Heather Comstock Connects

Helping nonprofits and other volunteer organizations develop strong relationships and a clear voice in the community.

Category Archives: Governance

May? Already?

With the warmer weather, I have been slacking off a bit. Here’s a few gems I have found in my RSS reader that have gotten me thinking about nonprofit issues. Enjoy! The Chronicle of Philanthropy provides an overview of the Mark Zuckerberg donation to the Newark Schools and the recent look back at how the …

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Learning from Opposites

I am preparing for another presentation at the Annapolis Library next week and I am thinking about nonprofit start up. Doing these presentations is always enjoyable because of the people I get to meet. It is also a wee bit intimidating. As I think about the kinds of organizations the attendees represent or are interested …

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December: When Calendar and Fiscal Years Collide

It is the end of December and I am amazed that Christmas is almost upon us! I have neglected my poor blog here as I have been very busy winding down the year.  I wanted to share what I’ve been up to  because these end of the year tasks are very easy to lose track …

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Don’t Let Planning Get In the Way

I am currently involved with a small group working through some personal organizing strategy and it calls to mind some failed strategic planning and even some general planning meetings I have attended. Unfortunately, the planning process can be so interesting and exhilarating it is easy to get sidetracked and not get anything really accomplished. So …

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By-Laws: The Pitchfork of the Nonprofit World

Picture the classic movie mob of villagers rampaging on the local mad scientist’s castle. There’s always one guy wielding a pitchfork, right? It is a valuable tool for farmers but can also double as a weapon. One could argue the same thing about nonprofit by-laws. Unfortunately, by-laws get a bad rap because too often they …

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You Can’t Pick Your Family…For Your Nonprofit Board?

“We are family!” says the Sly and the Family Stone song. People trust family and rely on those relationships. Family can be a springboard when you’re doing something big and need support, but do you want to include family on your board? Can you include family members on your board? Like most nonprofit questions, the …

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Is Your Organization Ready for Scrutiny?

Did you know that IRS code 501(c) has designations from 1 through 27 and then some?* I learned that a few years ago working on my certificate in Nonprofit Financial Management at UMUC. That is a mind-boggling number and it doesn’t even include the political parties and groups. The Chronicle of Philanthropy wrote a great …

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Start-Up Growing Pains Are Nothing New: The Acts of the Apostles

During the Christian liturgical year from Easter through Pentecost, many churches study the Acts of the Apostles which describes the formation of the early Christian Church. As I listen to these readings, I realize the Apostles wrestle with familiar start-up issues: organizational and operational structures and how to grow without sacrificing mission. Moving on without …

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Spring To Do Items

Spring has finally arrived here in the Mid-Atlantic bringing flowers and pollen! This time of year always kicks off a flurry of activities for many nonprofits so here’s a quick checklist of things to keep in mind before you skive off to play hooky! Annual Meeting – every incorporated nonprofit is required to have at …

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A Few Minutes on Minutes

Minutes. We love to hate them don’t we? The quality of minutes is all over the place. I’ve seen some groups that literally include a verbatim transcript of the meeting (snore) to minutes where major decisions of the board are glossed over (uh, what just happened?) offhandedly.  Nobody wants to be the secretary and take …

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