Archive for the ‘nonprofit’ Category

“I will utterly consume everything

From the face of the land,”

Says the Lord;

“I will consume man and beast;

I will consume the birds of the heavens,

The fish of the sea,

And the stumbling blocks along with the wicked.

I will cut off man from the face of the land,”

Says the Lord.

-Zephaniah 1:2-3 (NKJV)

Consider yourself warned.  God will have a day of reckoning.  he prophets spoke of it.  In particular, Zephaniah spoke explicitly about it.  It would be the type of day that no one would want to see in their lifetime.

Think you have had a bad day? That’s nothing like what will happen when this day comes about.  The Lord will not be slow to anger on that day.  He will set forth His wrath like it has never been unleashed before.

Take care of business, brothers and sisters.  Know that how you manage your business affairs is part of how you reflect God in your daily life to others, especially those who are not of the faith.

  • Are you viewed as shrewd and crafty, ready to cut costs at the expense of the livelihood of your employees and vendors?
  • Do you readily examine the bottom line or the heart of the matter when making decisions?
  • Do you pray over your business decisions and seek godly counsel from other Christian business men and women?

Consider how you handle your business.  Others are watching you.  Others take into account that you say that you are a Christian.  God is watching.  God will not always be waiting.  One day, and we we do not know when, God is going to call us on what we have done and what we haven’t done as His children.

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Commit your works to Lord,
And your thoughts will be established.
-Proverbs 16:3

A man’s heart plans his way,
But the Lord directs his steps.
– Proverbs 16:9

I don’t care if it’s a business or a ministry, even a small group or just some friends getting together to do some good work within the community, you need to start from your heart.  That’s where you get the commitment that you will need to endure any such work.  It will have to come from deep within you.  It will have to start in and come from the heart.

The Bible says so in Proverbs as we see in the verses above.  It comes up in other places in both the Old Testament and New Testament.  Don’t get it wrong.  The Bible is certain to cover such a matter as this due to its importance to success of any such venture in faith.  After all, the Lord’s name is on the line any time that we step out there with the blood of Jesus Christ covering us.  Other folks are looking.

Other writers have shared the importance of a leader having a heart for his or her work.  Check out how Ken Blanchard and John Maxwell deal with matters of the heart.  Steve Marr used Proverbs to publish a daily devotional for business professionals called Business Proverbs.

No matter how much you may try to rationalize otherwise, if your heart isn’t in it, you can bet the rest of you isn’t too into it either. Get your heart into it or get out of it. 
God doesn’t want you giving Him a half-hearted effort.  What He did that towards us? Would we praise Him with our whole hearts still? Would we still sing songs of Zion to His glory? Think on that.

Get your heart into before you even get started.  Let God have your best by putting your whole heart into it.  He has already give you His best in Jesus Christ.  Go on and get your heart into whatever you will do in His name.

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According to 2008 U.S. statistical data from the American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS), 34,169 people claimed “no religion.” That includes atheists and humanists.  That is almost 5,000 more people than in 2001.  In 2008, according to the same survey, over 173,000 people identified themselves as “Christian.” That’s over 13,000 more than in 2001.
Obviously, Christianity grew and expanded during this period.  That sounds good.  However, the adult population surveyed increased by approximately 20,000 during this period.  We gained 13,000 and the “no religion” folks gained 5,000.  That means 2,000 people became Muslims, Jews or some other religion.  Or, the same 2,000 just did not dare claim any religion at all.  Either that or it is some mix between the two of them.

The world has its own standard.  It may not be one that we, as Christians, desire to follow but it exists.  It is alive and well within the world.  That’s suitable for those who do not know the Lord.  It works for those who live in the darkness of unbelief.

It doesn’t work well for Christians.

For us, things are just a little different.  We answer to a higher calling in Christ Jesus, seeking to mature in Christ as we walk with Christ.  We are to live by a different standard than the world.

So what is this standard of living for Christians and where does it come from?

  • The Lord sets the standard.  He lays it out based upon His supreme reign over all things as the Creator, the Maker and Elohim.  He answers to no one.
  • The Lord shares the standard in the Scriptures.  Christians have the upper hand because we have been provided the play book.  We can read it.  We can reference it.  It is for our consumption.  The Lord gave it to us.
  • The Lord demonstrated the standard.  The Word became flesh.  He dwelt on earth and dealt with some serious troubles like being born to poor parents and living in a society where foreigners ruled over His people.  He showed us the standard and expects us to live up to the standard.
Live it up.  Live a life of influence that inspires others from interacting with you and your business.  Live up to Christ’s standards as you work, as you play golf and as you go to and fro.  Handle your business and live up the Lord’s standards.

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The following statistics are based on a BoardSource Report (2007):
  • Only 5% of nonprofits list fund raising as a “board strength”
  • Nearly 50% of nonprofit board members are 50-64 years old
  • 92% of boards have an external financial audit
  • 87% of nonprofit organizations made governance policy changes
  • 70% of surveyed nonprofits established a policy for board members to review the IRS Form 990

So where do you stand?
Do you even know?

The danger zone is not when you know that you are wrong.  The danger zone is when you do not know if you are wrong.  That’s where the real danger lies for any nonprofit board of directors.
You need to know your challenges to face your challenges.  If you do not know them, how do you plan on facing them? Use a proven assessment tool.  Work with nonprofit consultants or business development specialists/ analysts.

Get informed on what you need to get your board back on track.

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“The greatest self-delusion is the belief that the outlook for a product improves the more resources are poured into it.” – Peter Drucker, Managing for Results

Pet projects present a problem.  You can find yourself pouring good money after bad time after time.  You can lose your mind as you lose your shirt.  That can really shake up your ego, especially if your ego is tied into the project.

Drucker pointed out the failure of the Ford Edsel in Managing for Results.  He considered the automobile “the most publicized American product fiasco.” He shared the Edsel as an “investment in managerial ego” amid six other “problem children” mentioned within the eleven major categories of business products.  Forget the Edsel as poor example of American ingenuity.  Think of it as an endeavor in egotism.  Ford kept trying over and over again, but America was not buying the Edsel.

Imagine what would happen if the CEO decided to oversee a project that he felt intimately attached to despite the all of the analysis and findings by the research team.  What would become of the nonprofit that allowed its chairman of the board to serve as the lead on a youth mentoring project without ever having mentored a single soul? Think about how it would be if your pastor decided to run the culinary ministry when he could never manage to boil water without scalding himself.

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.” – Philippians 2:3 (NIV)
Ego can cause some real disasters.  It can get us into some territory where we do not belong at all.  Watch yourself before your ego leads you down the wrong road. 

Try reading some of the titles listed below to keep you on track with your goals:

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“Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour.” – Ecclesiastes 4:9 (KJV)

You can get more done when you partner with others.  Partnerships allow you to leverage your resources.  You come together and bring what you have to the table for a mutual benefit.  You make the most of what you both have to offer and make it work for the benefit of both of you.

Your best may be made better by adding with what someone else brings to the table.  You can gain market share.  You can limit expenses and overhead.  You can trim or cut costs, lowering your expenditures.  You can also gain exposure beyond your primary audience.  Additionally, you can build your brand’s reputation if you partner with a reputable partner.

For instance, if you have a youth arts project, you could partner with local youth-serving agencies.  Add to that partnership by coalescing the participation of a local arts council that supports such programs as a fiscal agent or media/ publicity sponsor.  The youth-serving agency provides the audience and the venue, while the arts council provides infrastructure and support for spreading the message about the program to the media and expanding press coverage for the program.  The arts projects gets to the youth and the media sheds light on the project because of who you have partnered with and what you are doing.

Think about the concept of partnership.  See how it can benefit you beyond simply sharing lessons learned and best practices.  Get connected with people who can propel you and your work beyond where you have already been.  Build better and bigger partnerships.

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Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. – Matthew 7:20 (KJV)

The world knows some things about Christians.  The world knows what they hear about Christians.  The world knows what Christians say about themselves and their beliefs.  The world knows when what we say and do fail to match up with one another.

Multiply that by one hundred when it is revealed that you are a Christian in business.

You can run a small business or run a faith-based nonprofit agency.  It doesn’t matter.  The world knows what the world knows.

  • Develop business practices that are in line with and based upon the Scriptures
  • Keep God’s Word as your daily guide; read Proverbs or Psalms daily
  • Evaluate your words and deeds by what the Lord says in His Word

Don’t forget that the world knows you by your fruits.

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“Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.” – Maya Angelou

In both business and ministry, you have some unique opportunities.  In business, you may have a training program, product or service that can be highlighted through publications or presentations.  The same may be the same with your ministry’s training or development tools, even sermons or Bible studies.  Do not overlook such opportunities.

Publish what you have to offer:

  • Books/ Workbooks
  • E-Books
  • E-zines/ E-Newsletters
  • Downloads
  • Podcasts/ MP3/ iTunes
  • Webcasts/ Video

Present what you have to offer:

  • Workshop/ Seminar Presentations
  • Keynote Speaking Engagements
  • Public Speaking with Industry or Sector Networks
  • Skype or Live Chat

Beyond the potential economic benefits, these provide your business or ministry with an opportunity to do some beneficial things such as:

  1. Expand audience beyond immediate or current audience
  2. Increase credibility in local and regional areas as well as in the online community
  3. Heighten the visibility of your business or ministry online and otherwise

The benefits of publishing and presenting far outweigh the drawbacks.  Develop a plan to schedule presentations to local groups via a letter of introduction and a brief brochure designed around what you have to offer.  I highly suggest that you research templates and samples from others in your industry in order to get some ideas of how to design and format such a brochure.  Another possibility would be to work with local students in a graphic design  or business marketing course.



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“We cannot become what we need by remaining what we are.”

Let me put some things in perspective for the would-be or wanna-be entrepreneur.  Simply put: talk is cheap.  You either need to put up or shut up. 
That being said, let me go a step further.  You need to have a plan and a strategy before you foolishly go full speed ahead with your small biz launch.  Think it through and get your ducks in the row.  However, you better get busy doing what you have to do. 
Remember: talk is cheap.
I chose the Maxwell quote because it strikes right at the heart of most start-up issues, particularly the barriers.  The biggest barrier is usually the person who is starting the organization or business. 
They know how to cook well, but they are satisfied baking cakes for the women’s auxiliary at church and the PTA’s annual bake sale fundraiser.  They have heart without drive.  They are in their own way much like the guy who can research and find every single thing from books and quotes to grants and special programs.  That type of person may be viewed as an asset to those who do not feel like paying for such a service, but he needs to get on and get into business for himself as a researcher and perhaps an evaluator if he wants to succeed.  Otherwise, he can sit back and keep getting stepped on and stepped over by others who will use him for nothing.

These are just examples of people full of potential.  They have the ability to do something special
that is of value to others, but they have yet to set out for success.  I urge you to read John Maxwell’s books on successMake Today Count and The Difference Maker are great books to start out with for potential entrepreneurs.  Also, I would recommend Your Road Map for Success as a jewel that will offer you some keys to staying the course on your journey.
I share this because my desire is for others to succeed- in business, in ministry, and in life.  That’s my hope and aspiration.  That’s why I post such items as this with others.  It weighs heavily on my heart that so many people have skills, experience and all sorts of talent, but they lack the drive or initiative to take the risk and make more out of their lives than simply sit and wait for an opportunity to come their way.
Below, I have added Maxwell’s “Seven Steps to Success.” I suggest that you truly stop wishing about starting and succeeding in business and start working towards success in business.  The key word in start-up is start.  Get started off the right way.
Seven Steps to Success

1) Make a commitment to grow daily.

2) Value the process more than events.

3) Don’t wait for inspiration.

4) Be willing to sacrifice pleasure for opportunity.

5) Dream big.

6) Plan your priorities.

7) Give up to go up.

― John C. Maxwell

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“You have to hold yourself accountable for everything – the good and the bad…There is no such thing as luck…Everything that happens (or doesn’t happen) in your business is the result of your work or lack thereof.”- Rob Cuesta, Extreme Business Coach
The People Called: The Growth of Community in the Bible with a New IntroductionIf you are running a start-up, you want growth.  If you are leading a project, you want to be able to say that the project demonstrated some form of accomplishment.  Pastors and ministry leaders are constantly trying to figure out if what they are doing on a regular basis is leading to growth within the church or the ministry.  When you go out into the field, you measure your calls versus your sells.  For evangelism, you measure your return on effort by the number of people you attract to a community event or the number of people who accept Christ at the event.  In business and ministry, we are constantly tracking activity.
The Difference Maker: Making Your Attitude Your Greatest Asset
The Minister's MBA: Essential Business Tools for Maximum Ministry SuccessThe Woman's Advantage: 20 Women Entrepreneurs Show You What It Takes to Grow Your BusinessGrowth is not something that is easily accomplished. There are some things that you can do to grow your business, and there are some things that you have to do in order to grow your business, too.  It depends on what you seek to grow and what it takes to grow.  Part of what helps one point towards growth is the ability to analyze historical data. Such an ability allows one to identify benchmarks and road blocks based upon historical performance.  No matter what direction things may go, whether up or down, such new data gets compared to previous data.  With your data in tow, you can make an honest and earnest appeal to your corporate stakeholders or your congregation members, even your core group of supporters and volunteers.
You demonstrate your growth with numbers.  Use percentages and ratios.  Compare recent years to past years.  Track and measure gradual changes.  We don’t always get that drastic change at the turn of a dime.  Keep track of trends as you go along the way.  Business Analytics for Managers: Taking Business Intelligence Beyond Reporting Build your own business reporting system or work from n established model. Speak to other professionals in your field who have more experience than you or who may have a vastly different experience from you.  Identify how to work on reaching your numbers and have a means or method for reporting your numbers.

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