Archive for May, 2010

New Workshops in Newark, NJ

Written by Steve Damiano, Director of Professional Development, Support Center

The Support Center is excited to announce a new partnership with the Center for Collaborative Change and the Newark Bears to provide a series of capacity building workshop at the Bears Riverfront Stadium in Newark, NJ.

The first two workshops will take place in June.

The fee for these workshops is only $45.

Proposal Writing Overview
Thursday, June 17 * 9:30-12:30

In this workshop, we will discuss what makes a project compelling to a funder, and how you can get the right information, in the right order, to paint a vibrant picture through the limited format of a typical proposal.

·    The language of proposal writing
·    Choosing the best type of objectives
·    Writing the needs statement
·    Designing program goals and objectives toward evaluation & assessment
·    Constructing realistic budgets and timetables
·    The pros and cons of seeking out and receiving grants

How to Find and Ask for Money
Wednesday, June 23 * 9:30-12:30

This “basic” fundraising workshop will introduce you to strategies for implementing effective prospect research techniques in your own organization.

·    Techniques for asking for gifts in smarter, more efficient ways
·    How to identify new prospects for your organization
·    How to efficiently mine existing relationships
·    The infrastructure necessary for success including, money, materials, staff, board, technology, etc.
·    The components of a successful ask

SUMMER 2010 Workshops


Hiring an Intern

Written by Andrea Dispenza, Training Coordinator/Marketing Manager, Support Center

Shakeela Pegues, 17, could have gotten a job working in a neighborhood store, but she knew that it would not help her to achieve her dream, which is to own her own business as a child care provider.

Shakeela Pegues

Shakeela Pegues

Instead, she followed the advice of a classmate at Brooklyn Preparatory High School and applied to Futures & Options (FAO) Internship Program.

Shakeela’s persistence and drive paid off when she was accepted into the program and received an internship with the Support Center.

Now she has a job to help her pay for college applications and she is getting hands-on office experience that will help her reach her dream.

When the Support Center was looking for an intern to assist us with administrative tasks, we were instantly drawn to Futures and Options because they provide:

  • Pre-screening and work-readiness training for all interns to ensure that the young people hired are ready to work

  • Individual on-site meetings to provide assistance in developing job descriptions and projects that will benefit both the Support Center and the intern

  • Ongoing support for the supervisors/mentors as well as for the interns

Please join us in welcoming Shakeela to the Support Center!
We look forward to providing her with a meaningful work experience.

To learn more about partnering with Futures and Options
call 212-601-0002 or email

Categories: Staff Profile

Echoing Green – Meet the Finalists

By Harriet Joynes, Chief Operating Officer, Support Center

500 plus people packed into Credit Suisse to meet and hear from ten of the 25 Echoing Green 2010 finalists.  Starting from 1,000 applicants, these finalists made it though three rounds of rigorous review and have honed their 90 second pitch to be quite compelling.

Harriet Joynes

Harriet Joynes

In 90 seconds we were convinced to invest in Reality TV in Afghanistan, bio-char for small farmers in Liberia, real food in US Cafeterias, active democracy participation in US high schools and much more – they all seemed like winning propositions and all were already up and runnning. TIP: every finalist brought a prop to illustrate their story – very effective.

Charlie Rose from City Year maintained a fast and entertaining pace as MC.  Cheryl Dorsey, President of Echoing Green, noted that the audience had doubled since last year and grown 10 fold in ten years.

The audience comprised an interesting mix of 400+ including host committee tables of new supporters, past fellows and reviewers + 120 mostly young people from the nonprofit sector – I hung out with graduating Coro fellows, and folks from Public Allies and IMentor.  The evening left me feeling engaged, energized and optimistic.

Categories: Events

Nonprofit Organizations & the Double Whammy!

Written by Don Crocker, Executive Director/CEO, Support Center

Nonprofit organizations and their boards are experiencing a “double whammy.”

Too many of our most essential nonprofit organizations are losing their leaders while at the same time they are dealing with the loss of essential funding to meet their missions and serve their communities.

The challenge of overcoming budget decreases without a competent, knowledgeable leader can be overwhelming and paralyzing.

Don Crocker

Don Crocker

The economy is driving the budget woes, while the stress of leading a nonprofit in the current environment and the retirement of baby boomers – many who founded their nonprofit organizations 20 to 30 years ago – is driving large numbers of nonprofit executives to leave their positions.

With assistance, nonprofits can manage these transitions and philanthropy can help!

Foundations and other donors can assist struggling nonprofit organizations to capitalize on the opportunities for not only finding the right next leaders, but also for assessing organizational viability and future direction.

A number of national and local foundations have already developed successful models for supporting transitions.  These foundations provide funding that supports Executive Transition Management (ETM) services.

Executive transition management services consist of a menu of  services that can be provided by a management support organization like the Support Center to guide a nonprofit board through the transition process.

Grantmakers are urged to seize a “pivotal moment” by supporting the development of and access to ETM services.

Funding for executive transition management services can help nonprofit boards avoid organizational havoc and instead capitalize on the transition opportunity by re-thinking the organization’s viability and sustainability, and by planning thoughtfully for the organization’s future.

ETM services offer a unique approach to leadership search and transition, redefining search services by adding essential components that include organization assessment, engagement of all key stakeholders, and clear communication about the future direction and sustainability of the organization.

The Support Center for Nonprofit Management has assumed an important role in the delivery of executive transition management services here in the Tri-State region.

For more information email Don Crocker at

New Client: Transition Management

Written by Pat Richter, Interim Director of Consulting, Support Center

The Support Center’s Executive Transition Management philosophy is based on the intentional use of change as a “pivotal moment” in the life of an organization.

We are working with Rockland Independent Living Center (RILC) to maintain a stable, well-managed organization while conducting a transition to prepare for the next CEO.

The Support Center is assisting RILC through referral of a trained Interim Executive Director augmented by an experienced Transition Management consultant to support and guide the Board of Directors through the search process.

Interim Executive Director

One of the key roles of the Interim Executive Director is to provide stability and support to the staff, boosting morale and insuring that necessary work gets done.  With the support of the Board, the Interim may address and resolve as many issues as possible to lessen pressures on the incoming director.

Areas that the Interim Executive Director may focus on include staff supervision, program management, monitoring revenue and expenses, contract fulfillment, infrastructure, communications, and grant or contract renewals.

Transition Consultant

The Support Center is providing an experienced Transition Consultant to work with the Board of Directors towards identifying the next leader.  With the consultant dedicated to the Board, the search and retention of the new CEO will be more effective and efficient.

Pat Richter

Pat Richter

Services may include:

  • Guidance on communications to stakeholders (including funders) about leadership transition and final selection of new leader
  • Facilitating discussions to identify skills and experience needed to lead the organization and creation of job description, salary, and job postings
  • Tapping resources of board members and stakeholder to develop strategies for attracting qualified candidates
  • Assistance with resume review, ranking, interview questions, rating tools, and in-person interviews
  • Assistance with making an offer and negotiating with final candidate
  • Setting up a system for on-boarding of the new director that includes the Interim Executive Director
  • Insuring shared clarity for the new chief executive and Board on performance expectations

We look forward to working with Rockland Independent Living Center!

Thank You: Leading in Turbulent Times

Written by Monica Miller, President/CEO, Empowerment through Arts, Inc.

Dear Don Crocker;

I would like to take this opportunity to express my heartfelt thanks to you for your very active and informative “Leading in Turbulent Times” seminar held at the Not-For-Profit Leadership Summit on May 10, 2010.

As President and CEO of Empowerment Through Arts, Inc-a startup nonprofit organization providing arts education to seniors, single parents and at-risk youth in CT, I just had to write you and personally tell you that your delivery at the event was so engaging and I found you to be an effective speaker and educator. Subsequently, I have no doubt that the seminar would not have been the success that it was without your presence.

I will definitely use the things I learned in your seminar to further my professional development. Especially, during these tough economic times when I manage, plan, and facilitate things with my board of directors.

Again, thank you so much for your memorable presentation. I greatly appreciated the help you provided me. I would welcome any additional suggestions that you might have.

All the best,

Monica Miller

Categories: Testimonial

Looking Back to 2009 — Setting the Stage for 2010

Written by Don Crocker, Executive Director/CEO, Support Center

What a year! We elected a new President, New York captured the baseball world series, and the universe of nonprofit and philanthropic endeavors changed and morphed right before our eyes. The volatile economy had us both back on our heels and, at the same time, darting forward to meet new challenges.

So let’s look back to see what happened and where we might go from here. Here are my top five major developments of 2009 that will be grabbing our attention in 2010:

Don Crocker

Don Crocker

1) Change is the watchword and customer service is primary:

Nonprofit and philanthropic organizations, at their core, are committed to change. Whether it is changing an entire community or changing conditions for individuals, we are committed to making the world a better place. Expectations for rapid and meaningful change have never been as demanding and instant as in 2009.

In essence, the product of our work is not as important as the experience and the outcome. Here, in 2009, we ramped-up our ability to listen to our customers philanthropic and nonprofit leadership and to respond to requests. In 2010, we are poised to refine our ability to listen regularly and to respond more nimbly, quickly and effectively.

2) Social media and social networking are legitimate venues of communication:

Surveys tell us that more than 50% of current web users interact with social networking communities. Our foray into LinkedIn, Facebook, Blogs, U-Tube and Twitter was just the beginning. What started out as a fun exploration is rapidly becoming a full-fledged arm of our communications effort. Not only will we be talking to you through these venues in 2010, we will be listening to you through them as well.

3) Philanthropic and nonprofit work requires a more refined and reflective strategy than ever before:

We are all discovering that while we often need to make decisions quickly, random business decisions are dangerous in this volatile environment. A lack of understanding of the external environment and our internal imperatives can lead quickly to chaos and devolution. Sound and strong strategy requires reflection and discussion. Leadership teams need to take the time to reflect and work toward common ground in order to align their focus and maximize efficiencies and effectiveness. We are planning for these discussions here and we stand ready to assist you with your strategy discussions in 2010!

4) Reinvention is hard but necessary:

An overly cautious management culture, lack of opportunities for experimentation, and a tendency toward business as usual thinking will hold back needed transformations in our sector. Management, board, and employee engagement at all levels is critical to future success. Confronting the realities of our external and internal environments is critical.

In 2009 we worked more closely than ever with our philanthropic partners and clients to get agreement on a focus and ground rules for engaging and addressing these changes. We will do more of this in 2010 and stand ready to work closely with you as you refine your focus and build your momentum for reinvention.

5) A better world ahead?

For all of us, some pain of change is inevitable. We will be anxious, confused, and angry at times while we move to a new way of doing our work. Down deep, perhaps, we know that some of this anxiety, confusion, and anger can and will lead us to a new, better way of accomplishing our missions and creating stronger communities and a better world.

William Bridges, in his timeless bestseller Managing Transitions, quotes Marilyn Ferguson (American Futurist) in saying, “not so much that we’re afraid of change or so in love with the old ways, but it’s that place in between that we fear like being between trapezes. It’s Linus when his blanket is in the dryer. There’s nothing to hold on to.”

Categories: Uncategorized