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Thomas McLaughlin

Thomas McLaughlin's Articles

  • When Board Members Just Don’t Get It

    By Thomas McLaughlin — November 24, 2014

    Every now and then there’s a board of directors — how can this be written diplomatically — that doesn’t seem to get it. This doesn’t happen often, but when it does it’s never a pretty sight. Usually the not-getting-it board seems to be paying attention, and its members really do want the best for their organization, but somehow or another “the best” never seems to happen.

  • Board Members

    By Thomas McLaughlin — October 31, 2014

    Every now and then there’s a board of directors that — how can this be written diplomatically — doesn’t seem to get it. This doesn’t happen often, but when it does it’s never a pretty sight. Usually the not-getting-it board seems to be paying attention, and its members really do want the best for their organization, but somehow or another “the best” never seems to happen.

  • Solving Insolvency: Managing Money Losing Programs

    By Thomas McLaughlin — September 25, 2014

    There was a recent early summer morning meeting in the offices of a medium-sized nonprofit behavioral health organization in an economically depressed former industrial city. The top three executives were smart, committed, and energetic. The offices were well-situated in a rebounding part of the city, and the organization enjoyed a good reputation locally.

  • Solving Insolvency

    By Thomas McLaughlin — September 17, 2014

    There was a recent early summer morning meeting in the offices of a medium-sized nonprofit behavioral health organization in an economically depressed former industrial city. The top three executives were smart, committed, and energetic. The offices were well-situated in a rebounding part of the city, and the organization enjoyed a good reputation locally.

  • Dealing With An Organization’s Dirty Laundry

    By Thomas McLaughlin — August 20, 2014

    Most children learn about Magic Hampers. These are containers of some sort that the adults in the family put in a kid-friendly location. The formula is simple – put dirty clothes in the thing and eventually, like magic, those clothes reappear neatly folded and clean. The child thinks, how did this happen? That evolves into who cares?

  • Unto Ourselves

    By Thomas McLaughlin — May 1, 2014

    Everyone knows of a nonprofit that seems to exist apart from every other organization and everything. The managers at this organization, usually successful at accomplishing mission and often adequately financed, seem content to keep its distance from peer organizations.

  • Strategy: It’s Not What You Think

    By Thomas McLaughlin — April 24, 2014

    There is little more valuable to a thriving nonprofit than a strategic chief financial officer (CFO). And, there is probably nothing harder to produce.

  • On The Dotted Line

    By Thomas McLaughlin — January 31, 2014

    The newly hired executive director seemed promising at first. He was the first full-time person in that position and had a year, more or less, of similar experience. It seemed like a good fit.

  • CEO Survival

    By Thomas McLaughlin — December 31, 2013

    It’s the first commandment of nonprofit CEO survival: thou shalt not get ahead of thy board. At least, not too far . . . But you do need to be a little ahead of them . . . Just not so much that they notice and get offended.

  • A Fresh Start

    By Thomas McLaughlin — December 2, 2013

    It’s time; time for change, that is. The old cliché that change is constant is still accurate. The changes seem to be coming at a faster pace than usual. Some of the biggest changes have already begun in many parts of the nonprofit sector and promise to continue for the better part of the next decade. Much of it is structural in nature — which makes it easier to predict — while at the same time the initial slow pace makes it easier to deny.

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