Strong board = strong nonprofit

June 10, 2014

Strong board = strong nonprofit

In addition to the hard, steady work by a nonprofit's staff members and volunteers, organizations can thrive even more when collaborating with their strong and informed boards. Since those performing the majority of the day-to-day tasks for a charitable organization take their instructions from the top, having a solid executive strategy in place is particularly important.

Research from McKinsey & Company that polled private and public businesses, as well as nonprofit groups, showed that executive groups can range from being disorganized to very successful. Common habits shared across executive committees at different performance rating levels (low, medium and high) included a regular commitment to discussions on innovation and working on the diversification of investment portfolios. In general, low-performing boards were deficient when it came to assessing the specifics of what drives value, understanding the allocation of resources and debating operational alternatives.

To succeed in the long run, organizations should have a thorough understanding of how resources are distributed. This is especially true for nonprofits, as budgets are often tighter and there is less room for error than at a for-profit enterprise. Similarly, being able to craft alternate paths to an objective is important for nonprofits that need to stay agile despite the cyclical nature of fundraising and the general scarcity of resources.

Boosting efficiency and slimming operating budgets
Organizations of all kinds have two major paths for increased effectiveness: reducing extraneous spending and improving decision making. Data analysis can help nonprofits find useful alternatives for a variety of operational needs, such as improving donor outreach efforts or raising awareness of operations. As nonprofit magazine Leader to Leader points out, using metrics and data allows organizations to measure progress, and analysis of this information can guide more successful practices and reduce or eliminate less-efficient ones.

Nonprofits can focus on very specific tasks to consistently reduce unnecessary costs. One clear strategy nonprofits can take to save money and boost efficiency is opting out of state unemployment insurance (SUI) pools and becoming a reimbursing employer. By becoming a reimbursing employer and paying out unemployment claims on a dollar-for-dollar basis, charitable groups avoid the fluctuations in unemployment taxes, increasing table wage bases, plus the shared liability of such programs. Using a service such as an Unemployment Savings Program provides the security of having funds available for paying out claims without the undue financial obligations associated with SUI pools. Stop-loss insurance included in the program can increase confidence in times of financial hardship as well.

For information on how your organization can cost-effectively meet its unemployment insurance needs, contact First Nonprofit Group at or visit


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First Nonprofit has saved us so much money over the state’s program. We had one little glitch with the state recently and we contacted FNP immediately. FNP staff called us back immediately and moved to remedy the problem.

WI Council of Religious & Independent Schools (WCRIS), Madison, WI

First Nonprofit has been a great partner. They have helped us saved hundreds of thousands of dollars! They have awesome resources for our nonprofit organization. Thanks for the partnership.

Community Care Inc., Milwaukee, WI

Life is certainly busy these days but having business partners like First Nonprofit has made some of the process hassle free. We have worked with this team for years. When we changed payroll systems, they outlined every step. I think this team is terrific and I know they get the job done! Thank you, Cruz, to all the team at FNP.

Gulfside Healthcare Services, New Port Richey, FL

FNP has helped our agency to save thousands of dollars every year on our unemployment coverage. The service is phenomenal, and we are thankful to their team as our partner. My experience working with Marshall on the advocacy around UE for nonprofits was also a highlight as someone who teaches advocacy and lobbying for nonprofits. Really, your whole team is top shelf, so thank YOU!

Advancing Academics, Turtle Creek, PA

Chicago Children’s Theatre has greatly benefited from our partnership with First Nonprofit, and I have always enjoyed working with the staff on our filings and any complicated questions. I would not hesitate to recommend First Nonprofit to fellow nonprofits. We’re very happy customers.

Chicago Children’s Theatre, Chicago, IL

FNP is a great resource for Daniel Kids. To have a TPA that we can count on to take point on not only managing our unemployment claims, but to support and guide any protest hearing, is invaluable. All the professional support staff we have worked with have been excellent, very knowledgeable and responsive. We are grateful for the help and support, thank you.

Daniel Kids, Jacksonville, FL

When I first began in my position at my organization, I hadn’t had experience working with a company like FNP. The staff was so patient and helpful in helping to explain the benefits of First Nonprofit. Anytime I reach out with a question I receive a quick, clear, and thorough response. I’m so thankful that we decided to partner with FNP. Their excellence in customer service, coupled with their variety of packages frees us up to truly serve our staff and community with a peace of mind knowing that our organization is protected against unanticipated unemployment insurance expenses.

Homes of Hope, Chicago, IL

First Nonprofit gets an A+ in my book. You are so easy to work with & very knowledgeable! Whether it is my quarterly correspondence with Kim or my random interactions with Dawn about a bond … I am so pleased that I get to work with such a helpful company. Thank you!

Women's Choice Network, Pittsburgh, PA