Women at WorkThe holiday season is a time of joy and cheer for many, however this time can also bring an increased demand for services from nonprofits like yours that serve some of our community’s most vulnerable populations. Individuals and families turn to you for help in their times of need, and we want to say “thank you” by providing your organization with a unique pro bono capacity building opportunity.

Taproot Foundation (www.taprootfoundation.org) is honored to invite you to participate in a Speed Consulting workshop that will help you troubleshoot some of your organization’s challenges in areas of marketing, human resources, information technology, and strategy. This opportunity will pair you with a group of Taproot’s talented pro bono consultants for one-on-one consulting sessions that will provide you with capacity-building guidance and potential solutions.

DATE: Friday, December 5, 2014

TIME: 8:30am – 12:00pm (networking breakfast included)

LOCATION: The California Endowment, 1000 North Alameda Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012

Who should attend?

This workshop is designed for executive or program leaders at your organization. These leaders may include your CEO or Executive Director, a volunteer/operations/program manager, or any one or two representatives you deem appropriate. Past participation in a Taproot Service Grant project is not required.

Please RSVP to Sarah Swain - (213) 620-0113- no later than Friday, November 21. Provide your organization name, attendees, email, phone, and titles for each participant, and indicate “Speed Consulting” in the subject line of the email RSVP. In addition to your email, please complete this brief survey that will assess your organization’s needs and prepare both you and the consultants for a highly impactful session. This session is open to all human services nonprofits however space is limited so RSVP today to reserve your spot.

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Everything Is Coming Up Roses for JRP Volunteer

Mitch Dorger

Nonprofit management guru Mitch Dorger makes his first visit to Arlington Garden in southern Pasadena. Jericho Road Pasadena volunteers have aided the organization that runs the garden.

When Mitch Dorger finished ten years as Chief Executive Officer of the Pasadena Tournament of Roses in 2010, he considered getting a new job. But then his wife asked him a question: “Do you really want to work 12 hours a day, six days a week for the next five years?”
He did not. So what does an active retiree do with his new-found free time?
He decided to start his own consulting company (www.dorgerconsulting.com). After all, hadn’t he succeeded at running Air Force bases and providing support for private colleges? Now, he brings his diverse management wisdom to organizations he feels passionate about. He sometimes even consults for free.
“When I retired, I was very happy with the career that I had and the money that we had been able to put away,” he explained. “I was fortunate. I didn’t have to work. I thought about what had been missing from my career and decided I hadn’t done enough to give back to society.”
Dorger realized he was an odd type of consultant. He finds that most consultants are hired because they have in-depth, narrowly focused knowledge. He describes that kind of knowledge as a mile deep and two-inches wide. He always wanted to be more of a Renaissance man, with knowledge two-inches deep and a mile wide.
Now the retired Air Force colonel—he spent 26 years in the Air Force—specializes in what he terms “organizational effectiveness,” which includes leadership effectiveness, governance, strategic planning, and organizational processes and procedures.
He devotes his time because of his passionate belief in the value of nonprofit organizations. This comes from a man who served in the highest-paid position of an organization that generates more than $40 million annually—the Pasadena Tournament of Roses, one of the highest profile nonprofits in California.
“Pasadena has had a tremendous influence on me,” Dorger said. “Besides Washington, D.C., Pasadena has the most nonprofits per capita.” He believes most of the good things here are provided by nonprofits “that make the fabric of life in Pasadena so rich.”
An acquaintance sent Dorger to Jericho Road Pasadena (JRP). Director Melanie Goodyear didn’t have enough volunteers with expertise in board development and nonprofit governance, so was happy to put Mitch to work. Mitch has now volunteered with three organizations that wanted help in board development, including JRP. Beyond volunteering directly with local nonprofits, Mitch also trained a dozen other volunteers to be board coaches, so JRP has been able to significantly increase the number of board development projects in 2014.
“I think that the concept of JRP is a wonderful one because it matches volunteers with skills and organizations that need special skills but do not have the financial capability to hire them: The right concept in the right time with the right people.”
With his passion for nonprofits also comes concern for their leadership and sustainability.
“Nonprofit boards often don’t know what they don’t know,” Dorger said. “We have a shortage of people who can answer the call for board members.” What particularly concerns him is when he sees a board’s lack of involvement or not understanding its responsibilities.
“You have to know what the law requires of you,” he stressed. “You have a fiduciary responsibility to the organization and to the public.” This requirement coincides with his belief in solid procedures and protocols.
“A nonprofit is a business, but it’s not a profit-driven business—it’s mission driven,” Dorger stressed. “You need processes and procedures to make your mission happen.”
“If you don’t have a product or service to earn money, you have to raise money,” he said. “Boards sometimes think that only experts in fundraising can do that, but fundraising is really ‘friend raising’. It’s all about engaging people and sharing the passion of the board members for their organization.”
Mitch Dorger’s advice for nonprofit managers centers on asking for help:
• Don’t be afraid to ask for help, particularly senior managers. Because many nonprofits have such small staffs, there is often only one of you.
• In addition, it’s tough to know all you need to know about a nonprofit organization. You need to seek out training, books, or experts or consultants from JRP to better contribute to society.
• Understand that you’re not going to know everything from experience in one small organization.
“They’re taking up one of the noblest professions that they can,” he said of people choosing to work for nonprofits. “Whether it is human services, culture, the environment or education, they are contributing to the betterment of civilization. They are probably not going to make that much money. Anyone who is entering the nonprofit world to be rich will probably not meet their goals. Take heart in the good that you do contributing to people and society.”
Although he was raised in Virginia, the son of a career military officer, 2014 marks Dorger’s 20th year in California. He and his wife of 46 years never plan on leaving Pasadena.
He does have two passions outside his work: travel and researching his family’s genealogy. Part of that travel involves visiting his two children and three grandchildren.
One nugget he has found in the family tree was that his grandfather worked to finish the Titanic and her sister ship, the Olympic. Fortunately, his grandfather, an apprentice machinist at the time, did not sail on the ill-fated Titanic in April 1912, or else Pasadena would be without a gifted consultant working for gratis.

Many thanks to volunteer Ned Racine for writing this article! Ned communicates in a variety of visual and written media, particularly social media. He has helped nonprofits with their strategic communication plans.

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Giving Back While Doing Your Holiday Shopping

smileWill you shop online for holiday gifts? If so, there are several ways to give a percentage to Jericho Road Pasadena (www.jrpasadena.org), or any other nonprofit you support. Amazon’s Smile program sends a percentage of your Amazon purchases back to the nonprofit of your choice; all you have to do is set that preference to your Amazon account: smile.amazon.com.

GoodShop (www.goodsearch.com/goodshop) also gives a percentage back if you use their portal to shop at hundreds of different online stores.

However you shop this holiday season, we appreciate you selecting Jericho Road Pasadena as your beneficiary!

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JRP Office Will Be Closed on Tues. Nov. 11

in observance of Veterans Day. You can more information on the history of Veterans Day v4_dcand ideas for activities with kids at http://www.va.gov/opa/vetsday/. More information on Pasadena’s program is at: http://cityofpasadena.net/EkContent.aspx?theme=Navy&id=8589938401&bid=2970&style=news.

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E-Waste Event on November 8

Pasadena Rose LogoRecycle Your Obsolete Electronics! November 8, 9 am to 3 pm, Brookside Park, Parking Lot I (south of the Rose Bowl)

  • Open to all Pasadena residents and businesses
  • Free on-site document shredding; limit of 5 legal size boxes

For more information, visit https://eservices.cityofpasadena.net/CWE/communications/130595299471051250/Ewaste%20flyer.pdf or contact the City of Pasadena Public Works Dept 626-744-7311

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The Overhead Myth: Moving Toward a Solution

overheadIn 2013, Jacob Harold, President and CEO of GuideStar (www.guidestar.org or @GuideStarUSA) joined with colleagues at BBB Wise Giving Alliance and Charity Navigator to write an open letter to the donors of America explaining that “overhead ratios” are a poor way to understand nonprofit performance.

He states:

As you know, these ratios—the percent of charity expenses that go to administrative and fundraising costs—tell us nothing about an organization’s performance against its mission.

We believed that the nonprofit sector was hungry to dispel this “Overhead Myth.” The field’s extraordinary reaction to the first letter has thunderously affirmed that belief.

Today, we build on that momentum by offering a second letter to you, the nonprofits of America. In this second letter we suggest a set of steps nonprofits can take to help us all move beyond the Overhead Myth. In simple terms, we must offer donors an alternative.

We believe it will take a shared effort to focus donors’ attention on what really matters: your organization’s efforts to make the world a better place. Please join us as we seek to move from the Overhead Myth to the Overhead Solution.

Jacob Harold, President and CEO, GuideStar

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Don’t Forget to Vote on Tuesday, Nov. 4!

VoteYourMissionWe’re lucky to live in a country where we can freely express our opinions and have a say in our laws and leadership. Don’t forget to vote on Tuesday! Less people vote in mid-term elections, because they don’t think they’re as important, or they don’t know about the issues, but making your voice heard is a cornerstone of our democracy. Here are some resources if you need more information about what’s on the ballot. One of my favorites is the East Voter Guide: http://www.easyvoterguide.org/. CalNonprofits has lots of resources at http://calnonprofits.org/programs/voteyourmission/voting-resources. Happy voting!

@calnonprofits   @EasyVoterGuide

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