Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Six Rules for Brand Revitalization

"McDonald's Did It, and You Can Too" by Larry Light Published: June 29, 2009 in Advertising Age

Larry Light Brands do not die natural deaths. However, brands can be murdered through mismanagement. Some brands are beyond hope -- but others can be revitalized.

Of course, it's not easy. But it is well worth the effort. We at Arcature developed the following principles and practices over the years while working with a variety of clients in a variety of businesses. They're also practices we applied during my tenure as global CMO of McDonald's from 2002 to 2005.

For a brand to be successfully revitalized, everyone needs to be on the same page. Then they must follow the six rules of brand revitalization listed here. This "Plan to Win," as we call it, is built around the eight P's: purpose, promise, people, product, place, price, promotion and performance. Read more at: http://adage.com/cmostrategy/article?article_id=137647

Monday, June 29, 2009

Bugbee Children's Center Offers Fund Development Workshop Opportunity July 7th

The Bugbee Children's Center is sponsoring a workshop with Joanne Yepsen, owner of Coltivare Consulting in Saratoga Springs, who specializes in fund development/capital campaigns. The workshop focusing on donor solicitation, "the big ask", will be in the Bacon Activity Room on the SUNY Oneonta campus on Tuesday, July 7th from 1pm - 4pm. Fee for the afternoon session is $50 per person. Register at childcenter@oneonta.edu by July 6th. Contact Marie Petta, Center Director for further information.

Date: Tuesday, July 7th
Where: Bacon Activity Room, SUNY Oneonta
Fee: $50 per person
For more information, call Marie Petta at 607-436-2484

Online Discussion Tuesday: Talk to Prominent Corporate Grant Makers

The following event was shared by Tara Collins from the Watershed Agricultural Council:

Join The Chronicle on Tuesday, June 30, for a live online discussion about the state of corporate philanthropy, with leaders from giving programs at Starbucks and Wal-Mart as well as other philanthropy experts.

Our guests will be:

  • Rodney Hines, executive director of the Starbucks Foundation and director of community investments for the Starbucks Coffee Company's Global Responsibility division. Previously, he was a community-affairs manager at the Microsoft Corporation.
  • Jackie Liao, manager of community investments for the Starbucks Coffee Company's Global Responsibility division. She also oversees the Starbucks Social Entrepreneurs Fund.
  • Margaret A. McKenna, president of the Wal-Mart Foundation.
  • Thomas Tighe, chief executive of Direct Relief International, an international medical aid organization, in Santa Barbara, Calif.
  • Mark Shamley, president of the Association of Corporate Contributions Professionals, in Mt. Pleasant, S.C.
The Chronicle's online discussions are free and open to everyone. People who ask questions in advance have a better chance of getting answers.

Have a training opportunity you want to share? Let us know.

Friday, June 26, 2009

UCCCA has change in leadership

Former OFO Executive Director Cheri Albrecht will become the interim executive director at the Upper Catskill Community Council of the Arts. Albrecht will help in the search for a permanent executive director. Read The Daily Star article here.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Otsego trims budget by 6.4%

The Daily Star reported that with slow sales-tax collections, the Otsego County Board of Representatives cut the county's 2009 budget by about $712,000 at Wednesday's meeting.
The resolution came from the county's Administration Committee, which has been working to pare expenses to match the revenue expected this year.

Last fall when the budget was crafted, the county planned to collect $33 million in sales tax in 2009. Otsego is ``about 6 percent behind so far,'' said Rep. James Johnson, R-Otsego, Administration Committee chairman, on Thursday.

Weeks ago, the committee asked department heads to propose cuts within their own budgets to help offset declining revenues.

``We asked what they'd cut if they had to reduce their budgets by 5 percent and by 10 percent,'' Johnson said.

Then, for the most part, the committee _ comprising Reps. Richard Murphy, D-Oneonta, Betty Anne Schwerd, R-Burlington, and Johnson _ took the larger proposed cuts, combined them and came up with savings of more than $700,000.

Johnson said more cuts may be in the offing, as other department heads have proposed reductions since the last Administration Committee meeting.

County Board Chairman James Powers, R-Butternuts, said the county needs to cut about $1.1 million to avoid going over budget. The county has a budget of more than $111 million, but much of the money originates with the state and federal governments.

The county's revenue comes primarily from sales taxes and property taxes.
At least part of each item cut Wednesday is paid for with local funds, Powers said.
``One thing I should mention is this is not fat in the budget,'' he said. ``We've cut things we should be doing, but given the state of the economy, we have no choice.''
The resolution to cut expenses was approved by all representatives present Wednesday except for Scott Harrington, R-Oneonta.

``I voted `no' because I don't think the cuts went far enough,'' Harrington said after the vote.
Among cuts made was $167,164 from the county's road fund, including nearly $70,000 in salaries and benefits at the Highway Department, $50,000 for asphalt, stone, sand and oil, and
$40,000 earmarked for local bridge repairs.

The Department of Social Services's contract line saw a subtraction of $34,117. Public health nursing lost $58,356 in salaries and benefits, and the county jail's medical expenses budget was reduced by $13,000.

The board of representatives cut its information technology equipment-hardware budget by $8,475, as well as lodging meals and tolls by $600 and its telephone budget by $1,100.
Powers and Johnson noted that last spring, the board adopted a similar but less-sweeping resolution, opting not to fill all vacant funded positions.

On Thursday, Martin Donnelly, who chairs Delaware County's Finance Committee, said most counties in the state are in the same fix this year and are following a similar course.

``Our sales-tax collection is down, and we're watching every nickel we spend,'' he said.
Delaware County has a freeze on hiring, and equipment purchases are scrutinized closely, allowed only if absolutely necessary, he said.
``We're having a tough year," Johnson said, "but we have to remember the taxpayers are having a tough year, too."

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Crisis as an Opportunity Panel Discussion

The LAEA held their June 10th meeting called Crisis As Opportunity: Employing Strategies to Reduce Expenses that may Strengthen your Organization. The meeting began with a small group activity of participants looking at how they are responding in their personal lives to today's economic challenges. Ideas shared were:
  • Cut cable
  • Doing more with home
  • Being outside
  • Modify mortgage
  • Cutting eating out
  • Change brand of dog food
  • Cut down on garbage
  • Recycle
  • Plant a garden
  • Yard sale
  • Ride bus to work
  • Change utility provider
  • Move from land line to cell phone
  • Stay with grocery list
  • Use cash
  • Energy efficiency
  • Economize on vacations
  • Work multiple jobs to build up income
  • Thinking about purchases that aren't essential
  • Careful about what were we put our money
  • Pool as neighbors, share lawnmower, kids clothes, etc
  • Educate kids and setting good examples for them

The program then transitioned to a panel discussion featuring the following EDs:

  • Susan Kenny, Roxbury Arts Group
  • Debra Marcus, Planned Parenthood
  • Liz Callahan, Hanford Mills Museum
  • Jonathan Ullman, Soccer Hall of Fame
The panel began by discussing the challenges facing their nonprofits. Jonathan Ullman began by sharing that the Soccer Hall of Fame is looking at a long-term plan. The Museum can't just put a band-aid on to address issues. They are focusing on deferred maintenance needs now. They need to revitalize the museum to grow and attract audiences. They need to reinvent the organization.

The panelists all agreed that the problems they have now existed before the downturn, but these issues were exacerbated by the economic challenges.

Each organization is facing different challenges. Planned Parenthood is facing staffing issues and business costs associated with implementing electronic medical records. Roxbury Arts Group has seen funding cuts from the state and foundations. Donations and art sales are down too. Hanford Mills Museum has seen similiar developments.

A number of panelists developed different budget scenarios to help their nonprofit proactively respond to funding cuts. Their organizations have put more effort into fundraisers. They are scaling back and focus their efforts. They are working to cover what they are doing now. The panelists also agreed that funders need to look at general operating instead of emphasizing new programs or efforts. Overall, their organizations need to be more productive and effecient.

Cost cutting
Cost cutting is a focus for many nonprofits. These organizations are looking at many areas, including: promotions; how staff are used; different ways of compensating employees; and staff furloughs.

Revenue generation
Generating more money is a main focus for many of the panelists. Ideas include: facility rentals; new membership campaign; new fundraisers; new approaches to sponsorship; and contracting services out (like food service).

Role of staff
The panelists found consensus about the role of staff in meeting these economic challenges. In order for the organization to survive, staff must adapt and change. The staff who don't engage will eventually leave or be asked to leave the organization. Overall, flexibility is key.

The panelists also addressed the importance of the board and engagement. Nonprofits are faced with doing business in a new way. They can't look short-term, but need to change their behavior. Core ideas to help make this happen are:
  • Planning
  • Board education
  • Transparency
  • Communication

Watch some of the meeting below:

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Foothills looks to big acts

The Daily Star reported that the Foothills Performing Arts Center is raising the curtain on acts to attract audiences.

Entertainers from New York City and throughout New England are coming to perform at the Market Street center in Oneonta.

Music, drama, poetry and films are planned this month. A vaudeville series for adults and children's workshops are set for July and August. Ticket prices range from $5 to $25.

The programming is a sea change for Foothills, said Jennifer McDowall, who started as executive director about two months ago.

The development and prospects are exciting, supporters said, but challenges remain to sell tickets and find sponsors.

The 624-seat theater, scene shop and atrium are under construction on the site of the former West Nesbitt feed mill. The adjacent 10,350 square-foot production center was completed in 2005 and has been the site of many shows and activities.

As work continues on building the theater, the center has taken risks by spending money to present performers in its existing spaces, McDowall said Thursday.

Goals include increasing revenue and sponsorships and satisfying different theatrical and musical tastes by offering a range of entertainment options. Read more here.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Health plan would tax medical benefits

The Washington Times reported that Congressional leaders searching for ways to fund an overhaul of the nation's health care system are prepared to tax for the first time employer-provided medical benefits.

But growing bipartisan support for a tax on the most expensive health benefits belies the pending battle on how to use revenue to reform the health care system. And there are vocal opponents of the plan that Senate leaders are expected to introduce this week, including business groups and labor unions.

"None of the proposed ways of expanding health care benefits are going to be easy to enact politically," said Mark McClellan, director of the Engelberg Center for Health Care Reform at the Brookings Institution.

Democrats favor taxing the most expensive plans and using revenues to help pay for a public insurance plan. Republicans favor giving individuals, instead of employers, a tax credit to buy private insurance. And opponents to the proposal say taxing the one aspect of the current health care system that works may not be a good idea. Read more here.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Executive Director Job Posting

WAC Executive Director
Position Description

The Executive Director will serve as the Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer and is responsible for day-to-day management, supervision and administration of all Watershed Agricultural Council programs and as Chief Financial Officer responsible for management of Watershed Agricultural Council resources.


A) General
· Support WAC Board and Committees
· Assure legal and ethical propriety of all activities

B) Personnel
· Manage WAC staff including hiring, terminating, and evaluating.
· Develop written position descriptions for all WAC staff
Ensure annual written performance reviews of all WAC staff are performed.
· Take appropriate course of action for unsatisfactory performance in accordance with WAC personnel policies.

C) Contracts
· Manage fiscal and physical resources of WAC including preparation of budget and financial statements, and inventory of physical assets.
· Negotiate all contracts.
· Develop subcontracts as appropriate to complete Council tasks. Supervise subcontracts and provide fiscal oversight plus compliance with contract deliverables.
· Act as contracting and procurement officer.

D) Budget
· Prepare all WAC budgets.
· Ensure Council expenditures are consistent with the adopted budgets; seek Board approval for budget modifications.

E) Liaison
· Act a liaison with WAC partners, stakeholders, media, and grantors.

F. Fund Development
· Direct fund development activities

· Bachelors Degree required, Master degree a plus
· Two years executive management experience preferably in leading organizational change focused on staff accountability for results
· Demonstrated strong leadership skills
· Established track record of program development and administration
· Fund development experience
· Strong communications skills
· Experience with contract and budget development and management thereof.
· Proven ability to provide supervision consistent with written policies.
· Experience in working with Board of Directors and resulting committee structures.
· Ability to work well and maintain relationships with a wide variety of people including rural and urban, public agency staff, farmers and foresters, and elected officials.
· Strong delegation, team building and consensus development skills.

Reporting Relationships:
The Executive Director will be responsible to the WAC Board through the Executive Committee and shall be evaluated by the Executive Committee.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Responding to Tough Times

The Daily Star reported that Hartwick College has announced additional layoffs in order to meet a reduced budget. In May, the college trustees approved a $42.6 million budget for 2009-10 that is $3.1 million, or 6.8 percent, less than the $45.7 million budgeted for July 1, 2008, to June 30. Read more here.

Like many area nonprofits, Hartwick College is working to adapt and adjust to the economic downturn. Some of the other planned college actions to reduce the 2009-10 operating budget include cutting employee hours; scrutinizing vacancies to determine the need to fill positions; delaying expenditures; doing capital improvements based on maintaining services; and reminding the college community it can help reduce utility expenses.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Strategic Management in Tough Times

The NY Council of Nonprofits offered a training recently at the Fenimore Art Museum to help Otsego County nonprofits address:
  • The immediate effects on nonprofits of the current economic crisis
  • Strategic planning concepts as they apply in this recessionary environment
  • Strategies & their implications for developing a Short-Term Strategic Management Plan
The participants discussed:
1.What has been the immediate impact of the economy on your nonprofit?
2.Are you in a survival mode?
3.What changes have occurred in how you do business?
4.What opportunities ahead do you see?

Are you putting your own Short-Term Strategic Management Plan together? This Strategic Management Plan is a comprehensive but quick-action plan, usually within a fiscal year, that is built on reality, scenarios, contingencies and sound risk management. The Plan incorporates retrenchment along with opportunity strategies & considers longer term implications.

Have input about your own Plan? Share your feedback here.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Richfield Springs woman named "Woman of Distinction"

Jackie Hinckley of Richfield Springs has been selected as a 2009 New York State Woman of Distinction, state Sen. James Seward, R-Milford, said.

“I am proud to honor Jackie Hinckley as a Woman of Distinction and prouder still of the recognition she has earned from her neighbors, colleagues and friends for her achievements on behalf of our community,” he said.

Hinckley was instrumental in taking the Zone Community Center in the Richfield Springs area from a dream to reality, Seward said. She helped oversee fundraising efforts that brought in over $130,000 to build the community youth center, serving on the youth center’s board of directors as president and currently as treasurer.

“Jackie is one of those success stories that we can proudly share with our daughters, sisters and neighbors and who will serve as an example for achievement and excellence for our entire community,” Seward said.

Mini-grants available to nonprofits

The Daily Star reported that the New York Council of Nonprofits and the United Way of Delaware and Otsego Counties is accepting applications for its Delaware County Mini-Grant Program.

The annual program is designed to improve the governance and management operations of qualifying 501(c)(3) nonprofits that are located in or provide substantial services to Delaware County.

Grants will be awarded competitively on a first-come, first-served basis to qualifying nonprofits with approved project activities. Grant criteria and application are available by request. The earlier a qualified application, is submitted the more likely grant funds will be available, officials said.

NYCON, formerly CCSNYS, is a governance, management and support services organization serving charities in the state. NYCON has a membership of more than 1,600 charities of all types and has offices in Albany, New York City, Buffalo, Poughkeepsie and Oneonta.
United Way of Delaware and Otsego Counties serves 12 programs in nine health and human service organizations, as well as providing support for the Delaware County Mini-Grant Program.

For more information, contact Andrew Marietta at 436-3124 or at amarietta@nycon.org, or Theresa Capuano at 432-8006 or uwaytf@stny.rr.com.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Learning group granted charter

The Daily Star reported that the dreams of opening a children's museum in Oneonta have moved a step closer to reality with approval of a charter by the state Board of Regents.

Andrea Thies, vice president of the Oneonta World of Learning Board of Trustees, said she talked with state Department of Education officials on Friday who told her OWL had a five-year provisional charter to open a museum.

``It's fabulous,'' Thies said. ``That's really special and significant news.''

OWL submitted the application to the state in March, Thies said, and with the approval, OWL gains opportunities to apply for grants and resource support. Through the charter approval, OWL is incorporated, she said, and the organization is seeking nonprofit status.

OWL trustees will discuss charter approval and starting a capital campaign at their next meeting June 16, said Rachel Rissberger, OWL board president. Initial plans are to raise $1 million for a building, creation of exhibits and hiring a museum director, among other start-up costs, she said.
Three local mothers _ Thies, Rissberger and Amy Pondolfino _ have been working since September on generating ideas and support for OWL. The co-founders set a goal to have a permanent location for a children's museum with family-oriented programming. The closest children's museums are in Binghamton, Utica, Troy and Saratoga. In Oneonta, the Science Discovery Center is at the State University College at Oneonta.

In New York state, a museum seeking status as a nonprofit education corporation must have a charter from the Board of Regents, the state Education Department website said, and a provisional or absolute charter may be granted. A provisional charter is granted for three to five years to organizations that have reasonable prospects of meeting Regents standards, the website said. An absolute charter is granted to museums that meet the standards. Read more here.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Panel Discussion Questions

The following questions have been developed for our panel discussion at the upcoming Leatherstocking AEA program next week, June 10th:

The Panel will begin with an introduction and a list a few of the major issues facing them. These questions will then be discussed:
  • What changes, both large and small, have you made in organizational structure or process to help cut costs? Could these cost-saving strategies be replicated by any not-for-profit organization? If these changes include staff reductions or compensation changes, describe them in general and how you decided to move in that direction.
  • What ways are you using technology to cut costs? Do you feel that technology has been an overall help or a hindrance in your efforts to reduce costs? Please explain.
  • Have you experienced any positive changes or epiphanies in your quest to reduce organizational expenses?
  • What ways are you developing to better connect with your funders and customers/members (both agencies and individuals)?
  • In the long run, do you believe that this current period of "belt-tightening" will result in long term changes within your organization, the services you provide and the overall mission of your agency?

Have comments or want to share your answers? Post in response here.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

ED Program Panel Announced

The Wed, June 10th AEA program, Crisis As Opportunity: Employing Strategies to Reduce Expenses that may Strengthen your Organization, will help us to both laugh at and manage the pain involved with making cuts, offer you some good ideas for reducing organizational expenditures and help you to identify the occasional and unexpected benefits of trimming our proverbial belts.

The program will also feature a panel discussion of nonprofit executive director peers, who will relate their experiences and ideas for responding to the present economic challenges.

Panel Discussion - Each panel member will list a few of the ways that they have or will address financial shortfalls within their own organizations. LEARN NEW IDEAS AND DISCUSS YOUR OWN!

Panel Announced!
Susan Kenny, Roxbury Arts Group
Debra Marcus, Planned Parenthood
Liz Callahan, Hanford Mills Museum
Jonathan Ullman, Soccer Hall of Fame

Date: Wed, June 10th, 2009
Time: 8:30am to 10:30am
Cost: Free
Location: Soccer Hall of Fame
18 Stadium Circle
Oneonta, NY 13820

Register here