get the best leadership and fundraising results from your board

Posted By Denise McMahan, CausePlanet, Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Did you know that respect for your organization's leadership is among the top factors affecting where major donors decide to make their gifts?

Help your organization succeed with the ultimate board.

International board development and organizational management expert, Kay Grace, joins CausePlanet for a lively interview to help you:

• Discover what kind of board members you need to operate at maximum effectiveness.

• Find out what the core attributes are of fundraising boards.

• Learn from the author's "real world” experiences in all aspects of board performance--from how to de-enlist members to effective recruiting.

• Ensure that all members—novice and veteran alike—are "on the same page” with respect to roles and responsibilities.

Date:Tue, Apr 17, 2012
Time:11:00 AM CDT

Don't miss this terrific opportunity to ask expert and author of The Ultimate Board Member's Book about board fundraising and performance.


Tags:  board  fundraising  leadership 

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Is your nonprofit running like a business?

Posted By Erica Crenshaw, Execute Now!, Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Funders often want nonprofits to operate more like businesses. Aspiring grantees are often accused of having lofty goals but no solid plan backed by financial realities.

"Where's your business model?" they may ask.

Nonprofits, for their part, are often underfunded and can't afford to keep senior or other highly-qualified employees who can run the organization in a businesslike manner. The problem remains cyclical; therefore, solutions are rarely reached.

Absolute transparency is something else funders say is lacking when nonprofits ask for a specific grant or donation amount. The need for the funding is explicitly communicated, but exactly how the dollars will be spent is not so clearly expressed.

There's a reason for this....  [Click to read more at Finance Fundamentals]

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Nonprofit Fundraiser as Entreprenuer

Posted By Connect for a Cause, LLC, Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Greetings fellow LANO Members and Friends!

I'm pleased to introduce to you Connect for a Cause, a new LANO member and (we hope!) a new and vital resource to you.

We are a Louisiana startup company whose goal is to help nonprofits raise money and awareness while connecting people who might otherwise not have the opportunity to meet.  It's networking with a net gain.


LANO's Vice President for Public Relations, Matt Mullenix says: "Connect for a Cause fills a niche so new you may not know it exists.  Nonprofit board members are often high-profile community leaders, influential and much in demand as networking contacts. Here's a way to harness that power directly to the benefit of the nonprofits they support."

If your Board of Directors needs an easy way to help your organization raise money, here's how it works:

The process begins with nonprofits asking their top executives, Board members and VIP supporters to donate an hour of time to participate in a lunch meeting (their choice of time and place). The executive's bio is then listed on, where the public can register and place a bid on that meeting.

The high bidder wins the auction and gets to take your VIP to lunch---a great way for them to pitch a new product or partnership, or just angle for a job. The higher the winning bid, the more money goes to the sponsoring nonprofit. It's a fun and easy way to fund-raise for your organization, and Connect for a Cause is proud to make it a reality.

Roll the commercial!



Our new service will be launching at the end of March, 2012, and I want to invite Louisiana nonprofits and LANO members to learn more about our company by visiting or find us on Facebook at

We look forward to hearing from you!

-Jason Nicosia, CEO/Founder- Connect for a Cause

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Adoption Awareness Conference

Posted By Katherine Stiel, St. Elizabeth Foundation, Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Want to learn more about adoption awareness? Need CEU's? Come check out this great opportunity to both, while promoting adoption as a positive option in the Baton Rouge community.

The conference, to be held on Friday, March 23, 2012, will offer 6.5 Continuing Education Unit’s by the Louisiana State Board of Social Workers.

The seminar is designed as an educational community outreach program for professionals and lay persons interested in adoption.  The conference is sponsored by St. Elizabeth Foundation, a local, full-service adoption agency, and will introduce an overview of adoption- how adoption has changed over the years, where it is now and why it is important to look at again.

St. Elizabeth Foundation is a local, nonprofit organization based in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, licensed by the Department of Children and Family Services. The conference will include expert training in all areas of adoption. Among these nationally recognized speakers are Professor of Law, Robert Destro and Licensed Clinical Social Worker Robin Marerro.

WHAT: Nationally acclaimed speakers will cover all aspects surrounding adoption. Among the conference topics are "Understanding the Adoption Process,” "Questions Adolescents have about Adoption,” and "Pregnancy Counselors and Adoption.” The LSB of Social Workers has approved 6.5 CEU’s and 6 LLPC CEU’s for the seminar. The seminar is $35/person and free for students.

WHEN: Friday March, 23 from 8:30 am – 4 pm

WHERE: LOD Cook Conference Center, 3838 West Lakeshore Drive, Baton Rouge, LA.

Tags:  advocacy  Baton Rouge  cause marketing  civic engagement  Community Foundations  community leaders  culture  education  education reform  events  Health  lano  leadership  louisiana  New Orleans  non-profits  parents  public  services  special offer  Volunteer 

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Advocacy: Begin with an approach that fits your nonprofit

Posted By Denise McMahan, CausePlanet, Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Engaging in advocacy is one of the most effective ways for your nonprofit to achieve its mission. By augmenting the services and programs you provide with an active voice for change, you can meet the need while working to affect the systems creating the need. Although it can seem daunting, advocacy programs complement and enhance the work you already accomplish. There is a range of ways for your nonprofit to create change in your community or state. When deciding which advocacy strategy is the best fit for your organization, consider these three approaches as a starting place...Read more 


This article is the second in a series on legislative relations and offers relevant Page to Practice™book summaries and articles at the end. Click here for the first article.

Tags:  advocacy  legistative relations  lobby  voter engagement 

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