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" Why should I hire a consultant when everything I need to know can be found online?"

Nonprofit leaders, especially founders, are people with great initiative. They see a problem, gather information, and then go after it. So has an executive director's become easier as a result of all the online information on nonprofit management right at their fingertips?

We live in an information-rich age. But information alone is not enough. The most common and complex challenges involve motivating and managing other people. To find those answers, it's information, yes, but also thought partnership, empathy and peer support that can lead a talented leader to find their own solutions to their organization's most entrenched issues.
No Cookie Cutters Here

Consultants are notorious for responding to questions with "that depends." The advice they offer often highlights the difference between looking up information on the Internet and working in a room of peers with an expert facilitator. "That depends" is another way of saying, "let's get past the theory and delve into the nuances of your specific situation."

The Internet can't do that.

A consultant training your board enters into a dialogue in which board members feel heard, not lectured to. Board members become active participants - asking questions, sharing doubts, absorbing insights from others. A good trainer creates a safer environment in which to express concerns which, if not voiced, can often stand in the way of board members' full-throated participation in governance.

And the resulting decisions and commitments to action - whether a new policy on committee membership, or  a detailed plan to raise the bar on board fundraising - come organically through the group's facilitated discussion, rather than simply copying what the Internet says is the correct way to proceed.
The Message? - "This Matters"

Hiring an experienced trainer states, loud and clear, that the board's engagement on key issues is an organizational priority, and makes it much more likely that they will pay attention and follow through on their commitments.

An Executive Director recently shared a tale of woe about how she had done hours of research on best practices in governance, curated the most relevant and valuable information, and then presented it to her board. The meeting fell flat, and nothing changed. That's because, unlike a professional who has worked with perhaps hundreds of groups over years, the Internet is not a trusted messenger. The voice of the consultant as an independent third party adds credibility, even to ideas that an executive director may have been articulating for years. 
A Social Contract

The time spent in live training strengthens relationships, whether it's with fellow board members or peers from other organizations. Being in a live training turns the absorption of information from an individual responsibility into a social contract. We each agree to try to live up to these responsibilities as best we can - and by doing so in a group setting, we are agreeing with each other to do our best, and promising not to let each other down. Added to your consultant's mechanisms for holding yourselves accountable, these are powerful incentives to ensure lasting change.

The internet is great for ideas. But the next time you really need to move the needle, consider a deeper investment. In a group training, with an experienced live facilitator, you can create a team - with all the group identification, camaraderie and social connection pushing the group towards higher performance.
Cause Effective's Coach on Call Program

Registration is now open for Cause Effective's highly effective Coach on Call program - an annual consulting support package that provides you with a year-round direct line to a senior Cause Effective consultant. Imagine having an experienced and empathetic ear as your own personal thought partner and trusted sounding board whenever you have a fundraising or governance concern!

At least once a month, you will work on practical steps to reach key fundraising and governance goals, brainstorm solutions, and prioritize monthly action plans. Together, you and your coach can address those important but not urgent priorities that are so often ignored.

According to Bob Lederer, Executive Director of Physicians for a National Health Program - New York Metro Chapter: "Cause Effective's Coach on Call program has been invaluable in enabling our organization to ramp up its fundraising strategy and tactics. Cause Effective's board training in one-on-one fundraising and relationship-building, along with their advice on e-blasts, phone banking, end-of-year appeals, and our annual gala, has really helped us improve our results."

Executive directors, directors of development, and board members all agree - Coach on Call is a simple but vital way to up their game and get ongoing guidance and support. Click HERE to see how nonprofit professionals have used Coach on Call for professional and organizational growth, and give us a call!  
Cause Effective Can Help

As a nonprofit ourselves, we're committed to helping nonprofits throughout the sector break through to new fundraising and governance solutions. Contact us - we'd be happy to brainstorm with you how to build a customized path to enhanced board and staff performance. 

Judy
  
Judy Levine
Executive Director  
Cause Effective Around Town
Workshops, Retreats, Blog posts...and more! 
Cause Effective Workshop:
Making the Most of Milestone Anniversaries - A Readiness Assessment

Milestone anniversaries provide abundant opportunities to leverage this strategic moment to help your organization achieve long-lasting change. From our years of helping organizations, large and small, run anniversary campaigns, Cause Effective has learned the vital importance of pre-anniversary preparation - to create an anniversary runway before the great take-off can begin.

Join Cause Effective Senior Associates Cynthia Reddrick and Susan Gabriel to review those essential elements, conduct an assessment of your nonprofit and create your own Anniversary Readiness Checklist to chart a plan for success. From setting the right goals, creating a compelling case, engaging the board, and readying donors for the "transformational ask" - the checklist is an indispensable tool for anniversary success. Join us to ensure that you and your team have the elements in place so that the "leap" you make yields the results you hope for - not just this year - but for years to come.
Foundation Center Northeast
Tuesday, Jan. 22nd
10:00-11:30pm
S pecial Thanks to BNY Mellon

For support of Cause Effective's public workshop offerings
Cause Effective Retreats Create a Fundraising-Ready Board

Cause Effective's 30+ years of experience can be put to work helping your board develop new dynamism and purpose around fundraising.
Cause Effective does more than just facilitate your meeting - we will guide your board team to:

* Rekindle their passion for mission which led them to join the board

* Define respon sibilities so that board members govern, rather than manage

* Approach fundraising with imagination and energy

* Kick off a new, action-oriented board fundraising plan that gets results

Read more about Cause Effective retreats and contact consulting@causeeffective.org to discuss a customized retreat to meet your board's needs. 
From the Cause Effective Blog: 
Glass One-Third Full: The Value of Social Donors

Put a group of fundraisers in a room and there's likely to be some griping about how difficult it is to raise money, especially in these times. The political climate is diverting from our mission. Giving Tuesday has become diluted. Everybody has their gala at the same time every year. Yadda yadda yadda.

Inevitably, the question is raised: is the return on investment even worth it? 
[Read more]
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For over 35 years, Cause Effective has strengthened the nonprofit sector by increasing the capacity of more than 5,000 nonprofits to build sustainable communities of supporters. We transform people, culture and systems, coaching nonprofits to learn, carry out and sustain new approaches to fundraising and board engagement.

To learn more, please visit www.causeeffective.org.