December 1, 2020
IndyFringe’s retiring CEO leaves behind a case study on how to put an arts organization on solid ground
by Shari Finnell, editor, Not for Profit News
After more than 15 years at the helm of the IndyFringe, an annual theater arts festival, Pauline Moffat decided it was time to activate a succession plan — identifying and hiring her replacement as CEO. While Moffat had already given some consideration to this phase in IndyFringe’s development previously, the events of 2020 — a global pandemic and racial injustice protests — triggered a more serious look at the development and implementation of a succession plan, she recalled. 

“The world is changing,” Moffat said. “It reminded me of my duty. We did not have a succession plan in place to take IndyFringe through the next 10 years. I knew it was time for us to start seriously thinking about it.”

As Moffat spends her final few weeks at IndyFringe — assisting its new CEO, Justin Brady, with strategic planning — she leaves behind a case study of how to transform a fledgling street festival into a vibrant arts organization with two theaters, zero debt, an active army of supporters and committed sponsors. 

When she took on the roles as IndyFringe’s co-founder and leading executive in 2005, Moffat knew little about Indianapolis and the business of running an arts festival. “I didn’t come from an arts background,” said Moffat, a marketing professional who had just moved from Australia at the time. 

Setting the foundation through a fundraising education

Moffat determined that a formal education in fundraising was a good place to start. She had already heard about the reputation of the Indiana University School of Philanthropy. “One of my major clients told me that the IU Fundraising School is the best in the world,” she recalled. “That piqued my interest because there is nothing like it in Australia.”

The courses didn’t disappoint, said Moffat, who considers them foundational for anyone operating as a leader in the nonprofit industry. Moffat initially took one course and, as she faced new milestones as CEO, she enrolled in additional courses that aligned with the leadership’s goals at the time — from strategic planning to successfully managing capital campaigns.

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Stakeholder feedback takes the guesswork out of decision-making
by Hannah Gooding, consultant, Hedges

In our everyday lives, we constantly ask questions and use data to help us make better, smarter decisions. Can we say the same about decision making at our nonprofits? Think about your last staff or board meeting. What information did you have to inform your decisions? Maybe you were considering what expenses to cut due to COVID. What data did you have at your disposal? Budgets alone can’t tell you what programs are the most impactful to those you serve, why your donor retention is going down, or what inefficiencies are causing bottlenecks for your team. To get that information, you need real-time feedback. 

Why feedback is a game changer. 

According to a survey conducted by Stanford Social Innovation Review in 2019, 88 percent of nonprofit leaders prioritize gathering client feedback while only 13 percent use it as a “top source of insight for continuous improvement.” Two-thirds of organizations not collecting client feedback said their greatest barrier was limited staff time and/or resources, and 20 percent said collecting feedback was “too complicated” or “too expensive.” If these statements resonate with you, consider the following:

1. Collecting feedback will make your organization more efficient in the long run. Gathering feedback from the people you serve will not only make your programs more impactful, but make your service-delivery more efficient. You might learn families don’t need or want something you’ve been providing for years or would rather participate in your program virtually so you could cut food and transportation expenses while boosting engagement rates. Feedback data might help you recognize how different programs can be combined, pared down, or supported by volunteers. In addition, having satisfaction data direct from your participants will make your grant proposals more appealing and your impact reports more compelling. That’s right, collecting feedback can both lower your administrative expenses and increase your fundability. Win, win. 

EmployIndy has promoted Erika Seydel Cheney to vice president, K-12. Seydel Cheney previously served as the organizaton’s director, in-school youth at EmployIndy.
EmployIndy has promoted Betsy Revell to vice president, talent solutions. Revell previously served as the director of business partnerships at EmployIndy.
The Indiana University Foundation has promoted Joyce Rogers to interim executive vice president for development. Rogers previously served as vice president for development and external relations for diversity, equity, and multicultural affairs. — Inside Indiana Business
Joe Hale has been named president of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum. Hale most recently served as executive director of Massachusetts-based The Dreamland, a year-round nonprofit film and cultural center. — Inside Indiana Business
United Way of Central Indiana has awarded $1 million in grants from the Social Innovation Fund to 12 community-based organizations. The funds will be used to provide thousands of individuals and families with safe and affordable housing, access to healthy food, transportation and education; pathways to better-paying jobs; and improved physical, mental and behavioral health. See list of grantees

Little Red Door Cancer has raised $422,354 for underserved cancer patients in Central Indiana during its annual Face of Hope Breakfast. The event was streamed digitally on November 19. 

Simon Youth Foundation will name its Simon Youth Community Scholarship program as the Shari Simon Greenberg Community Scholarship Program of the Simon Youth Foundation in memory of its founding board member and vice chair. Read

A $500,000 gift to the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at IUPUI will be used to establish the Jerre Stead and Mary Joy Stead Policy Research and Outreach Fund. The funds will support research that will be shared throughout the philanthropic sector. Read

The Museum Store Association has established Museum Store Sunday as part of a marketing campaign to boost sales at museums during the shopping season. It will be held annually on the Sunday after Thanksgiving Day. Read
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