Operations & Internal Systems

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Effective Meeting Facilitation: The Sine Qua Non of Planning

This resource, developed by the National Endowment of the Arts, conceptualizes meetings as planning processes and opportunities for non-profit organizations (p 1). Much of the resource focuses on the planning stage of meetings, since planning is vital to develop meeting objectives and its overall purpose. A number of questions important questions are raised that can be used to inform effective meeting planning and facilitation, such as what idea building processes will be most useful, attendance, spatial arrangement and equipment (pp. 3-5). This resource also notes many strategies and guidelines for effective facilitation. Of note are the areas surrounding communication (p. 7) and decision-making by consensus (pp. 8-9).

Duncan, M. (July 12, 2005). Effective Meeting Facilitation: The Sine Qua Non of Planning. National Endowment for the Arts – Lessons Learned Essays. 1-13.

Employees’ Feelings About More Meetings

 

This study, takes a detailed look at how persistent meeting demands can impact employees and what tangible steps can be taken to improve employees’ feelings towards meetings in the workplace (p 406). This resource begins by discussing the concept of ‘meeting load’, which is the frequency and time spent in meetings (p 406) and linking it to productivity. It examines some of the most common complaints regarding meetings, including time mismanagement (p 410). This research emphasizes the importance of relevancy of information shared at meetings and structure (p 414).

Allen, J; Sands, S; Mueller, S; Frear, K; Mudd, M; Rogelberg, S. (2012). Employees’ Feelings About More Meetings. Management Research Review. 35(5). 405-418.

Mind Your Meetings

 

This resource provides managers and meeting facilitators with a lot of guidance and strategies for monitoring meetings and linking meetings to the direct and indirect costs of ineffective meetings. The resource begins by stating that meetings involve opportunity costs or trade-offs (p 50) and that meeting ineffectiveness does have financial implications for organizations. It emphasizes the importance of planning to enhance efficiency and analysis to gain a sense of some common organizational behaviours and practices to gain insight how meetings are viewed, used, and managed that can include: individual interviews and focus groups, direct observation, and surveys (pp. 50-51).

Allen, J; Rogelberg, S; Scott, J. (April 2008). Mind Your Meetings. Quality Progress. 41(4). 50-53.

Internal Communication Toolkit

This resource, developed by Civicus, is a toolkit to assist organizations to develop an effective internal communication strategy in order to improve communication efficiency and effectiveness. It begins by illuminating the benefits of effective internal communication (pp. 4-5) and then providing an overview of the main principles

Accepted bases of action or conduct. For the Organizational Standards Initiative, our guiding principles provide a value‐laden foundation on which our work can be based.

of internal communication, which include: developing a long-term focus, identifying organizational values

Values are ideals, standards, or qualities considered worthwhile or desirable. See also “principles,” which are often shaped by values.

, defining specific goals, and consistency in messaging (p 5). Many useful checklists and templates are provided which are helpful for organizations to determine a communication strategy that best meets their needs. For example, a sample internal communication survey can be distributed to collect feedback from staff

For our purposes, staff refers to agency employees who are neither managers nor executive directors.

members (pp. 21-24) as well as sample internal communication strategy template (pp. 25-27).

Hume, J; Civicus. (2011). Internal Communication Toolkit. 1-28. Washington D.C, United States.

Writings Within Your Organization

This toolkit, developed and shared by Civicus, provides organizations with useful information, strategies, and tips for developing effective writings that include reporting, minutes, correspondence, notice boards, and internal correspondence. This resource emphasizes that organizational writings can also enhance stakeholder

Here refers to a person or a group of people who have an interest in, or are affected by the organization now or in the near future.

engagement, such as the use of community

The broad group of people who are stakeholders of an organization. Extending beyond the people that enter our buildings and use our services, an organization’s community may include cultural groups, sectoral partners, and other groups of people joined together by common identity, geography, and other bonds. Often where we use ‘community’ the word is actually short for multiple communities.

notice boards (pp. 5-6). Sample correspondence letters and letters accompanying faxes are included to ensure agencies are engaging in effective, clear, and professional communication with third parties and stakeholders (pp. 9-12). Several useful tips are also included for effective project reporting, particularly how people read reports and how to structure them accordingly (p 17), different types of reports (pp. 18-19), and presenting a report (p 22).  

Hurt, K; Civicus, (2011). Writings Within Your Organization. 1-24. Washington D.C, United States. 

Merging Nonprofit Organizations: The Art and Science of the Deal

This resource, developed by the Mandel Center for Nonprofit Organizations, is intended to provide agencies and executive directors with practical information relating to non-profit merger process including “practitioner-focused information about the merger process” (p VI). The guide begins by explaining the merging process and how it is part of an organization’s strategic planning

An activity carried out on a regular basis to clarify an organization’s purpose, goals, priorities, and a plan for reaching those goals and addressing the priorities.

process, notably the environmental assessment (pp. 16-18). Numerous worksheets are included in the document pertaining to partner evaluation and criteria (p 24) and a due diligence checklist (pp. 47-50). Lastly, a sample merger feasibility study work plan with a detailed step by step process and associated timelines is included (pp. 39-41).

Yankey, J; Wester Jacobus, B; McNally Koney, K. (2001). Merging Nonprofit Organizations: The Art and Science of the Deal. 1-69. Cleveland, United States. 

Building Capacity in Nonprofit Organizations

 

This resource, developed by the Urban Institute, explores the issue of capacity building in non-profit organizations and how such initiatives can be strengthened through the use of various models and frameworks. The two sections of particular importance in this document are section 3 and 4, as they provide more practical approaches to capacity building in non-profits and use the models and experiences of other organizations. Of particular importance is an area that delves in different types of capacity building ‘good practices’ (pp. 50-57) that provide case studies as examples. Lastly, a list of recommendations and ways in which organizations can engage in effective and sustainable capacity building initiatives is discussed in great detail (pp. 71-77)

De Vita, C; Fleming, C. (2000). Building Capacity in Nonprofit Organizations. 1-97. Washington D.C, United States. 

 

Evolving Challenges for Community Development Corporations: The Causes and Impacts of Failures, Downsizings and Mergers

This resource, developed by the Center for urban and Regional Studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, provides a systemicRelating to the system. analysis of community

The broad group of people who are stakeholders of an organization. Extending beyond the people that enter our buildings and use our services, an organization’s community may include cultural groups, sectoral partners, and other groups of people joined together by common identity, geography, and other bonds. Often where we use ‘community’ the word is actually short for multiple communities.

development organizations that have failed, downsized, or merged using six case studies as examples. The report addresses several key organizational factors linked to organizational performance, including staffing issues (p 11), boardYour board of directors provides governance to your organization. issues (p 12), mission issues (p 13), and funding issues (p 14-15). The report also examines how an organization’s mission, often because they may be narrowly defined, renders them vulnerable to shifts and external influences (p 39-41), particularly in the area of overreliance on a single funding source (p 42). The case studies enable agencies to apply the research and information collected so that it can be used to determine the risks and vulnerabilities of their organizations to external and internal forces.

Rohe, W; Bratt, R; Biswas, P. (January 2003). Evolving Challenges for Community Development Corporations: The Causes and Impacts of Failures, Downsizings and Mergers. 1-184. Chapel Hill, NC, United States. 

Guidelines for Board-Staff E-Mail Communication

This resource, retrieved from the Non-Profit Sector

Used broadly to define a group or cluster of agencies that share some commonality. Here ‘the sector’ refers to community based agencies that serve immigrants and refugees in Ontario. Other relevant sectors include the broader non‐profit sector (sometimes referred to as the voluntary sector), and the community social services sector.

Leadership

When referring to an ‘organization’s leadership’, we mean the board, ED and senior management.

Program of Dalhousie University, outlines a number of important guidelines that boardYour board of directors provides governance to your organization. members should follow when corresponding electronically. The suggestions and guidelines put forth, while at first appearing rudimentary, nevertheless are critical to incorporate into existing policies that govern the roles and responsibilities of board members and the means of communication between board members and the agency as a whole. As a result of a blurring between private and official communication, these guidelines clarify the board-staff

For our purposes, staff refers to agency employees who are neither managers nor executive directors.

relationship (p 1) and can assist in improving board operations and effectiveness by fostering more open and transparent communication.

Dalhousie University. (2005). Guidelines for Board-Staff E-Mail Communication. 1-3. Halifax, Canada.

 

How Competitive is Your Organization (The Macmillan Matrix decision-making tool)

The MacMillan Matrix is a valuable decision-making tool designed for social service organizations, based on the assumption that duplication of existing comparable services (unnecessary competition) among non-profit organizations can fragment the limited resources available, leaving all providers too weak to increase the quality and cost-effectiveness of client services. The methodology behind the matrix also assumes that trying to be all things to all people (socalled “mission-creep”) can result in mediocre or low-quality service.

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