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leadership and community

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, leadership, Newsroom, OCB Commentary

Defining Company Culture is Hype

 If you want to make your head spin, read the “company culture” definitions submitted on Wikipedia. The “experts” can’t agree on a definition.  Wikipedia even includes a “disclaimer” that the subject is subjective.  Company culture is difficult to define, and there is more than one definition.  However you define it, when an employee is asked about their company’s culture, organizations want the response to be positive since we are usually talking about the same thing – how we as individuals feel about and describe what it is like to work at our company.

Organizations often try to “define” their company culture.  The ones I most often see have some gobbledygook about “work hard, play hard” or “work/life balance” or “Customers are #1”.  Blah, blah, blah.  Most of these efforts are simply a marketing spin.  Lipstick on a pig.

Forget trying to define it.  I believe if you truly want your employees to feel positive about the culture three things are essential: elements, alignment and consistency. Continue Reading

Ethics, Newsroom, OCB Commentary, real estate

The Making of a Walmart Shopper

From Flickr user laurieofindy

I’m admitting something that may cause some of my friends to hate and shun me.  Others will try to change my mind, citing all the politically correct reasons why Walmart is evil incarnate.  I know I’ve crossed a line where some of you can’t and won’t follow.  But, in my little community – the southeastern-most section of Brooklyn Center – Walmart has become one of the places I frequent.

To be honest, the first time I wheeled into the new Walmart in Brooklyn Center this September, I wanted to hate it. Because it occupied the site of my former beloved Brookdale Mall. The working class version of Southdale, it of the famed animal-themed parking signs.

But, as I slowly explored the massive aisles and sections of the new Walmart superstore, it felt like I’d returned to my childhood. It brought to mind pleasant memories of the old Woolworth’s store at Brookdale and the Zayre Shopper’s City on Osseo Road (preceding Brooklyn Blvd.) and 63rd – places my sisters worked during high school. Continue Reading

leadership, Local business, Newsroom, OCB Commentary

5 Twin Cities Holiday “Experiences” You Can Give This Year

This post, by Timothy Huebsch is republished from the Leadership and Community blog.

Snow has finally arrived.  In my mind this is what really triggers the holiday season.  As I shoveled snow last weekend, it made me reflect on the holiday season and think about the gifts that I need to find in the next few weeks.

Everywhere you look you see ads for new electronics, toys, and clothes.  Speaking for myself, the things I remember most from my past are not the physical gifts but much more the experiences. The great thing is that we live in a community where there are countless opportunities to create an experience for others that will help them see a new part of the community and spend time together with others.  It could be an  event you choose to do with them or you can be the conduit by giving them tickets to do it with someone else.  The great side benefit this has for the community is that it allows people to try something new and then share the story with countless other friends.  In effect you are creating ambassadors that help spread the word throughout the community.

The options are countless —  Here are a five that come to mind that are worth considering: Continue Reading