Coffee with IAPND - "A quiet place to meet with and learn from your peers."


December 1, 2011

Vote for NCADV Project

Being Visionary,Current Executive Directors,Uncategorized

October 21, 2011

Leadership Legacy

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What is your legacy?

Leadership legacyNext month I will be training on leaving a legacy as a  leader and nonprofit sustainability for the Georgia Center for
as a member of their Nonprofit University faculty.


I love these two topics and I think they are the perfect  way to finish off the six month course.  So, I thought perhaps today we would  talk about legacies.  With the recent passing of Steve Jobs, many are speaking  of the legacy he left, but you don’t have to die to leave your mark on this  world.


Does everyone leave behind a legacy?  Are they always  good?  The way that people think, behave, approach work and life as a result of  having worked with you – is your leadership legacy.

Is there positive evidence of your legacy?

What can you  point to that you know others do differently as a result of working with you?   Have you changed the organization for the better in any way?  Have the changes  or leadership you provided changed the organization for the better, or will
people watch as you go thinking, “I’m never going to do that, or act that  way?”


A legacy is much  more than the mark you leave on one organization.  Every person you have
interacted with will take their experiences to the next job and influence the
next organization based upon what they have learned from you.


To get a better  feel for your leadership style take the Leadership Style  Assessment to identify where your legacy opportunities exist.  Here are my  results:


My  assessment results show that I have the characteristics of these types of leaders:

* Ambassador – your score is 20 points  out of 25
* Advocate – your score is 20 out of  25
* People Mover – your score is 21 out of 25
* Truth-Seeker – your score 20 out of 25
* Creative builder – your score is 25 out of 25
* Experienced  guide – your score is 24 out of 25


What does your  assessment show?


Your challenge this week is to take the  leadership Style Assessment to learn more about your leadership
characteristics.  The more closely you align your work with your style, the more  authentic you are, the more likely you will leave behind a legacy others will  remember, in a positive light.


Aspiring Executive Directors,Being Visionary,Board of Directors,Current Executive Directors,The Nonprofit Field

October 17, 2011

Nonprofit Professional’s Association (IAPND) Membership is Free

IAPND Membership is FREE!

International Association of Professional Nonprofit Directors (IAPND) logoIAPND, a professional association for nonprofit professionals, is now offering free membership!  Join us if you are interested in a professional membership of your peers.

Is IAPND right for you?

  • Are you looking for a place to brainstorm or connect with like-minded people? IAPND members are your peers.
  • Do you want to be an executive director of a nonprofit organization? IAPND can prepare you for your nonprofit leadership position.
  • Are you concerned about you or your staff losing your edge? IAPND offers valuable training content and low-cost teleseminars, webinars and workshops.
  • Do you wish your board of directors or executive director had a clearer understanding of roles and responsibilities in the organization? IAPND offers free information and resources as well as consulting and low-cost training.
  • Are you worried about who will take over your organization when you retire? IAPND has resources to help you develop your next leader and plan ahead for the transition.
  • Are you concerned about the future of your organization? IAPND works with The Break Away Group, LLC to offer consulting services for you and your board of directors.
  • Do you wish you could have a conversation with business professionals about partnership? IAPND provides a discussion forum for these conversations and more.

If so, IAPND membership is for you.

Those that benefit most from the International Association of Professional Nonprofit Directors (IAPND) are:

  • Interested in connecting & collaborating
  • Committed to building and growing a successful organization
  • Passionate about molding the future of nonprofit organizations
  • Dedicated to life-long learning

The Nonprofit Field,Training Opportunities,Uncategorized

August 5, 2011

Evaluate for Success

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Evaluation for ExcellenceProgram evaluation is a great way to tell your organization’s story. 

Data, both quantitative and qualitative provide great marketing soundbites.

There are four levels of evaluation to consider when wanting to learn more about the success of your services.

  1. Level One – Reactions:  This is the easiest and most common.  After a service or training you are asked to complete a short evaluation form about your reactions and feelings to the training and the trainer or service provider.  While it doesn’t measure the effectiveness of the organization as a whole, it does give some useful anecdotal soundbites that work nicely for websites, brochures and foundation proposals.

  2. Level Two – Learning:  Evaluating at this level includes measuring for the extent of learning that has taken place.  This type of evaluation will likely be done in the form of observation.  Do you see a difference in behavior based upon increased knowledge?  McNamara (2005) says that short-term outcomes often measure the level of knowledge the participant retained after the training.  Intermediate outcomes will result in a change of skills, and long-term outcomes are associated with changes in behavior and attitude.   Often we see this level show up in a logic model. (more…)

Aspiring Executive Directors,Being Visionary,Board of Directors,Current Executive Directors,The Nonprofit Field,Uncategorized

July 29, 2011

Capacity Building Grant Deadline

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Courtesy of Kelly Hill and the Nexus Research Group
Nonprofit Capacity Corner
Vol. 6, July 2011


The Corporation for National and Community Service has recently released a NON-PROFIT CAPACITY BUILDING GRANT!  The purpose of the grant program is to “increase the capacity of certain intermediary grantees to provide specific assistance to improve the sustainability of and expand services provided by small and mid-sized non-profits in communities facing resource hardship challenges.” This is definitely one grant opportunity that you shouldn’t allow to pass by.  The award ceiling is almost $1,000,000!


For more information, go to and enter CDFA number 94.022. The application is due August 9th.


Building Capacity to Stand OutWondering what “capacity building” might include?


When thinking about capacity building, consider areas where your organization could use some “beefing up”.   This is not a programming grant.  Think along the lines of:

  • Organizational assessment, evaluation of overall effectiveness, and strategic planning
  • Board and staff training as it relates to meeting the overall organizational goals
  • Fund development planning
  • Succession planning
  • Marketing and branding
  • Mergers and other restructuring efforts


For more information about writing a successful capacity building grant see the Grantsmanship Center.


Keep in mind that The Break Away Group, LLC provides organizational development consulting and can provide you with a consulting bid to develop your grant budget and successfully complete your goals and objectives upon award.


Contact Shawn Paul, Founder & CEO of The Break Away Group, LLC at 404-671-6627 or email at

Being Visionary,Current Executive Directors,Uncategorized

July 24, 2011

The Power of Retreats

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How effective do you think a football team would be without huddles, practices, plans and no training camp?


I think it is safe to say that each member of the team would be a little lost and likely off doing their own thing.  Some may be successful, but some would surely hinder the teams performance.  Wouldn’t you agree?


If you do not take time for off-site staff retreats, you are effectively operating a football team without the benefit of huddles, practices, plans or training camps.  Your team is foundering and each is doing their best to figure out what you are expecting from them.  Some will shine in this culture, others will take your company down.


You invest a lot of trust in your employees.  They are the engine that makes everything else work.  If the timing is off you can expect your business to stall out and in some cases come to a complete halt.


The fix is easy.  Everyone needs time to recharge and they need to trust each other as team players.  Staff retreats are the perfect way to get everyone on board; make sure the vision is clear; and put some soul back into the job.


In addition, retreats are the perfect place to celebrate successes, brainstorm new ideas and solutions to existing problems.  People are more creative when taken out of their work atmosphere.


Shawn (Marie) Paul
Author of Life in Motion
Founder & CEO of IAPND and The Break Away Group, LLC

Being Visionary,Board of Directors,Current Executive Directors,Uncategorized

July 11, 2011

When Raises aren’t an Option

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It’s always hard to find cheap ways to reward employees when raises are out of the question. Here is really smart solution to that problem.

Emealz - Easy Meals for Busy People!

Emealz is the perfect reward. Everyone likes to save time and money–this program is so affordable ($60/year), it provides it’s members with a weekly menu based upon sales at local grocery stores so it saves you time and money too!

I personally joined and love the convenience and the money savings. It looks like I am on track to save about half on my grocery bill each month! That is a nice unexpected bonus. Imagine adding $3,600 to your annual income by saving $300 a month. That is my expected savings.

So, your staff get a reward for their great work AND a raise by reducing their food budget. Click on the banner above for more information.

It’s The Break Away Group’s  anniversary! Throughout the month of July we are celebrate by sharing a FREE ebook of Life in Motion and we want you to share it with your employees! Our gift to you and your staff.

Shawn (Marie) Paul
Author of Life in Motion
Founder & CEO of IAPND and The Break Away Group, LLC

Being Visionary,Board of Directors,Current Executive Directors,The Nonprofit Field,Uncategorized

July 1, 2011

Economic Up-side

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Nonprofit Leadership CrisisThe economy is on every nonprofit leader’s mind…


“How can I keep the doors open?”

“Can we serve everyone who needs help?”

“Where can we find more money?”

“I am going to have to cut staff.”

“I can’t sleep at night!”

“We need donations, volunteers and board members!”


While times are indeed tough, is there an opportunity here? I think there is.


Nonprofits who rely on government grants and donations exclusively to keep the doors open set themselves up to be at the mercy of those with the checkbook.  It doesn’t have to be that way.  Yes, we should support nonprofit efforts at addressing social issues that plague us all or programs that enrich lives.  However, nonprofits all start out as a vision.  A vision to change or enrich some area of life.  Volunteers get excited and people make donations, and then the reality hits.  You need more money.  You need full-time staff.  You need to organize.


The nonprofit designation opens doors to grant possibilities, but what is the trade-off?  Government grants require you to limit your voice to get their money.  One piece of your vision is peeled away.  Spend hours upon hours on follow-up reports, another piece of the vision is peeled away.  Researching and writing grants takes you away from the work you enjoy, another piece of your vision peels away.  Pretty soon you no longer recognize the organization you started.


One company I work with started out doing social change work and because the money dried up in those areas, they now are into providing pest control in government buildings–the last piece of the vision peeled away.


So the question is, how do you break out of this cycle?


In times of crisis come opportunity.  That is where we are today.  It is time to look at nonprofits in a different light.  Imagine if you had all the money you need to do the work your organizations aspires to do.  What work would you be doing?  Hint:  look at your mission statement.


Here is where it gets exciting.  What businesses are thriving in this economy?  Can you make a connection between the two?  If you flip your nonprofit on its ear and look at it from a different angle, you will find a connection that you can build upon.  Maybe it is a partnership with a company or maybe you start your own.  IRS regulations allow you to have your own business as long as it is in direct support of your mission.  I will admit this takes some creative visioning…but that’s how your organization started to begin with–a vision.


Creative solutions are our specialty.  If you need help re-visioning your organization contact The Break Away Group.


Submitted by:


Shawn (Marie) Paul

Author Life in Motion

President of IAPND & The Break Away Group, LLC


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Being Visionary,Current Executive Directors,The Nonprofit Field

June 28, 2011

Keep the Change: Funders Whittling Away at the Bottom Line

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Are your funders “nickeling and diming” you to death? Have they imposed so many requirements, reports, dataFunders Whittle Away at the Bottom Line collection, and proof of effectiveness that you no longer have the money or the time to be effective?

Don’t get me wrong, I am all for transparency, in government and in nonprofit organizations, but unless funders start putting their money where their demands lie, in the form of general administrative funding that allows for the extra time, resources and staff to compile all the required documents, it might be better if you find a different source of funding.

I once was told by a United Way director that my (former) organization was not eligible for United Way funding because we had money in reserve. Now, I challenge any funder–United Way or anyone else– is it not fiscally responsible to have a reserve for emergencies and that will carry an organization through all the lag time it takes funders to get money reimbursed?

A fiscally responsible nonprofit, depending on their annual budget, should have anywhere from 3-6 months of operating reserves in the bank. This is standard practice for businesses, and while non-profits are not in business to make money, let’s remember that reserves are not the same as “making money”. There are no bonuses based on that money. It is held in reserve in the event of an emergency, such as the economic down turn everyone is trying to survive.

Had funders recognized the importance of fiscally sound nonprofits and included in every grant a percentage of the funds specifically designated for reserves, I would not be getting multiple email alerts every day about nonprofit closures.

I hope this bottomed-out economy will teach both nonprofit and funders a thing or two about being prepared, and being selective about where the money is coming from.  Make it a part of your strategic plan (what, not strategic plan??) to only partner with funders who understand the importance of solid fiscal management and who understand the liabilities of operating within the “insolvency zone”.  If you don’t know the liabilities either, call the Break Away Group to help you develop an organizational and strategic plan based on the realities of running a nonprofit or, for that matter, funding a nonprofit.

If a funder does not think fiscal responsibility comes with a line item in their grant, take your fundraising efforts elsewhere.

Submitted by:

Shawn (Marie) Paul
Author of Life in Motion, Leadership Action Tips
President of IAPND and The Break Away Group, LLC

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The Nonprofit Field

June 22, 2011

Self-Sustaining Nonprofits

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Should nonprofits be self-sustaining?  What are your thoughts about how nonprofits operate?

Question Posted by:

Shawn (Marie) Paul
Author of Life in Motion
President of IAPND & The Break Away Group, LLC

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