When I first learned of Boynton Beach-based Nonprofits First, the organization was in its infancy. Initially, it was designed as a nonprofit capacity building operation that required agencies funded by Palm Beach County, the Children’s Services Council or the United Way of Palm Beach County to undergo a stress test (of sorts) prior to funding approval. Nearly every person I spoke with told me that the concept “doesn’t work”. Some called it a failure from the get-go and hoped it would flop. I don’t know why folks expressed such strong negative thoughts. One could view this from many different perspectives, but the bottom line is that what Nonprofits First had to offer, wasn’t welcomed.
"Everything changes but change itself." - John F. Kennedy
Ok. So, they didn’t exactly take off like a rocket. But the struggling start is old news. Read on to learn about one service line that the thriving organization offers to support the nonprofit community—so that they, in turn can focus on mission.
I’ve had several learning and sharing conversations with Kathy Adams, CEO of Nonprofits First. Adams took over in 2011 and began to see that the organization needed to make necessary changes to foster acceptance from the nonprofit community and to be financially thrivable. Fortunately, she has done both. Nonprofits First offers a broad range of services and I learn something every time we talk, but I have been particularly interested in the work that Nonprofits First is doing in providing back office services.
Data from La Piana Consulting indicates that the most popular areas for nonprofits to consolidate/outsource their back-office are IT, HR and Finance. This is consistent with the back office services of Nonprofits First, which provides these three services and more (Interim CEO; CEO search) to around 80 (and growing) nonprofits. Adams reports that there is demand for additional services—and they are on the drawing board.
The whole idea of collaboration/consolidation/outsourcing back office services is to assist nonprofits in getting their business affairs in order so that they can do what they do best—deliver valuable programs based on their mission.
Do you agree with the premise of back-office? I’m interested in learning more and ask readers to share their perspectives and experiences.
Learn about these and other concepts used in TPF's approach to philanthropy.
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