Monday, April 27, 2015

Meet Ian Cook: Our New Nonprofit Services Specialist!

We are excited to announce that Ian Cook will be joining our team at Charities Review Council!

Ian graduated from St. Olaf College with a BA in Music, an emphasis in Music Theory and Composition, a concentration in Educational Studies, and a K-12 Instrumental Music teaching license. Aside from Ian's love for all things music, he also currently serves as the Operations Manager for the Academy of Voices, having previously served as Treasurer on the board. Ian brings to the Council an array of nonprofit experience having worked with Northfield Youth Choirs, the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts, the Minnesota Music Educators Association, and the Banfill-Locke Center for the Arts. 

Ian is very interested in the role nonprofits play in the community and is excited to partner with nonprofit organizations to build their organizational capacity so that they can continue to do great work. Ian will be joining our Nonprofit Services Team as the Nonprofit Services Specialist, where he will provide support and technical assistance to nonprofits as they work through the Accountability Wizard® review process. 

To better 'get to know' Ian, we sat down to ask the tough questions, like, what's your favorite dessert, and more seriously, what's your favorite Accountability Standard. See what he had to say here:

1. What is your favorite Accountability Standard?
The Annual Report & Communication standard. This standard encourages nonprofits to engage with the community they serve by reporting on the work of the organization over the previous year in a transparent way. This keeps nonprofits accountable to the public they serve and allows for the organization to work with its constituents, rather than just for its constituents, by creating a space for the public to respond and engage with the nonprofit’s work. 

2. How have you seen nonprofits play a role in our community?
Most of my direct experience with nonprofits has been with arts organizations, particularly with youth-related music programs. These organizations can have a profound impact on the community by 1) developing musical skills for youth, even while many schools cut their music programs, 2) helping students develop deeper relationships with their peers, including students from different schools, and 3) creating a space where youth feel safe and willing to be vulnerable with each other.

3. When you’re not strengthening the capacity of nonprofit organizations, what do you like to do for fun?
I am an active musician in the Twin Cities. I sing tenor in the National Lutheran Choir and in the Academy of Voices, and play trombone in several musical pits and substitute in a few symphony orchestras in the Cities. I also write my own music, working as a freelance composer and engraver (typesetting music so that it’s publishable). I also love languages, reading, photography, designing websites, and constantly seeking new things to learn.

4. What is your favorite dessert?
I have a very big sweet tooth, and I like a lot of desserts, but my favorites are almost always pies (the occasional exceptions being brownies and flourless chocolate tortes). The very best dessert I have ever had was for my birthday a couple years ago when we made a pear cardamom chocolate ganache tart. 

5. What are you most excited for as you begin your journey with Charities Review Council?

I am very excited to grow my skills and knowledge of nonprofit governance, management, and reporting. I am also excited to collaborate and build relationships with nonprofits as they work to strengthen their capacity to do great work.

We're thrilled to have Ian on our team! Welcome Ian to Charities Review Council by sending him a tweet, email, or by connecting with him on LinkedIn.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

What We've Been Reading...

In keeping with the theme of National Volunteer week, here at Charities Review Council we have been reading about volunteering and the building of a vibrant culture of philanthropy. Here are just a few articles that we wanted to share with you:

Why Fundraisers Should Never Take a Volunteer for Granted: Volunteers and Fundraising Go Together Like Jelly on Toast by Joanne Fritz

There are many ways to become involved in the work of a nonprofit by giving your time, talent and treasure. This articles reinforces the important role that volunteering can play for the success of a nonprofit organization, noting that “87% of people who support cherished causes do so with both time and money, and 43% say that the causes they give to are also often the same ones where they volunteer.” The author subsequently urges nonprofits to remember this connection when designing volunteer experiences. Do you prefer to volunteer with an organization first before donating?

The Role of Core Values in Creating a Culture of Philanthropy by Lee Neel

This article highlights the key role of an organization’s core values in successfully generating a culture of philanthropy. The author defines a core value as a “principle that defines and guides an organization’s internal conduct as well as its relationship with the external world.” The article then goes on to detail the process of identifying core values and the crucial role of leadership in implementing an organization’s core values. What are the core values of your favorite nonprofit that resonate most with you?

Inspiring The Next Generation Workforce: The 2014 Millennial Impact Report by The Case Foundation and Achieve

This report explores how a company’s cause-related engagement influences a Millennial’s employment decisions and the subsequent culture of philanthropy that is emerging. With around 80 million Millennials currently living across the United States, they are poised to represent half of the workforce by 2020. The authors note that “[i]t’s not enough for a company to talk about their corporate social responsibility endeavors to gain public relations points. To create a culture of cause work that inspires better Millennial recruitment and retention, companies must offer employees meaningful opportunities to give, get involved and connect.” Do you enjoy participating in volunteer opportunities with your colleagues?

What have you been reading lately? Let us know if you come across an article or resource that you find particularly inspiring or educational!