Helping Good Charities Become 'Incredible'

Nonprofit

BY JACOB OGLES SRQ DAILY MONDAY BUSINESS EDITION MONDAY MAY 18, 2015

The efforts of nonprofits draw the hard-working and good-hearted to many a mission. Sometimes, however, attracting a sound business mind to a cause can be tougher. That’s where the Gulf Coast Community Foundation’s Invest in Incredible efforts play a critical role. The foundation partners with BoardSource, the national expert in board governance, to create a standing group of available experts in the region to help nonprofits on issues on matters of governance, management and operational effectiveness.

Consultant Betsy Steiner, who has worked with the Foundation for around eight years herself, said the effort provides a great opportunity to connect with nonprofits and ensure their effectiveness matches up with their highest intentions. “Organizations are often good at the programatic things that are part of their mission, but they are also often lean-and-mean with staffing, and they don't necessarily have the ability to be investing in those things that improve impact and efficiency,” Steiner said. “As a consultant, I love that I can go in for a brief period of time for an assignment and help them in that capacity.” For example, if an organization exists to feed the hungry or provide housing to the poor, then full-time staff usually have skills in food distribution or real estate, but not always in best practices for financing the organization itself. Steiner has helped organizations fine-tune board composition or identify needed financial training. 

In the past two-and-a-half years alone, 122 local charitable organizations have received services through Invest In Incredible, according to Kelly Romanoff, strategic engagement officer for Gulf Coast. Just this month, 15 consultants completed a three-day training offering from BoardSource. “The best investment we can make into nonprofit organizations is to help them strengthen their board governance and internal capacity,” said Teri A. Hansen, Gulf Coast president and CEO. The Invest in Incredible effort has been in place here since 2004.

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