Center for Nonprofit Management – Opus Magnum
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Center for Nonprofit Management

Centers, Newsroom, OCB Commentary

Is Overhead the best KPI for Nonprofits?

Recently, on the Twin Cities blog, Leadership and Community, Janine Fugate shared some thoughts on how we look at nonprofit business. She mentioned a TEDTalk by Dan Pallotta, “The way we think about charity is dead wrong.” We asked Ann Johnson, director of UST’s Center for Nonprofit Management to share her thoughts on the topic.

Fugate wrote: I hope there will be greater awareness of what it actually takes to run a nonprofit organization and the importance of funding a nonprofit organization’s “overhead”. I believe this is critical to helping our donors and supporters shift their measurement focus from financial efficiency measures alone to overall organizational impact and social change.

The restrictions nonprofits must follow to raise funds and the (arbitrarily) set percentage for “reasonable” operating costs, are prohibitive. Any one metric used to assess a comprehensive value proposition for nonprofit impact would be an over simplification. Even in the business sector, ROI isn’t the only metric use to measure success. As “conscientious capitalism” continues to evolve, social responsibility is being measured in terms of profit and purpose and consumers are much more actively engaged in and using their purchase power to make decisions that include both. Continue Reading

Ethics, FTMBA, leadership, Newsroom, Student Life

Project HMC – an MBA Student’s Journey to Uganda

Visiting the Kasubi Hope Medical Clinic

Visiting the Kasubi Hope Medical Clinic

Two Full-time UST MBA students recently returned from a J-term Study Abroad trip to Uganda. Not your typical MBA study abroad experience, we wanted to share with Opus Magnum readers some of the experience, from their Project HMC blog.

Why, exactly, we are going to Africa (a question we have been asked many-a-times), started this way.

A series of fabulous opportunities and support from great people at the University of St. Thomas joined forces to start the ball rolling on this project:

  1. Two 2nd year MBA students went to Mali, Africa last year during January on a grant, but when the grant ran out, so did the possibility for another trip this year… or so we thought
  2. Students had been working on projects for a medical clinic in Africa through Net Impact, a local chapter of a national MBA organization
  3. Faculty and staff at UST are extremely supportive of student initiatives, all it takes is initiative–and lots of meetings.

With these three pieces of information under our belt, Sean and I began navigating how we could go to Uganda to work with Hope Medical Clinics. With the tremendous support of our “champion” Ann Johnson, Director of the UST Center for Nonprofit Management, we set up an independent study class, found a faculty advisor, applied for grants, secured some funding, and planned the project and trip.

After many iterations of what would be most helpful to the clinics at this time, we settled on compiling a situation analysis of the clinics addressing some of the key challenges they are facing. Upon our return we will work with the Hope Medical Clinics board of directors and a group of executive MBA students to create a strategic plan addressing HMC’s goal of expanding from 2 clinics to their goal of 400. During our time in Uganda, Sean, Ann, and I will observe, interview, inquire about, and analyze many aspects of the clinics. We will also attempt to better understand the cultural implications on running a nonprofit and how that should impact the strategic plan.

The content above is from before the team left the U.S. What follows are some impressions on their work with the clinic:

Throughout our two weeks, we spent quite a few days at the Kasubi clinic, and one day at the rural Ndejje clinic. We conducted 1 on 1 interviews with staff and led a marathon brainstorm at the Kasubi clinic. There were so many cultural implications on the way the clinics operate, that I felt the time we spent with families and going around Kampala was extremely useful to any recommendations we could make.

We concluded our time in Uganda by compiling a situation analysis of all aspects of the clinic & the environment in which it operates. We narrowed down to 4 areas of recommendation, and promised a lot of deliverables we now need to create!

Kudos to Charles and his staff for their great work. After visiting the free government clinic and a private clinic in the area, we truly understood the need for Hope Medical Clinics Uganda & hope we can help them continue to provide their services and expand to improvehealthcare standards across Uganda!

It is great to see the reach of the UST MBA, moving beyond “typical” business cases and into real-world challenges like this.

Centers, Newsroom

Center for Nonprofit Management to host NGO leaders from Kazakhstan

Cross posted from the Bulletin today.

A delegation of four visitors who are leaders in nongovernmental organizations in Kazakhstan will visit St. Thomas’ Center for Nonprofit Management in the Opus College of Business. The visitors will discuss leadership and NGO management with the center’s director Ann Johnson on Monday, March 29.

They were invited to the United States by the International Visitor Leadership Program, a national initiative facilitated in Minnesota by the Minnesota International Center. Continue Reading