December 2013
Communications & public relations advice for nonprofits                                                                                                                                                                                                

  Brought to you by your friends at Anat Gerstein Inc.  

Happy Holidays and best wishes for the New Year.

We are very thankful for all our successes, opportunities, and friendships in 2013.

We hope that you too had a prosperous 2013. We wish you even more success in 2014.

All the best,
The Anat Gerstein Inc. Team
Anat, Jeff, Katrin, Zac, and Joanna
Lessons from the Nonprofit Excellence Awards


The 2013 Nonprofit Excellence Awards were recently handed out to three top New York City area nonprofits (see more below).


This year, Anat Gerstein joined the selection committee.  What follows is an adaptation of her post for the Awards' blog.  You can find the blog here.


The Children's Village won the 2013 NonProfit Excellence Awards Gold Prize


When the NonProfit Coordinating Committee's Michael Clarke recently pointed out that a Google search for "nonprofit management" identified over 6 million entries, I paused.  It pales in comparison to the 1.3 billion entries for "business management", but it is a much newer field.


As a matter of fact, it was only this past summer that three leading nonprofit "oversight" organizations - Guide Star, Charity Navigator, and BBB - loosened their recommended caps on what nonprofits should spend on "overhead" (a term that doesn't exist in the for-profit world - after all, you can't create the next smartphone without investing heavily in Research and Development).


This latest move sends a signal to donors and supporters that we no longer have to prescribe how much nonprofits should spend on various departments - like communications. It's also an affirmation of the fact that individual nonprofits are capable of making the right financial and management decisions that are mission driven and in the best interests of the people they serve.


The Nonprofit Excellence Awards certainly bear this out.


Nonprofits with excellent management practices see the fruits of their efforts in the results - a greater positive impact on clients, increased and diversified fundraising, a more engaged board, stronger operational efficiencies, reduced costs (with saving plowed back into client services), happier and more committed staff, and more.


That's certainly true for this year's three winners - The Children's Village, CSH, and BronxWorks.


Strong communication practices are key to excellent management.  Here are a few practices that can be implemented by all organizations, regardless of size, mission or funding source.


1.    Have a plan.  Before the start of the year, develop even a simple plan that outlines your communications activities for the year (PR, social media, website updates, newsletters, fundraising communications, annual reports, etc.), prioritizing activities based on your goals.

2.    Seek communications outcomes that align with your organizational goals.  If you want to increase individual giving in the coming year, for example, identify what communications tactics (newsletters, annual reports, social media, board-driven communications, etc.) you will employ and what message you will consistently promote.

3.    Get everyone involved.  Even if you have a dedicated communications team, you should get other staff, board and surrogates involved.  Use them to amplify your message to a wider audience, or to help with particular communications activities, like getting your board chair to pen an op-ed, for example.

This Year's Nonprofit Excellence Awards Recognize...


A few weeks ago, we were proud to attend the seventh annual New York Community Trust-New YorkMagazine Nonprofit Excellence Awards presentation.  The awards were established to recognize and promote excellent management practices and encourage all nonprofits to take a close look at, and improve, their management practices.    


A 33-member judging committee - including Anat Gerstein - selected the

CSH is interviewed by Brian Lehrer during the awards presentation.

winners from an initial pool of 62. The selection committee chooses organizations based on excellence in eight areas of management: focus on results; governance structure; financial management; human resources; diversity and responsiveness; IT practices; communications; and fundraising. This year's winners are:

  • Gold Prize ($30,000 prize): The Children's Village (New York City, Long Island and the Hudson Valley) works in partnership with families to help society's most vulnerable children, so that they become educationally proficient, economically productive, and socially responsible members of their communities.
  • Silver Prize ($20,000 prize): CSH (Lower Manhattan) helps build housing that lets those most in need, the homeless and disabled, connect to homes, health care, jobs, and the community.
  • Bronze Prize ($10,000 prize): BronxWorks (Bronx) helps individuals and families in the Bronx improve their economic and social well-being through job skills training, homeless outreach, services for people with HIV/AIDS, preschools and summer camps, eviction prevention programs, and more.


Since the first Nonprofit Excellence Awards in 2007, over 550 nonprofit organizations have applied for the Awards, and 21 have been recognized for their management excellence. A list of past winners can be found here: 


NPCC created the Nonprofit Excellence Awards in 2007 and serves as the tax-exempt manager of the program, in collaboration with The New York Community Trust and Philanthropy New York. New York Magazine and WNYC co-sponsor the program, which is also supported by The Clark Foundation, Taconic Foundation, McGladrey LLP, the Fund for the City of New YorkPrograms in Social Enterprise in Executive Education at Columbia Business School, and Ford Foundation.

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