2020 July

The Board’s Role in Fundraising

Things to Remember:

  • The number one reason why people do not donate to an organization is that they are not asked to do so. (Faith-based organizations — churches, etc. — receive 32 percent of all giving because they ask for donations every week.)
  • Involvement invites investment.
  • The board must role model giving behavior for other prospects and donors to follow.
  • All fundraising is local. (Ensure your board represents your geography/service area, the major employers in your community, your legislative districts, etc.)
  • You may need to teach philanthropy before you can fundraise.
  • No organization owns a donor.
  • No donor gives away his or her last $500 (or $5,000).
  • You seldom get more than what you ask for.
  • Fundraising is about building and maintaining relationships — it is a marathon, not a sprint.
  • It’s much easier to get more money from an existing donor than $1 from a non-donor.

Board member activities – What you can do:

  • Cultivate ten new friends each year.
  • Send a letter to suspects/prospects in your community.
  • Call donors to thank them for their gifts. (Donors want prompt acknowledgment of their gift, confirmation that their gifts have been set to work as intended, and measurable results showing what effect their gift has had.)
  • Drop a personal note to lapsed donors.
  • Identify prospects for cultivation events.
  • Donate to the best of your ability.
  • Identify and recruit future board members who are willing to fundraise.
  • Speak frequently about your organization and its programs and purpose. (Chuck provides a worksheet on how to articulate the value your organization brings to its community in the session materials linked below.)
  • Accompany staff on solicitation/cultivation visits.
  • Join your bequest society and provide a testimonial.
  • Identify potential corporate donors.

Other tidbits:

  • Assess your board’s fundraising culture — Chuck provides an easy-to-use tool in the session materials — then create and support a culture of fundraising.
  • If you have a board member who is not willing to cultivate and steward gifts within his or her network, he or she should not be on the board. Having the right board is critical for effective fundraising.
  • Place fundraising on all of your board meeting agendas to discuss accomplishments and challenges. Publicly acknowledge board members involved in the process.
  • Ensure adequate staff support and staff resources for successful fundraising.
  • Include fundraising education in your board development activities.
  • Have all board members sign a board expectations statement that includes fundraising expectations, which should not be give get, but rather give and get.
  • The development committee’s role is help the staff engage the full board in fundraising — not to handle all of the board’s fundraising responsibilities.
  • Board members can be great fundraisers and never ask for money. Ninety percent of fundraising work is cultivation; 10 percent is ask.
  • Only way to grow your fundraising is to through donor retention and stewardship.
  • Donors worried about giving large gifts to young organizations without a history can set their money aside in donor-advised funds with community foundations, with instructions on how the money should be used if the organization fails.
  • Every well-established organization should have a planned giving program and “Make a bequest now” button on its website.

Chuck Loring, CFRE, senior governance consultant, from a 2017 BoardSource Leadership Forum

2020 July

Considering the Role of the Board and the Role of the CEO

by Karen Lehman, President/CEO

A collaborative and trusting relationship between the board and the chief executive is an important indicator of a healthy board and organization.  Cooperation, transparency, accountability, respect, and frequent communication are foundational for creating a positive board and chief executive relationship.

I am often asked to clarify the role differences between the board and chief executive.  Boundaries can become unclear, particularly when the organization goes through a transition or has difficult times.  Each are expected to have leadership knowledge and experience, both have a high level of responsibility, and both the chair and the chief executive are held at the highest level of accountability in the organization.  It’s very important to know what is expected in each role and stay as much in your lane as you can! 

BoardSource has a one-page checklist of the board role and responsibilities that is to the point. Essentially, the board is responsible for:

  • Establishing identity and direction (strategic plan, mission & vision statement, budgets, etc.)
  • Ensuring the necessary resources (fundraising, board recruitment/succession planning, chief executive performance, stakeholder input, etc.)
  • Providing oversight (outside auditor contract, risk management policies, achievement of goals, financial oversight, chief executive review, etc.)
  • Board operations (board assessment, board policies, committee work, board agendas, etc.)

The board hires the chief executive and delegates the daily management of the organization to that person.  This is typically the only position that the board hires and is responsible for their performance and compensation.  The key to this relationship is communication.  The chief executive must keep the board informed about the issues and activities in the organization.  The board monitors the organization’s reporting such as financial reports that provide financial ratios and budget goals, operational dashboards and other reports that provide information on risk management, quality, surveys, etc.  There are continual checks and balances – listening, evaluating and matching what is reported along with the data and reporting.

The board is responsible for the overall health and success of the organization. The chief executive is also responsible for the same, but their focus is on the operational aspects they are managing such as the right leadership, the best systems, proper procedures, etc., while the board focuses on the results and outcomes; looking at what the data says, achieving strategic goals, obtaining financial balances, fundraising goals, etc.

Over time, board and executive leadership practices and relationships turn into organizational culture.  These cultural expectations, whether good or not so good, are often hard to change and typically are not addressed until there is a transition in either the board chair or chief executive role. Experience tells us that there are many grey areas in the board and chief executive roles and while there are best practices to be followed, there is no one right way to govern an organization and is hopefully a relationship that is always open for learning and growth. 

Together the board and chief executive’s roles are to advance the mission and strive to achieve the vision of the organization.  This requires a healthy culture and trust that allows for testing responses, verifying information and the ability to challenge assumptions. 

There is no greater sense of achievement that boards and chief executives can have when their work results in high stakeholder satisfaction, low employee turnover, meeting financial targets, providing high quality service/care and reaching strategic goals.  This can only happen when there is high trust between the board and the chief executive, and together they have a passionate mutual commitment and focus on the mission. 

MHS supports your work in strengthening the board and chief executive’s work by providing faith grounded tools and resources.  We serve and support you in advancing your effectiveness, and ultimately your mission!  For more information about our board and chief executive assessment tools please contact Twila Albrecht, MHS Program Associate.

2020 July

Putting a Stop to Office Bullying

by Twila Albrecht and Chris Rahe

Whether overt or subtle, abrasive or silent, bullying can follow us from the school yard into the workplace.

According to Forbes magazine, workplace bullying affects 75% of workers.“Workplace Bullying is repeated, health-harming mistreatment of one or more persons (the targets) by one or more perpetrators. It is abusive conduct that is: threatening, humiliating, or intimidating, or work-interference, i.e. sabotage, which prevents work from getting done,” from Workplace Bullying Institute.

It’s not just a personnel issue, it is estimated to cost the nation’s businesses $450 to $500 billion in revenues annually.

As reported by, less than 20% of employers will help a bullied target, leaving 65.6 million victims without much recourse—other than, for 61% of them, leaving their job in order to escape the resulting emotional stress and suffering.

Bullying behaviors are common and can show up in the following ways:

  • Offensive communication – mocking, use of profanity, discrimination, yelling, silence (no open communication)
  • Belittling or demeaning someone’s work or ideas
  • Embarrassing someone publicly or talking about them behind their back
  • Blocking the advancement or growth of an employee
  • Isolating or excluding someone from activities or meetings
  • Setting unrealistic expectations or workloads so employees continually feel they have failed
  • Taking credit for another’s work and/or not giving credit where credit is due
  • Distorting the truth to promote your own agenda  
  • Creating unhealthy competition between employees by pitting them against each other
  • Disregard for staff well-being

Some of the items on this list are patterns that take place over a long period of time, and can go on undetected. Staff who are bullied often feel they don’t have the resources they need to fix their situation, so they feel stuck, and ultimately most leave the organization if there is no intervention.  This can result in high turnover rates for organizations where toxic workplace environments and/or processes are not addressed.

What can you do to make sure this toxic culture doesn’t infect your workplace? While incremental changes to policies and structures of communication are crucial, those of you in leadership positions can set the tone of your workplace. According to Training Magazine, Bullying would dramatically decrease if leaders would first openly and formally make aggressive or abusive conduct unacceptable. Here are some practical tips on how to minimize the issue:

  • Develop a formal code of conduct that:
    • Defines bullying in the workplace.
    • Educates staff on the negative effects of bullying on an individual and group’s morale and on the organization’s survival.
    • Raises awareness and responsibility of every group member.
    • Clearly defines penalties for non-compliance.
  • Create a “zero-tolerance” policy on the subject, comparable to zero tolerance for drugs, and enforce it at all levels without any exception.
  • Apply full transparency on the subject during staff meetings, while rewarding positive attitudes and discouraging/punishing bullying behaviors.
  • Ensure that executives manage by example, treating everyone fairly and with care, without exception—and condemning any bullying attitude.
  • Confront the bully without delay. Use a formal feedback form to report the perpetrator’s attitude and outline objectively any behavior that must change.
  • Train your HR staff to help people deal with bullying. Both the bully and his or her targets need to be educated, and procedures must be in place on how to deal with the issue.

Whether you are the target or have perpetuated bullying behavior, there are dozens of resources for handling a personal situation or influencing organizational change. Here are just a few for those ready to do the work:

*Although similar, bullying is different from sexual harassment or sexual abuse. If you are experiencing mistreatment in that way, seek professional and/or legal counsel.

2020 July

Lower Utility Bills to Offset COVID-19 Expenses?

Dianne Piet, your MHS dedicated CPS Client Account Manager
Dianne Piet, your MHS dedicated CPS Client Account Manager

With the multifaceted utility rate structures, incentive programs, rebates, tax credits, industry specific billing codes, meter readings and more – utilities are complex! Extensive knowledge of the utility industry’s billing process, as well as the local and state programs, is essential to effectively review your utility bills. With this amount of complexity, a small overpayment can easily go unnoticed until it is incorporated into your monthly utility budget for many years. Care Purchasing Services (CPS) has utility vendors that can execute comprehensive utility bill audits, make and implement recommendations to reduce your future utility bills and receive refunds on past charges and deliver full service consultations.

Don’t let the process of selecting a vendor detour you from these utility savings. Give Dianne Piet, your MHS dedicated CPS Client Account Manager, a quick phone call and she will guide you to the vendor(s) applicable to your state and best suits your needs. Dianne Piet phone: 603-935-7923, email:

Natural Gas, Electricity and Water

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Titan Energy is an independent energy consultancy group with in-depth knowledge of energy procurement, demand-side management and on-site generation services. Titan Energy creates comprehensive energy management strategies backed by data to control and reduce energy costs. [Learn more…]

Utility Refund Agency is the leading bill review company with in-depth and insider knowledge of the utility billing process combined with a proprietary review process. [Learn more…]

Waste Management

Refuse Specialists (RS) is a full service waste and recycling resource that focuses on increasing hauler/recycler bill accuracy, elevating visibility, increasing operational efficiencies and reducing costs. We are not waste haulers ~ we manage waste contractors, applying a powerful Big-Data approach to get the best prices, secure favorable contractual terms, audit invoices electronically, and provide comprehensive reporting using the RS proprietary workflow management software, ProRefuse™, so you can better manage the waste aspect of your operations with ease. RS’ objective is to save you 30% or more on your trash bills. [Learn more…]

2020 July

Welcome New Leaders

The past few months have seen new leaders at several of our member organizations and we’d like to spotlight them here.

Cate Michelle Desjardins

Mennonite Healthcare Fellowship

Cate Michelle Desjardins, MDiv, MPH, began as Executive Director of MHF in May of 2020. Cate is passionate about integrating spirituality and faith into healthcare on all levels. For the past five years, Cate has served part-time as a pediatric specialist chaplain at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, where she both conducts research and provides clinical chaplaincy.

Cristal Vincent

Fairlawn Retirement Community

Cristal Vincent has been named the new chief executive officer of the Fairlawn Retirement Community. Vincent has more than 20 years of experience in health care, and has served as a licensed nursing home administrator for more than seven years. She was previously CEO for Heritage Manor Rehabilitation and Retirement Community and Levy Gardens Assisted Living in Youngstown.

Jeanne Davies

Anabaptist Disabilities Network

Jeanne Davies serves ADN as executive director. She has been with ADN for two years and previously served as program director. Jeanne has also served as a pastor and as denominational staff for the Church of the Brethren.

Missy Kauffman Schrock

Center for Healing & Hope

Missy Kauffman Schrock, MBA, began as Executive Director of the Center for Healing & Hope beginning March 6, 2020. Prior to accepting this position, Schrock worked as the Director of Giving at Greencroft Communities.