Rollins College Nonprofit Leadership and Philanthropy Center: The Importance of Networking
(7 pages of text)
Margaret Linnane had just arrived home from a funders’ meeting where she had been asked questions that nearly challenged the very purpose of her nonprofit organization, Rollins College Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership Center (PNLC). She had been unprepared for the tough questions the funders had asked and she knew that she would need to be much better prepared for the next meeting in one month. She needed answers to the funders’ questions in four short weeks, so Linnane and the PNLC staff put other efforts on hold while they worked intensely to prepare. They gathered all the documents on the PNLC’s mission, vision, and strategic plan. They needed to determine what information to compile to convince the funders that the PNLC’s services (such as networking among established chief executive officers and foundation directors, and introducing newcomers to the nonprofit community) contributed to the professionalization of nonprofit leaders and organizations while addressing critical community issues — even if such services had not yet generated any revenue. What outcome measures were appropriate for assessing the success of non-income-generating activities such as networking? To start to search for answers to such questions, Linnane decided to review PNLC’s performance from the last two years and build a strategy for 2011-2012. Time was of the essence because without the support of funders, PNLC would be hard-pressed to continue offering its well-established networking activities.
This case is appropriate for classes in nonprofit management and for leadership courses that cover the concepts of professional networking and performance measurement. This case is most appropriate for students at the master’s level and for executive education. The case may be appropriate for upper level undergraduate courses if students have some work experience. In addition to introducing students to the nonprofit sector, this case discusses the important role of a specialized centre dedicated to improving the professional skills of volunteers, workers, and leaders in the sector. Specifically, students completing this case will learn the following:
- How to assess performance on the basis of mission.
- How to measure program effectiveness and outcome.
- How to determine and communicate the influence of networking on professional development.
United States, Small, 2011
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