Summer 2011

10 Essentials for Educational Institutions and Community-Based Nonprofit Organizations


Frances Hesselbein, President and CEO of the Leader to Leader Institute and Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient, reminds us of the importance of developing a common language leading to a common vision resulting in common ground. An analysis of the desired outcomes shared by educational institutions and community-based nonprofit organizations reveals that there are many similarities between these two parts of the social sector. Both types of organizations are seeking:

1.    Additional Revenue– As government funding is declining and organizations are facing challenging economic times, there is a need to generate revenue in new and creative ways. Organizations must be more dependent on philanthropic support if they are to advance their respective missions.

2.    Effective Strategic Planning– Developing a solid strategic plan focused on the organization’s mission, values, vision, strategic directions and measurable goals is one of the proven strategies to move an organization from good to great. Noted thought leader Jim Collins states, “Greatness is not a function of circumstance. Greatness it turns out, is largely a matter of conscious choice, and discipline.”

3.    Informed and Passionate Advocates– In today’s high tech world, there is still nothing more powerful than an individual person becoming an informed and passionate advocate for their given cause. For some organizations, it entails an alumnus talking with a legislator about the quality education he or she received and the importance of federal or state support to the educational enterprise. In other cases, it might be a mom or dad telling neighbors about a wonderful after school program for children with special needs. Both advocates speak with passion and give a voice to that particular cause.

4.    Committed and Effective Board Members Educational and nonprofit boards are needed to provide key deliverables such as oversight, counsel, expertise, resources and ideas. Effective boards continually assess how well the organization is carrying out its mission, and they consider what other groups are doing in an effort to adopt and adapt new ideas as appropriate. High performing boards create a culture of open inquiry. Historically, we have observed that the most effective boards are those which ask the “tough questions” in a respectful manner, while not being complacent with the status quo.

5.    Dedicated Volunteers- It is inconceivable to think of how educational institutions and nonprofit organizations would function without a cadre of dedicated volunteers. Volunteers are the lifeblood of both types of organizations. They provide the time and talent needed to make these operations work. Did you ever calculate the billable hours of your volunteers’ time associated with a given event or board meeting? It tends to be a staggering number, and should remind us to be respectful of their time, while always extending a sincere thank you for their help.

6.    Opportunities to Tell Their Story- With increasing use of social media, organizations are seeking new ways to capitalize on these communication channels to tell their stories. It often comes down to how well organizations can demonstrate that they are truly making a difference and engaging their constituents. It is interesting to compare the number of people who visit an organization’s website or the activity level on a group’s Facebook or LinkedIn pages with the number who attend particular programs, and then analyze the amount of resources the organization dedicates to each effort. This calls into question whether we need to rethink our definition of engagement and redeploy our resources accordingly. 

7.    Greater focus on Metrics- Metrics is one of those hot concepts like dashboards, which many education and nonprofit leaders are discussing today. How do we know our organizations are advancing our missions without some sense of measurement? Many organizations are struggling to identify what should be measured, exploring ways to track these metrics and then attempting to assess their impact. Dashboards present a quick “snapshot” regarding how the organization is doing over a given length of time, based upon a series of agreed upon metrics. We have collected a number of excellent examples of different kinds of dashboards used by various organizations and would be glad to share them with you if this would be helpful.

8.    Engaged Constituents- Research from the Independent Sector along with research we conducted in higher education clearly reveals a very strong correlation between engagement and investment. This investment comes in the form of giving of one’s time, talent and/or treasure. A study at a major research university revealed that overall 15 % of the alumni gave in FY’10 compared to 30- 79% giving among different cohorts we identified. Engagement clearly leads to investment.

9.    Valued Partners- In this era of having to do more with less, a key strategy is to forge effective and valued partnerships that play to the strengths of all parties involved. When is the last time your organization completed an environmental scan to see which groups might be natural partners?

10.  Communities of Practice: There is a real need to continue to learn from similar organizations, and one such strategy to accomplish this objective is to be part of a community of practice. If you don’t enjoy this kind of support, consider doing a Google search, checking your LinkedIn connections or contacting your professional association to find out who might be doing similar work. Given the power of the web, online communication allows for communities of practice to be global in participation yet targeted in focus.

As we work to help advance the mission of both educational institutions and nonprofit organizations, we hope you find comfort in knowing that various enterprises within the social sector have much in common, and can learn a great deal from each other.

We welcome you to post your thoughts and comments on our blog @ or to write us @ at


Thank you for all you do to advance the social sector.

About the authors:


Leland D. Patouillet, Ph.D., President of Patouillet Consulting enjoys more than 30 years of experience serving in senior institutional advancement positions at the University of South Florida, the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Florida while working with numerous nonprofit organizations.


Mary H. Patouillet, BA, MA, and BSN combines a passion for writing with experience in health care, higher education and nonprofit communications. Patouillet served as a Senior Research Associate for the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC), and is responsible for all communications for Patouillet Consulting LLC.

Established in 1983, Patouillet Consulting LLC is dedicated to helping college, university and nonprofit leaders generate additional support and increase constituent engagement.


 MAY 18, 2011

 Leadership and Innovation

With Frances Hesselbein, Debbe Kennedy and Joel Barker. No fees. Confirming details will be sent via email after you register. 


Advancement and Nonprofit News and Views is designed to offer timely and useful information for you and your organization.

“An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.”

Benjamin Franklin

Patouillet Consulting helps college, university and nonprofit leaders generate additional support and increase constituent engagement.

The firm, established in 1983, serves as a strategic partner in assisting our clients in the following areas:

·  Revenue generation

·  Strategic planning

·  Program assessments

·  Alumni associations as strategic partners in the educational enterprise

·  Metrics-based organizations

·  Constituent engagement strategies and tracking

·  Integration of alumni and  development especially in capital campaigns


Patouillet Consulting LLC enjoys the involvement and support of a national advisory board comprised of industry leaders. Additional information about the firm is available @

Leadership by Example 2011

An Online conversation with Presidential Medal of Freedom Recipient, Frances Hesselbein, May 18, 1:00-3:00 p.m. ET. There is no cost for this program. Click here to see program details and to register.

Patouillet Consulting LLC is pleased to announce our association with the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and Ga Bio.

Patouillet Consulting LLC recently completed an assignment for the University of Tennessee.

Our Services

Please visit our website for a full list of services offered at Patouillet Consulting LLC