|February 14, 2015||Posted by M. P. under Management, Research|
Would you give your board an A plus in performance? If yes, then you are in the minority according to Leading with Intent: A National Index of Nonprofit Board Practices, a report that indicates both nonprofit executives and board chairs consider their board performance only slightly above average, with an overall grade of B minus. Survey respondents from across the country rated their boards in various areas of responsibilities with average grades ranging from an A minus in mission to a C in fundraising.
The study, conducted by BoardSource, found that boards excel at tasks of a technical nature, such as compliance and fiscal oversight, while lagging in community outreach and acting as an “ambassador” for the organization. Other areas of improvement noted:
- Diversity. Inclusiveness in board composition – not as a numbers issue but as a valid representation of people involved in the organization – is an area in need of attention with 35 percent of the CEOs surveyed giving their board a B or above in this area.
- Showing up. Board attendance is declining, with less than half (37 percent) of boards surveyed reporting 90 percent or better attendance in 2014.
- Raising money. While board giving is up, fundraising is a sensitive issue. Less than ¼ of boards reported even being comfortable with providing donor contact information, and just 12 percent were comfortable meeting donors face to face.
- Information and strategy. 35% of the boards received a C or below in the area of strategic planning.
This was a national study, but board report cards are also a great tool at the organizational level. These kind of self-evaluations help gauge board members’ perceptions of their own levels of knowledge and confidence, as well as measure overall board performance. This information assists the board in identifying and discussing areas of strengths and limitations and prioritizing governance actions for the upcoming year.
Report Citation: BoardSource, Leading with Intent: A National Index of Nonprofit Board Practices (Washington, D.C.: BoardSource, 2015)
|January 8, 2015||Posted by M. P. under Management, Program Model, Research|
Here’s your one word resolution for 2015 – collaborate. If you already are, do it strategically and more often. If you aren’t, you are missing out on a highly adaptable, relatively low-cost way to increase impact. A December 2014 study from the Bridgespan Group, in conjunction with The Lodestar Foundation, found that collaboration isn’t just a popular topic in the nonprofit sector – it’s actually happening and it’s working well for the majority of players.
Highlights from the study,
Collaboration is happening. The trend is real. Over 90 percent of the nonprofit leaders surveyed had participated in one of the forms of collaboration examined by the study (associations, joint programs, shared support functions, and mergers) within the last three years, with 54 percent participating in at least two forms. The majority (93 percent) of nonprofit executives expect to become involved in additional collaboration during 2015.
People in the sector like it. The majority (over 70 percent) of nonprofit executives described the collaborations they participated in as successful. Only a small percentage of each type of collaboration did not achieve their intended goals, according to respondent ratings.
People in the sector intend to do more of it. Both nonprofit executives and foundations reported their intention to do more collaboration in the future. Funders want to see more collaboration in the sector, specifically shared support functions (76 percent) and mergers (55 percent).
Additional findings, including the very real challenges facing quality collaboration, are included in the brief Making Sense of Nonprofit Collaborations by Alex Neuhoff, Katie Smith Milway, Reilly Kiernan, and Josh Grehan, available at the Bridgespan Group website.
One note of caution. Before you get the urge to start trimming programs also offered by peer organizations or make merger your “word for 2015″, check out the article Again, Nonprofit Mergers are no Cure All at Nonprofit Quarterly. Collaboration takes many forms and not all may be the best fit for your mission, constituency or bottom line. If collaboration is your resolution for 2015 then, as with all resolutions, start slowly, research what will work best for you, and keep at it.
|July 30, 2014||Posted by M. P. under Children and Family, Drug and Alcohol, Research||
Early alcohol and drug prevention efforts and enhanced treatment options for youth may play a key role in reducing the likelihood of future substance abuse according to a new brief from SAMHSA. The report, Age of Substance Use Initiation among Treatment Admissions Aged 18-to-30, presents data that suggest the age of first drug use is associated with need for treatment later in life; specifically, persons reporting an earlier age of initiation were 1) more likely to be admitted to treatment and 2) abuse multiple substances. In 2011, nearly three-quarters of the 18-to-30 year olds admitted for substance abuse treatment began using when under the age of 17, 34 percent between the ages of 15-17, 30 percent between the ages of 12-14, and 10 percent at age 11 and under. Of those who began using substances at age 11 or younger, 78 percent reported abusing at least two substances at the time of intake.
Other interesting takeaways from the report:
- 63 percent of treatment admissions of people 18 to 30 years old were male, and males were more likely than females to start using substances at earlier ages
- Among those reporting first drug use at 11 or younger, marijuana and alcohol were the most commonly used substances
- Among those reporting first drug use at age 25 or over, heroin and prescription pain medication were the most commonly used substances
- Nearly 39 percent of the persons admitted to treatment whom first used a substance at age 11 or younger reported a co-occurring mental disorder – the highest rate of any of the age groups
As the age of first use of drugs or alcohol increases, the number of substances abused at time of admission to addiction treatment declines. The authors also note that adolescents can grow into habitual abuse of alcohol and drugs within three years of initiation. These data indicate the need for continuous but targeted preventative interventions with elementary-to-middle-school-age students. For example, the risk factors for young children are usually related to the family, whereas adolescents may experience ongoing pressure from peers who use illegal substances, so strategies to address these factors while building up protective factors will also vary.
Information on drug prevention programs and resource guides for parents and teachers are available at the SAMHSA website.
Report Citation: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. (July 17, 2014).The TEDS Report: Age of Substance Use Initiation among Treatment Admissions Aged 18 to 30. Rockville, MD.
|July 11, 2014||Posted by M. P. under Elderly, Health, Policy, Research||
The number of senior citizens considered food insecure increased by 49 percent between 2007 and 2012 according to a study from The National Foundation to End Senior Hunger (NFESH). Using the Three Core Food Security Module to measure risk, study authors Dr. James P. Ziliak of the University of Kentucky and Dr. Craig G. Gundersen of the University of Illinois found that over 9 million American senior citizens were food insecure, and threat of hunger rates for all senior groups (ages 60 to 69, 70 to 79, and 80+) were higher in 2012 than 2007, even though the recession had ended. The majority of seniors facing threat of hunger due to food insecurity were white with incomes above the poverty line, but both African American and Hispanic seniors were at a higher risk of hunger than whites. Over one-third (35%) had at least one grandchild living with them.
The State of Senior Hunger in America 2012: An Annual Report also ranks states by senior hunger threat, with Arkansas (25.44), Louisiana (23.56), and Mississippi (22.67) having the highest rates in the nation. In 2012, Pennsylvania had a rate of 12.93, down approximately 15 percent from 2011. The NFESH has numerous reports on the threat and consequences of senior hunger at their website.
Food insecurity among seniors may be related to income, neighborhood safety and walkability, and individual physical and mental health, but regardless of the reasons why, the consequences are poor health and a deficit of needed nutrients. As the Baby Boomers age, it’s likely that we will hear more about senior hunger as a top public health issue.
Photo Credit: M. Puzzanchera (Own Work) (CC By-NC-ND 3.0)