eNews     |     Nonprofit Quarterly     |    Winter  2016
Dear Friends and Colleagues,
The types of clients we work with seem to come in cycles.  We will do searches or development program assessments for several performing arts groups one year, and the next help education providers and human services organizations with foundation relations or talent recruitment. 

Recently, we have worked with several newer, and extremely entrepreneurial groups--founder driven, highly successful and incredibly nimble and creative.  Below read about two of these: Shine On Sierra Leone and Lipstick Angels

We have also given some tips for the nonprofit job market--some do's and don'ts for candidates and employers!

Here's to a successful 2016!
Warmest regards,

Vision, Passion and Creativity: 
The Way a New Generation of Non Profit Leaders are enhancing the sector and shaping the world.
MW&A is working with innovative leaders to change the way we all look at fundraising and partnerships! 
Take a new idea, a savvy founder and some high profile partnerships and the result is an inspired nonprofit minus the baggage of "that's not the way it's been done in the past." Two prime examples of this model: MW&A clients
Shine On Sierra Leone (SOSL) and Lipstick Angels. With guidance from MW&A, groundbreaking founders Tiffany Persons and Renata Helfman (respectively) are devising innovative funding practices intuitive to their personal values and honoring their vision while still conforming to the requirements of nonprofit status. This combination of MW&A's knowledge of the non-profit sector matched with business innovators makes for a dynamic partnership.  

In her first foray into the non-profit world, Tiffany Persons, (pictured right) the owner of a successful commercial casting agency, discovered that traditional fund development methods diverted her attention from implementing SOSL's programs. MW&A helped Tiffany adapt her entrepreneurial style to the nonprofit world, capitalizing on her unique skills and expertise. The approach works. SOSL will soon open their second school in a country torn by civil war, poverty and a devastating Ebola crisis, providing a safe haven for the children and promise for their future.

"Michelle has always highlighted the importance of diversifying funding. Nonprofits can raise and secure their economic funding without relying solely on donors and grants. We are now finding more sustainable, more creative, more reliable and more inspiring funding sources."

A perfect example of this - SOSL is one of three African-based beneficiaries of Cash and Rocket, a UK based charity founded in 2011 by Julie Brangstrup. Annually, Cash and Rocket invites 70 of the world's most fascinating and influential women to embark on a luxury car rally from London to Cannes, raising millions. Cash and Rocket funds are primarily allocated to building a new school and running the existing school - proving a free and innovative education in the Kono region. But most prized is the fact that it allowed SOSL to divert funds directly to a comprehensive and robust Ebola response effort that left the community virus-free--even while in the center of the Ebola infected hot zone.

"Because we are a smaller grassroots organization, Julie and her team are able to see the direct results of their investment. "

SOSL also has a growing source of revenue through a micro-enterprise model of on-line sales featuring products from Sierra Leone artisans. Funds are raised and the artisans receive support as they work to stabilize their own economy, furthering the SOSL mission.

Like Tiffany, Lipstick Angels founder Renata Helfman (pictured below) came to the nonprofit world from the business sector. After 15 years as a celebrity makeup artist, she opened a business bringing natural cosmetic products to the general public. Her passion for chemical free products and the benefits they bring to both mind and body led Renata to volunteer at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles offering beauty therapy to cancer patients. It was due to this experience that Lipstick Angels was conceived!

She initially turned to MW&A to help guide her young organization through the grant development process.With several successful funding efforts underway, expansion is on the horizon as MW&A continues to consult with Renata on entering the Orange County hospital space.  For Renata, whose professional trailblazing tendencies are proving effective in the nonprofit sector, using her industry connections and developing contractual support from the hospitals  was part of the strategic plan from day one.

"We provide valuable services to patients' well-being. With skin in the game, our hospitals share responsibility and ownership," said Renata. "Funding is just one part of the partnership, making it more than a simple donation."

Renata and her Angels anticipate stellar results from another new partnership resulting from a long-standing relationship. "I'm a firm believer that things happen for a reason. When Shashi Batra, one of the founding members of Sephora (the mega cosmetic store chain), created Credo Beauty (think organic Sephora!) they had heard about Lipstick Angels.   We now we have a mutually beneficial partnership. Lipstick Angels receives one percent of Credo sales. In turn they are supporting a cause they believe in."

MW&A takes pride in working alongside these two trendsetting founders, combining our nonprofit expertise with their business acumen.

"Nonprofits are businesses that happen to do the most wonderful things with the money we make," said Renata. "Why shouldn't we get paid and be smart about the way we make money. To make it work you need to find good partners, be courageous and creative!"

MW&A New Clients & New Projects
Development Assessment and Executive Search: Executive Director 

Executive Search: Vice President of Development
Executive Search: Senior Vice President of Philanthropy
Executive Search: Chief Development Officer
Executive Search: Director of Development
Executive Search: Director of Development

MW&A procured the following grants between October and December 2015.
Caterina's Club:  
S. Mark Taper Foundation

$111,000 Fresh Produce and Floral Council 

$5,000 3M Foundation

Lipstick Angels:

$7,500 Leo Buscaglia Foundation 
THE GOOD HIRE: Tips For Candidates and Nonprofits!
During 12 years of searching for the best non-profit professionals for my clients, I've seen candidates make some  unbelievable mistakes. I have also watched nonprofits miss out on the best talent by not being prepared for smart professionals. Both can increase the odds for exceptional results by keeping these points in mind.

Candidates: What We Look For

Numbers! Numbers!
Red flags go up when a nonprofit executive or fundraiser promotes, for instance, a 500% growth in contributed revenue. A candidate should show hard numbers. If you led a year-end appeal that grew from $150,000 to $500,000 from 2014 to 2015, show me the money! Percentages make unimpressive results often sound extraordinary, but the real numbers are what matter.
Present Your Resume In A Simple Format
Send your application packet in simple PDF format. Flaunting your knowledge of the latest file formatting is just annoying, and the files are often incompatible with browsers.       

Your Cover Letter Should Set You Apart
The cover letter is your chance to shine! Highlight the experience that makes you a trailblazer in your field. Give solid examples of innovation with results. And customize each letter - be sure you connect your skills to this job in particular.
Nonprofits: Know What You Should Know
Smart Candidates Will Do Their Homework
Sharp candidates will read up; have answers ready for their questions. If your financials are less than stellar, show why. If your organization does not show a healthy reserve fund or endowment, give a reason. Explain why you've had a high turnover of executive or development directors before they ask.
Be Realistic 
Expecting financial and organizational miracles will always lead to disappointment. Detail what you want in a clear and concise position profile. Be sure your expectations include realistic financial and leadership
targets in a set time period.
Hire A Professional
A third-party view of your hiring needs provides a unique perspective to assessing your organizational structure before you set out to fill a new position. Consider consulting a professional to help think through job responsibilities, craft a position profile and manage the search process. You'll get better results with less investment of your valuable time.
After completing over 70 successful searches throughout the country, MW&A is often the first search firm an organization has ever engaged. Nonprofits experience some trepidation in turning to outside help but, in the end, the benefits are clear. An investment in the hiring process is money well spent when the result is a perfect match!