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Helping Organizations Thrive 

January 2010 Edition

Welcome to the second edition of my email newsletter.  For those of you who didn't catch the first one, I launched Jonathan Poisner Strategic Consulting in November after more than a dozen years at the Oregon League of Conservation Voters.  My goal is to help progressive organizations thrive, particularly when it comes to strategic planning, coalition building, fundraising, and communications.

To keep people informed about the business, I set up this monthly e-newsletter.  If you want to unsubscribe, just look for the link at the bottom.  The first edition is available online. 

If you want to skip ahead and check out my website, be my guest.
What Works

Each edition of this newsletter contains a section I call "What Works." 

This month I want to talk about the link between your accounting system and board fundraising. 

When most organizations design their accounting system, board fundraising isn't at the front of their mind.

Yet, your accounting will drive how financial information is presented to the board and that, in turn, can impact board fundraising.


One of the keys to board fundraising is accountability.  The board needs to be accountable to each other at the individual level.  Many well-functioning organizations take this step by providing each board member a yearly update of how they did, and the board chair is used to deliver that news and prod poorly performing board members to do better. 

But beyond individual accountability, you need collective accountability - the board should have an overall goal (the sum of individual goals) and it needs to be held accountable for meeting it.

There is no better way to create this ethic of accountability than to embed the numbers into the financial statements - something you'll be showing your board repeatedly over the course of the year.

That means the budget you draft should include a specific overall goal for board gifts/fundraisings and the board should have its attention drawn to that number and specifically discuss if it's appropriate as part of adopting the budget.   By voting on it collectively, and creating a team pressure to reach the overall goal, you create accountability.    

There are, of course, many other ways your budget and accounting system creates feedback loops that influence your success as an organization.  If your organization needs an outsider to look at your budget and accounting system to advise you on potential changes that would match up with your strategic goals, give me a call.

December Success Stories

My biggest December success: Suzan and I eloped!  And she said "I do" when it came to that point in the wedding ceremony!

On the business front, I was hired by the League of Conservation Voters and LCV Education Fund to create new editions of two manuals: How to Start a State LCV and How to Run a State LCV.  Not sure when final editions will be released to State LCVs, but I expect State LCVers to be glued to their computer screens when they first get the opportunity to read them.

Writing these was a great way of reviewing the wide variety of skill-sets necessary to run a State LCV, or any medium to small sized nonprofit organization for that matter.
New Service for Candidates

While my focus remains helping nonprofit organizations thrive, I can't entirely resist the siren call of the 2010 elections.  I've created a specialized fundraising consulting and training package for candidates.  This is a 16-hour block of assistance designed for what I think of as mid-tier candidates -- those in races where spending between $40,000 and $100,000 will make you competitive.  (Larger campaigns than that deserve more time than I could reasonably commit at this point).

Read about the package and feel free to forward to anybody you feel would be interested.

Contact Information
Jonathan Poisner Strategic Consulting
phone: 503-490-1234
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