Meet Ellie Pennybacker, Next Stage’s 2019 Summer Intern

I have nine-weeks to get to know all 4,000+ nonprofits in the greater Charlotte area! Not really, but I hope to at least get to know a few during my internship with Next Stage.

My name is Ellie Pennybacker and I am a rising junior at Davidson College studying Anthropology and Educational Studies. During my time with Next Stage this summer, I hope to explore my academic and social interest in the intersection of community work and education by witnessing the intricacies of nonprofit work first-hand. My goal for my time in this nine-week program is to match my academic training with observational learning and challenge my preconceptions of how the nonprofit community functions in Charlotte. Under the leadership of Josh and Caylin, I hope this summer will provide the opportunity to do just that and much more!

A little bit more about me:

I was raised in Macon, GA, where I played soccer since the age of four, practiced cello for seven years, and completed my Fine Arts certificate and IB diploma at Central High School. On a college tour dedicated to Duke University, I fell in love with Davidson and decided it was the place for me. I am a declared Anthropology major and Educational Studies minor intending to morph my pathway into the Interdisciplinary Studies department to create my own major that will focus on community work alongside post-K through 12 education.

At Davidson, I am involved in student groups supporting Charlotte Refugee Support Services, Huntersville Habitat for Humanity, and local Special Olympics programs. I am a member of women’s club soccer and served as sustainability chair for Rusk Eating House. This past year, I worked with Gig-Hub, a program matching regional start-ups with Davidson student skill pools, to complete a social-media training project for Tech Talent South. It was a busy, yet enriching, year!

I have particular interest in alternative education pathways and the ways in which they are embedded throughout our communities and particularly in nonprofit work. This past year, another student and I petitioned to have American Sign Language (ASL) introduced as a class on Davidson’s campus and were successful in establishing it as a Self-Instructional Language (SIL). This project encouraged me to broaden my understanding of how nonprofits can fill academic and social gaps in education. The breadth of non-profit work is still unimaginable for me. As I sit at the cusp of understanding the full capacity of the sector, I am thrilled to be joining the Next Stage team and watch as they navigate the complexities involved in this extensive field of work.

Some of my goals for this summer include:

  • Engaging with the Charlotte nonprofit community and getting to know a portion of the 4,000+ organizations working on social good in this area – I have most often seen nonprofits from a volunteer’s perspective (which is a skewed one, based on Josh’s Biscuit article!). Approaching this summer from a macro- instead of micro- perspective, I am interested to learn how the holistic nonprofit sector evolves to fit the needs of the community. I hope to gain a better understanding of how these organizations can adopt their models of work to fill the needs of the moment in an ever-changing social climate.
  • Exploring Charlotte more intimately so that I may graduate from Davidson with some knowledge of the city we claim to be so close to – A big selling point in my decision to go to Davidson was the supposed access to the greater Charlotte area; but between class work and I-77 traffic, I have found myself in Charlotte less than expected! Now that I am here for the summer, I hope to explore one of my academic interests: the role of religious organizations in community building. In my personal time, I hope to interact with various religious groups and understand how they view their community engagement within Charlotte. Particularly, I am interested in whether they identify with a particular community or feel connected to the entirety of Charlotte. Comparatively, I wonder how similar, or different, this is from the psyche of the local nonprofit sector.
  • Observing Next Stage’s work and learning as much as I can about program development, fundraising, and effective capacity building strategies for community organizations – As I have said, I have so much to learn about the nonprofit sector. In just the week that I have been here, I have been exposed to a plethora of opportunities and questions that I am excited to explore. I do not have a running list of questions about the sector, yet… but I do have a growing excitement for the opportunity to learn from Josh, the Next Stage team, and the Charlotte community.

This has been an exciting week of orientation and information overload for the summer projects to come, and I expect the next nine weeks will be filled with just as much eagerness, excitement, and enrichment!

#NonprofitBookClub: Winners Take All

Welcome back to the second iteration of Next Stage’s #NonprofitBookClub!

This month, we’re reading Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World by Anand Giridharadas. I know – quite a bold title. But in the spirit of Josh’s column in the Biscuit, “Breaking Good,” Next Stage is sparking more bold conversations in 2019. What better way to do that than by reviewing a book that is about the challenges inherent in American philanthropy and the nonprofit funding model itself?

First of all, if you haven’t read this book yet (which was published in August 2018), it comes highly recommended. Winners Take All was suggested to me by a friend I know through Startingbloc, a social innovation fellowship that educates, inspires and connects emerging leaders to drive impact across sectors. Articles and videos featuring Giridharadas, a New York Times columnist, had been popping up across my social media platforms for years (if you haven’t seen it, his speech from the Aspen Institute’s Action Forum in 2015 is worth a watch), and I eventually got around to cracking open the book earlier this year.

The central question posed by Winners Take All focuses on the “new gilded age” of philanthropy, led by increasingly socially-minded business elites – do their market-friendly philanthropic efforts actually have impact on our nation’s entrenched social problems, or do they merely reinforce the status quo of growing wealth inequality and stratification?

It shouldn’t come as a shock to the reader, given the book’s title, that Giridharadas believes that market-driven philanthropy does not present real solutions to our most intractable challenges. In fact, he argues that “win-win” social change walks hand in hand with the perpetuation of a system that, by design, protects the same elites who position themselves as change-makers.

The book introduces us to a series of players in what he calls MarketWorld – including a former president, philanthropists, leaders from Goldman Sachs and McKinsey, social innovators and entrepreneurs – individuals and corporations that operate under the ethos of “doing well and doing good.” Through these stories, Giridharadas illustrates what he believes to be the incompatibility of their “extreme taking,” or the detrimental impacts of their day jobs, with their “extreme giving,” which he refers to as “virtuous side hustles.” What he’s saying is that the five-mile run they took this morning doesn’t negate the entire pizza they ate last night.

I see his point, but in my opinion, the more important argument presented in the book is about the growing centralization of this “change-making” within the private sector elite. Trendy market-driven solutions like impact investing and social entrepreneurism have shifted the onus of social and economic justice out of the hands of the public sector and government institutions, essentially handicapping our participatory democratic system. Nonprofits, Giridharadas argues in interviews about Winners Take All, must advocate for transformative change led by the public sector, advocating for systemic reform in place of charity, social enterprise and “doing good.”

These conversations could not come at a more critical time. According to a 2017 study by Prosperity Now and the Institute for Policy Studies, The Road to Zero Wealth, if the US racial wealth gap remains unaddressed, Black median household wealth will fall to zero by 2053, while white median household wealth is projected to rise to $137,000 by that same year.

Yes – you read that correctly. Zero. That takes a minute to sink in. In an era when we are perhaps more generous and charitable than ever before, disparities along racial and class lines continue to grow at an alarming pace. Something needs to change. But what?

My primary challenge with Winners Take All is that the book does a poor job of facilitating constructive discussion about solutions to these systemic fallacies. I did a bit of online research and found some emerging conversations about liberatory philanthropy and restorative investing – fresh strategies that reconcile philanthropy’s complicity in the systemic nature of wealth inequality. These justice-oriented approaches to the management and investment of endowments promote decision-making processes that restore equity. In other words, how do we get at the root of the problem instead of throwing our money at the symptoms?

Ultimately, liberatory philanthropy and restorative investing require a significant shift in the way we approach the role of capital and philanthropic institutions. According to Rodney Foxworth, founder of the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies, “the goal for foundations should no longer be to accumulate wealth… [but to] change their way of operating by redistributing wealth, democratizing power, and shifting economic control to communities.”

These localized approaches to social change – egalitarian, democratic collaborations and institutions that drive transformation from the ground up – are starting to show up in Charlotte in some really exciting ways. One example is the West Side Community Land Trust, Charlotte’s first land banking approach to permanently conserving our city’s affordable housing stock. Another is United Way of Central Carolinas’ United Neighborhoods Block Building Grants Program, which supports capacity-building for community-based organizations to lead comprehensive, resident-driven community planning in neighborhoods throughout Charlotte.

In Next Stage’s work with our nonprofit partners, we learn about new collective projects and justice-oriented “inside-out” efforts all the time. This gives me so much hope for our city.

Have you read Winners Take All? What did you think? Is there space in Charlotte for a deeper conversation about evolving the way we approach philanthropy and charitable involvement in our community into a groundswell of grassroots-led, authentic social change and reform?

Next month, I’m reading New Power: How Power Works in Our Hyperconnected World–and How to Make It Work for You by Jeremy Heimans and Henry Timms. Shout out to Kelly Brooks from Share Good for the recommendation. Please feel free to read along and join the conversation in April.

As always, if you have any suggestions for the #NonprofitBookClub reading list, please let me know!

Additional Reading:

The Givers: Money, Power, and Philanthropy in a New Gilded Age by David Callahan
Just Giving: Why Philanthropy Is Failing Democracy and How It Can Do Better 
by Rob Reich

Deepening, Expanding and Evolving: The Nonprofit Growth Mandate

by Josh Jacobson

On Tuesday, February 19, I had the opportunity to facilitate a workshop for the Arts & Science Council on a provocative topic – “Deepening, Expanding and Evolving: The Nonprofit Growth Mandate.” So what was it about?

Organizations are apt to find themselves in a conundrum. Grantmakers tell them they want to primarily fund new initiatives and programming, with the goal of increasing mission impact. But they are unwilling to fund that growth entirely themselves, or else want to realign their giving to focus on growth instead of core operations and programming. We call the expectation of area funders “the nonprofit growth mandate,” with the idea that nonprofits are not able to stay in place for too long before they are encouraged to grow impact.

While this is typically a complaint directed at funders, it is also an expectation of plenty of boards, volunteers and other types of donors that “need drives response,” and with increased need comes the expectation of increasing programming to meet that need. In effect, nonprofits are meant to grow. As one participant said the other night, “if you aren’t growing, you’re dying.”

But what does that look like for different types of organizations? Not every organization is going to have a linear growth strategy that suggests increasingly higher budgets, larger staffs and increased impact through more programming. That may be appropriate for some, but for others, growth may look somewhat different.

This was the goal of the workshop – to explore growth through three lenses:

  • Deepening – Programmatic growth for an organization may not mean serving more people, but rather increasing impact for individuals already being served. The workshop explored methods of increasing impact by augmenting or extending the experience of engagement, elevating the understanding of program participants, challenging thought and action, and encouraging response. This is an ideal growth strategy for organizations that may be limited by space or human resources to continually increase the number of people served, and can be a cost-effective way to demonstrate increased impact through growth.
  • Expanding – We also covered the classic definition of growth, with an increased number of participants in programming as a goal. Methods we explored included increasing capacity to grow participants, planting a seed of engagement, aligning offerings to target audiences, and marketing to activate growth. For many workshop participants, it was clear barriers to expansion centered on facility, human resources and financial resources, which can be challenging issues to work through.
  • Evolving – This workshop also looked at a number of trends impacting nonprofits in the Charlotte area, with factors such as the overall growth of the nonprofit sector, the mix of how revenue is allocated and the impacts of generational change suggesting that current business models may not be sufficient in the future. The final topic of the workshop focused on evolving to shift delivery of mission and how evolution may be a different form of growth. We discussed redefining what success looks like, how new tools may be needed, and the importance of collaboration and sustainability.

In the end, workshop participants left feeling (I hope) Inspired by the possibilities but also grounded with tools and how-to supports to aid them as they engaged their boards and other key stakeholders in the topic of growth.

As a new topic for us, the “Nonprofit Growth Mandate” is a compelling frame for discussing the best practices all organizations should be engaged in – regular needs assessments and asset inventories to explore opportunities to deepen, expand and evolve mission delivery.

#NonprofitBookClub: Social Startup Success

By Caylin Haldeman

2019 is off to the races, everyone. How are you doing on your resolutions?

Me? Work in progress. I made the resolution to read more books on things I feel passionate about. I even created a reading list of books that will help me get smarter on topics like affordable housing, notions of “community” and “belonging” and (shocking) nonprofits.

But man, it can be hard to find the time! Josh and I talk all the time about how to stay on top of all of the great thinking coming out of the nonprofit sector – both locally and in other communities. We listen to podcasts (On Life and Meaning, BrandBuilders and the Charlotte Podcast have all featured great local nonprofits lately) and read online publications like SSIR, yet I have been watching as my “to read” stack of nonprofit literature grows taller and taller on my bookshelf.

In late January, hundreds of nonprofits gathered together at Project 658 for SHARE Charlotte’s 2019 Nonprofit Summit. It was a packed day, with two panels featuring local nonprofit, philanthropic and corporate leaders and a keynote address by Kathleen Kelly Janus, social entrepreneur and author of Social Startup Success: How the Best Nonprofits Launch, Scale Up and Make A Difference. Which just so happens to be one of those books in my stack…

I took that as a sign from the universe – “Get to reading, Caylin.”

So, I did. Here’s what I learned, organized by four ideas Kathleen presented during her keynote:

Nonprofits Must Invest in Themselves – This, I would argue, is the crux of the book – and just so happens to be one of Next Stage’s organizing philosophies, too. Too often, organizations are subject to the nonprofit starvation cycle, in which nonprofits underspend and underreport on overhead expenses due to unrealistic funder expectations.

In her book, Kathleen presents five core strategies for nonprofit success: testing ideas, measuring impact, funding experimentation, leading collaboratively and telling compelling stories. Each of these strategies requires deep investment – of time, resources and brand.

Nonprofits Must Harness the Passion of the Next Generation – According to Kathleen’s research, 55% of millennials say that they choose companies to work for because of their commitment to social good. Other research shows that 75% of millennials would even take a pay cut to work for a more socially responsible company. As Next Stage’s resident millennial, I feel like I can vouch for this: the next generation really cares about engaging in social good.

But we are also discerning in how we engage with nonprofits, in a way that diverges from the generations that have preceded us. While donors have zeroed in on evidence and efficiency in recent decades, the next generation has demonstrated an appetite for risk-taking, ambitious vision and bold story-telling. Nonprofits have to shift data collection and analysis, fundraising and communication strategies to meet these changing priorities, testing new strategies to harness the support of next-gen volunteers and donors.

Nonprofits Must Cultivate More Diversity, Equity and Inclusion – This is an unfortunate truth in the nonprofit sector: philanthropy often presents an inherent bias toward a nonprofit’s pedigree of leadership over an authentic representation of the community it serves. And due to the unique nature of the nonprofit structure, the sector tends to organically organize itself around philanthropic demand.

This means that the most successful nonprofits are typically the ones most aligned with this bias – organizations headed by well-connected, well-resourced and credentialed leaders. But in recent years, there has been increasing emphasis on the importance of cultivating diversity, equity and inclusion in the nonprofit sector both from nonprofits themselves and from funders. While this topic was a huge theme of Kathleen’s keynote address, I was disappointed to see that it does not play a central role in her recommendations related to cultivating collective leadership in Social Startup Success.

Donors Must Invest in Nonprofits – Nonprofit leaders have long championed efforts to reframe the way donors understand “overhead” and instead highlight capacity building – not program funding – as the key to unlocking more sustainable nonprofit business models. Frequently, donors will pair an investment with specific, restrictive expectations about its usage and impact. Kathleen calls this “donor entitlement,” and if you’ve spent any time working for a nonprofit, I bet you’ve run into it.

While the tides of donor attitude toward capacity building are slowly changing, many nonprofits develop alternative fundraising strategies to cover operating costs. As Josh explored in a recent article for his Breaking Good column in the Biscuit, Forget “Charity.” Think Like a Business, earned income is an underutilized method of revenue generation for many nonprofits. Kathleen leans into this notion, dedicating two chapters within the theme of funding experimentation to an exploration of how to build successful earned income strategies.

In sum, Social Startup Success was full of well-researched strategies for organizational strengthening, and was a great kick-off for my new monthly series on the Next Stage blog: #NonprofitBookClub. What should I read next?

P.S. I have to give a shout out to our friends at SHARE Charlotte for all that they do to champion local nonprofits – their leadership has done so much to strengthen our community’s supportive infrastructure through the encouragement of philanthropic giving, volunteer engagement and other forms of charitable involvement. Facilitating conversations about topics like the ones presented in Social Startup Success will make all of our work more effective. If your nonprofit has not yet joined their online platform, I encourage you to check it out.

2019 is the Year We Take Our Own Medicine

by Josh Jacobson

Happy New Year! Can I still say that? I heard someone say that wishing someone a happy new year is valid until January 8, and then no longer. So looking at the calendar… it counts. Just barely.

Did you have a great holiday break? Was it really a break? Thankfully it was for us at Next Stage. After a year that saw our firm crank it up considerably with our incubator for emerging nonprofits (CULTIVATE) and dynamic client partnerships with organizations like Arts+ and Care Ring, we took a well-deserved B-R-E-A-K. I didn’t touch my laptop for a solid week. And if you know me well, you know that just never happens.

But before we took off, Caylin and I sat down for a strategic planning retreat that was game-changing. I’ll reiterate – GAME. CHANGING. Five years since it was founded, Next Stage now has a clear pathway forward and a vision for what we aspire to do as change agents. After telling countless nonprofits that a galvanizing vision is the single most important ingredient to success, we’ve taken our own medicine. It’s exciting and affirming and all the good words. We’re onboarding new project management and CRM tools to make it easier to work with us, for clients and colleagues both. Growth is on the horizon.

We see the following themes playing prominent roles for Next Stage in 2019:

  1. Bridging the Talent – Have you seen local nonprofit jobs boards lately? They’re nuts. No matter the time of year, Charlotte nonprofits are in a near-constant churn of talent across executive, programmatic, operational, marketing and development roles. To complicate matters, this availability is matched by a pronounced void of nonprofit talent. It seems Charlotte’s best nonprofit talent has hunkered down (as one person said to me recently, “the devil you know”) while too few experienced professionals exist to fill the gaps. Next Stage has heard from several organizations of late who received no valid applicants (Zero. Zilch. Nada.) when they advertised their open positions. This year, Next Stage is diving deeply into candidate recruitment, focusing on building an important bridge from Charlotte’s robust for-profit sector to critical roles in the nonprofit sector. It’s time we stopped complaining about the state of talent and instead did something about it.
  2. Redefining Corporate Sponsorship – For the last few years, we’ve been on a quest to reposition the bottom-line role nonprofits can play inside Charlotte-area companies as well as shift the thinking inside nonprofits about how and why companies are likely to be interested in supporting them. It’s been exhausting. And thrilling. And frustrating. And so very badly needed. In 2019, we are dialing up these efforts up considerably. Long-term partnerships with prominent local nonprofits are allowing us to build and test a new value proposition for the sector that goes beyond nonprofit engagement as a nice-to-have but rather a vital need-to-have for companies interested in keeping the very best talent. We see this becoming a big part of Next Stage moving forward, working with nonprofits to align their sponsorship efforts while working with companies to establish/reposition corporate social responsibility efforts.
  3. Evolution of CULTIVATE – Next week, we welcome six nonprofit founders to the 2ndcohort of CULTIVATE, effectively doubling the number of organizations participating this year. Are we crazy? Maybe so. But we also know how important this program is to the people who participated in 2018. Our hearts are so darn wrapped up in these social cause champions that we just can’t contain ourselves (or the program). But rest assured, we’ve figured out a way to share the love across our firm, with Caylin stepping up into a more prominent project management role and me focused more on training and coaching. Last year we wrote a 100,000+ word curriculum to undergird the program (yea, seriously), so this year we can devote more time to connecting it to participating organizations. It’s going to be an adventure!

Above all, we are shifting to a more proactive firm. We have a blueprint and our goal is to see it realized. Wish us luck. Or better yet, let us buy you coffee and tell you more.

Photo Credit: Julia Fay Photography

Announcing the 2019 CULTIVATE Cohort

Next Stage today announced the selection of six (6) nonprofits for participation in the 2019 cohort of CULTIVATE, an incubator designed to provide expert strategic and relational supports to emerging social cause organizations based in Mecklenburg County. Now in its second year, the incubator focuses on increasing capacity for emerging nonprofits to sustain their operations and helps them build social capital toward achieving their missions and visions.

The pilot year of CULTIVATE served three organizations: Charlotte is Creative (Matt Olin and Tim Miner), Learning Help Centers of Charlotte (Brent Morris) and Promising Pages (Kristina Cruise).   Next Stage has developed an impact measurement strategy to track participant outcomes and will publish an annual report summarizing results from CULTIVATE’s pilot year in February 2019.

The 2019 cohort organizations were selected through an in-depth RFP process and assessment by a selection panel of community leaders, including Dianne Bailey (US Trust), Kellie Cartwright (United Way of Central Carolinas), Jennifer DeWitt (Duke Energy), Charlie Elberson (Reemprise Fund), Blair Primis (OrthoCarolina) and Charles Thomas (Knight Foundation). The panel met in early November 2018 to review applications from over 40 local organizations, making recommendations for the selection of six finalists.

Selection criteria included commitment and leadership potential of participant, mission and programs that are unique, innovative and differentiated from others in local community, alignment with local priorities, initiatives and current events, and the opportunity for impact and organizational strengthening through CULTIVATE involvement.

The 2019 cohort for CULTIVATE includes:

  • Aspire Community Capital (Manuel Campbell, Founder & CEO): ASPIRE Community Capital drives business start-up, growth and expansion by providing training and access to financial products that support wealth creation for low to moderate income entrepreneurs, with the ultimate goal of bringing much needed stability and stimulation to target communities.
  • Brave Step (Crystal Emerick, Founder & Executive Director): Brave Step strengthens adults impacted by sexual abuse by providing meaningful steps on their journey to heal. We design personalized care plans and offer inspiration, education and connection for survivors and their loved ones.
  • Queen City Unity (Jorge Millares, Founder & Executive Director): Queen City Unity drives equity and equality for people of all races, religions, genders, sexual orientations, and socioeconomic statuses in Charlotte, NC through four areas of focus: volunteerism, community engagement, assisting minority families with upward mobility and addressing inequities in schools.
  • Rebuilding Together of Greater Charlotte (Beth Morrison, Executive Director): Rebuilding Together of Greater Charlotte’s mission is repairing homes, revitalizing communities, rebuilding lives. The organization mobilizes community volunteers and contractors to provide repairs that make homes safer and healthier for our neighbors in need.
  • Stiletto Boss University (Jania Massey, Founder & Executive Director): Stiletto Boss University is a youth training program for high-school girls, that uses entrepreneurship as the foundation for teaching the power of collaboration, sisterhood and community impact.
  • Transcend Charlotte (Trey Greene, Co-Founder & Executive Director): Transcend Charlotte’s mission is to promote authenticity, connection, and social justice by empowering transgender individuals and all gender diverse people impacted by oppression and/or trauma.

Kicking-off in January 2019, CULTIVATE will offer these six participating nonprofits in-depth training and coaching on core monthly topics focused on organizational development and strategic business planning.  The curriculum for CULTIVATE includes one-on-one work and personalized coaching with the Next Stage team, online assignments managed through a learning management system, small group workshops for the six participating leaders and engagement activities designed to increase social capital.

CULTIVATE is made possible through the generous support of the Reemprise Fund and the OrthoCarolina Foundation. Next Stage is pleased to have Hygge Coworking on board as its official coworking partner. Participating organizations will receive free membership at Hygge Coworking and have access to Hygge’s West Side location for the duration of the incubator. Next Stage is also proud to have the Children and Family Services Center as a partner for CULTIVATE.

More about CULTIVATE can be found here. 

About Next Stage Consulting:

Next Stage works with nonprofits to develop visions, set goals and create strategies for all aspects of operations, implementing organizational and fund development efforts with an eye toward efficiency and effectiveness. Led by Managing Director Josh Jacobson and Project Manager Caylin Haldeman, Next Stage exists to serve the varied needs of nonprofits in the Carolinas. By partnering with staff and leadership volunteers, the firm’s talented consultants prioritize identifying needs and opportunities, developing a plan to address them and working tirelessly to ensure optimization in pursuit of mission. The firm is dedicated to working with a limited number of nonprofits to guarantee all clients receive expert counsel, specialized strategic and development planning, and in-depth implementation services. Next Stage Consulting is committed to being a different kind of consulting firm, as interested in designing unique solutions as working to see them implemented.

Position Opening: Development Director, Sustain Charlotte

Position DescriptionDevelopment Director

Overview

Client: Sustain Charlotte
Role: Full-Time
Current location: 2151 Hawkins St Suite 200, Charlotte, NC 28203
Founded: 2010
Reports to: Executive Director

Mission & Vision
Our mission is to inspire choices that lead to a healthy, equitable, and vibrant community for generations to come. Our vision is to be a region in which everyone has the knowledge, resources and opportunity to make choices with a clear awareness of their combined social, economic and environmental impacts.

History
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg area lags other metro areas in many key sustainability measures which serve as an indicator of a community’s long-term economic, social, and environmental well-being. As the metro area continues to grow at a high rate, it is critical that efforts are made to raise awareness of the challenges the region will face now and into the future.

Founded in 2010, Sustain Charlotte is a nonprofit organization helping to advance a region-wide sustainability movement by serving as a catalyst for change. Sustainability means meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own.  In just short of a decade, Sustain Charlotte has become the metro area’s leading voice for sustainability.

With a focus on three strategies to educate, engage and unite, Sustain Charlotte has launched a number of initiatives. The Bicycle Program promotes sustainable transportation infrastructure, with a focus on bicycling in the region. Similarly, Walk Your Neighborhood promotes walking as a form of transportation.  Sustainable Neighborhoods works with residents of motivated neighborhoods to set measurable sustainability goals and works to develop strategies and resources to meet them. The Transportation Choices Alliance works to increase transportation choices and their use throughout the Charlotte region. The Sustain Charlotte Awards recognize those in the community who are working toward the Charlotte 2030 Vision for Our Region. These are just a few of the many events, programs, public policy engagement and other outreach efforts Sustain Charlotte manages.

Opportunity

Sustain Charlotte has grown rapidly over the last several years, attracting both businesses as sponsors and individual donors as members. As the organization’s standing in the community has grown, so too has the opportunity to deepen relationships with institutions and individuals who share Sustain Charlotte’s passion for a sustainable community.

After spending several years expanding participation in its corporate and individual membership programs, the time has come to further develop these relationships and increase giving. Sustain Charlotte is seeking a Development Director who is adept at relational marketing to manage a portfolio of Sustain Charlotte members, focusing on expanding their engagement in 2019 ahead of another acquisition push in 2020. This is an ideal opportunity for a “people person” who is passionate about our community’s economic, social, and environmental well-being.

Professional Responsibilities

The Development Director is tasked with leading resource development activities toward generating $500,000 annually. Key responsibilities include:

Development Planning

  • In partnership with the Executive Director, craft annual development plan outlining strategies to sustain and increase annual support from corporations, events, foundations and individuals.
  • Create multi-year strategies for implementing a moves management model of resource development, prospecting, recruiting, engaging, soliciting and stewarding donors and sponsors

Corporate Membership

  • Lead efforts to grow annual sponsorship from corporations and businesses, building relationships inside companies and creating win-win, business-centered partnerships
  • Facilitate sponsor fulfillment to include human resources, marketing and public relations

Individual Fundraising

  • Mine database of current and past individual members to source prospects for deepening engagement and giving
  • Conduct face-to-face engagement, managing a portfolio of key individual relationships
  • Work with Sustain Charlotte’s board of directors to identify individual donor recruitment strategies and prospects for cultivation

Development Operations

  • Maintain timely records of all donor, sponsor and prospect contacts in donor database.
  • Utilize database to identify sponsor and major donor prospects and inform marketing efforts.
  • Assure accurate and timely member, donor, sponsor recognition, acknowledgements, and renewal letters for all financial and in-kind donations.

Required Qualifications & Competencies

The ideal candidate would have the following capabilities and qualities:

  • Bachelor’s Degree
  • An appreciation for sustainability and demonstrated commitment to it
  • 3+ years’ experience in external relations or institutional advancement, including development/ high-touch sales, marketing, communications, and events management
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills
  • Strong leadership and strategic thinking skills
  • Ability to execute a strategic development plan and when necessary turn broad goals into meaningful, actionable tasks.
  • Ability to make connections easily and create authentic relationships with a wide variety of individuals and groups
  • Solid analytical skills and basic understanding of financial levers
  • Proficiency with CRM management is essential

Compensation
Salary commensurate with experience. Benefits include annual IRA match. Flexible, generous paid time off policy and opportunity for additional performance-based compensation.

To Apply

Sustain Charlotte is an Equal Opportunity Employer committed to inclusive hiring and dedicated to diversity in its work and staff. Employment decisions are made without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sex, national origin, physical or mental disability, age, sexual orientation, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by applicable state or federal law. Sustain Charlotte encourages candidates of all groups and communities to apply for this position.

Beginning November 22, all inquiries, nominations and applications are to be directed via email to Next Stage Consulting: search@nextstage-consulting.com.  Applications must include a custom cover letter and CV to be considered.  Please indicate in the subject line of your email the position and organization to which you are applying and where you learned of the opportunity. NO PHONE CALLS PLEASE.

Please note that only those candidates invited for screening will be contacted.

Position Opening: Development Director, Tosco Music

Position Description:
Development Director

 Overview
Client: Tosco Music
Role: Full-Time
Current location: 4953 Albemarle Road, Charlotte, NC 28205
Founded:  1988 (established 501c3 in 1999)
Reports to: Executive Director

Mission
Tosco Music’s mission is to present a wide variety of music through performances and outreach programs; foster a sense of community among listeners and performers; and connect professional and amateur musicians to share and inspire one another.

History
Born from intimate living room jam sessions in the 1980’s, Tosco Music Parties have grown into popular community concerts at Knight Theater five times annually. Nationally recognized acts share the stage with undiscovered artists and audience members are invited to sing along throughout the evening. Since incorporating in 1999 as a nonprofit organization, Tosco Music has expanded its impact with a variety of outreach programs. From music parties and open mic nights, to music scholarships and ticket access programs and music events throughout the community, Tosco Music is dedicated to helping the community explore, develop and share their passion for music in all its forms.

Opportunity

In recent years, the organization has taken significant steps forward. A rebranding effort led by Wray Ward resulted in a cohesive brand strategy across the organization’s programming and outreach efforts. A fund development planning effort led by Next Stage resulted in a focused resource development plan that has led to early success in the form of a major gift society and corporate sponsorship. In 2019, Tosco Music is planning to expand upon its successful Beatles Tribute concert to launch a Beatles weekend convention, drawing participation not only locally but regionally and nationally.

Tosco Music is in the process of moving from a largely all-volunteer infrastructure to a professional staff, having hired part-time roles over the last year. To this end, Tosco Music is seeking to hire a full-time Development Director to implement all aspects of the Development Plan with support from the part-time Administrative & Communications Coordinator. The Development Director will drive strategic fundraising initiatives. This full-time, salaried position is office-based with occasional evening and weekend hours for music parties and donor events as needed and some flexibility to work remotely once the role is established.

The Development Director will work closely with the Executive Director and Board of Directors on development revenue goals. Demonstrated success with increasing sponsorships and donor programs for a nonprofit organization is essential for this position. As revenue goals for sponsorships and major gifts are achieved, the Development Director position has potential to grow in terms of responsibility and compensation.

Professional Responsibilities

Sponsorship Recruitment (70%)

  • Utilize existing research and facilitate ongoing inquiry to identify prospects; use CRM records and Board and donor relationships to maintain dynamic list of sponsorship prospects.
  • Cultivate relationships by facilitating introductory meetings and initiating sponsorship opportunities with prospects, identifying prospects’ needs and preferences.
    • Craft customized sponsorship opportunities in coordination with Executive Director and Board Marketing & Communications Committee; serve as lead solicitor and actively make “asks”
  • Manage benefit fulfillment to steward sponsor relationships.
  • Obtain sponsorship revenue according to identified benchmarks.

Major Donor Development (25%)

  • Steward current Living Room Society (LRS) Donor relationships.
  • Coordinate major gift events including the VIP Lounge and LRS Appreciation Gatherings.
  • Identify major gift prospects from membership, audience and board member relationships.
  • Expand LRS by actively pursuing and solicit prospects; lead solicitation effort.

Grant Development (5%)

  • Identify new funding opportunities and manage application processes and reporting requirements.

Development Operations

  • Maintain timely records of all donor, sponsor and prospect contacts in donor database.
  • Utilize database to identify sponsor and major donor prospects and inform marketing efforts.
  • Work closely with Administrative & Communications Coordinator and Database Contractor to assure accurate and timely member, donor, sponsor recognition, acknowledgements, and renewal letters for all financial and in-kind donations.

Required Qualifications & Competencies

The ideal candidate would have the following capabilities and qualities:

  • Bachelor’s Degree
  • A love for live music and desire to enhance Charlotte’s community through music
  • 3+ years’ experience in external relations or institutional advancement, including development/ high-touch sales, marketing, communications, and events management
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills
  • Strong leadership and strategic thinking skills
  • Ability to execute a strategic development plan and when necessary turn broad goals into meaningful, actionable tasks.
  • Ability to make connections easily and create authentic relationships with a wide variety of individuals and groups
  • Solid analytical skills and basic understanding of financial levers
  • Proficiency with CRM management is essential, Donor Perfect experience a plus

Compensation
Compensation will be competitive and commensurate with experience.

To Apply

Tosco Music is an Equal Opportunity Employer committed to inclusive hiring and dedicated to diversity in its work and staff. Employment decisions are made without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sex, national origin, physical or mental disability, age, sexual orientation, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by applicable state or federal law. Tosco Music encourages candidates of all groups and communities to apply for this position.

Beginning October 29, all inquiries, nominations and applications are to be directed via email to Next Stage Consulting: search@nextstage-consulting.com.  Applications must include a custom cover letter and CV to be considered.  Please indicate in the subject line of your email the position and organization to which you are applying and where you learned of the opportunity. NO PHONE CALLS PLEASE.

Please note that only those candidates invited for screening will be contacted.

Position Opening: Senior Vice President, Development & Marketing, Levine Museum of the New South

Overview
Client: Levine Museum of the New South
Current Location: 200 East 7th Street, Charlotte, NC 28202
Founded: 1991
Reports To: President & CEO

Levine Museum of the New South — Organizational Description

Mission
Levine Museum’s mission is:

  • To engage a broad-based audience in the exploration and appreciation of the diverse history of the South since the Civil War, with a focus on Charlotte and the surrounding Carolina Piedmont.
  • To collect, preserve, and interpret the materials, sights, sounds, and idea that illumine and enliven this history
  • To present opportunities for life-long learning about this history for the benefit, enjoyment and education of children and adults
  • To provide historical context for contemporary issues and a community forum for thoughtful discussion.
  • The Museum distills this mission into an essential statement: we use history to build community.

History
In the summer of 1990, members of the Mecklenburg Historical Association developed the idea of the Museum of the New South and approached community leader and cultural advocate Sally Robinson about organizing the institution. A working group of local historians, university professors, and community leaders were convened to consider the museum proposal. The organizing group settled on the name “Museum of the New South” as a reflection of Charlotte residents’ belief that the city exemplifies much of the history signified by that term.

The museum was incorporated in April 1991, and a diverse board of trustees was assembled. Those early leaders made the decision to operate without a building was made for financial and philosophical reasons. At the time, the board felt that operating without a permanent structure would offer flexibility in developing exhibitions and programs. However, in the spring of 1994, the Museum of the New South engaged in a long-term planning process that identified developing collections and installing a core exhibit as priorities. As a result, with the help of private funding, the museum purchased the building at 324 North College Street in Charlotte’s cultural district.

In 2001 the Levine Museum of the New South, renamed in honor of museum patrons Leon and Sandra Levine, opened in a 40,000-square-foot building located at 200 East Seventh Street in Charlotte. Its 8,000-square-foot permanent exhibit, Cotton Fields to Skyscrapers: Charlotte and the Carolina Piedmont in the New South, explores the social history of the economic transformation of the Piedmont from a rural, agriculture-based society to the major financial, business, and industrial center that it is today. (source)

Levine Museum has always been as much about the present and the future as it is about the past, and has used its exhibits to convene people in dialogue across difference. With exhibits like COURAGE: The Carolina Story that Changed America, Without Sanctuary, an exhibit about lynching, and Changing Places, an exploration of Charlotte’s diverse population, Levine Museum became a hub for civic engagement and re-defined the role history museums play in community.

Opportunity
The importance of Levine Museum has perhaps never been more pronounced. Just a few short years after experiencing civil unrest in the wake of the Keith Lamont Scott shooting and national attention for HB2, Charlotte remains a community processing its pathway forward. The landmark study from Harvard University and UC-Berkeley that identified Charlotte as 50th out of 50 U.S. cities in its analysis of economic mobility serves to highlight the challenges the community continues to face as it asserts its place in the “New South.”

At the same time, changing audience demographics, income re-distribution and digital technologies pose formidable challenges and unprecedented opportunities for museums of all kinds throughout the country. As the Museum’s leadership contemplates its future, we are exploring new ways to bring history alive for audiences of all ages and to use the power of story to foster empathy and to build a stronger, more equitable community. Levine Museum now seeks to redefine what a history museum looks like in the digital era.

The Role
Reporting to the President & CEO, the Senior Vice President, Development and Marketing is a key member of the leadership team and a critical participant in articulating the Museum’s future direction. S/he is responsible for designing and implementing strategies to increase public awareness, foster engagement, and deepen philanthropic support for Levine Museum’s programs, exhibits and services. The Senior Vice President provides strategic direction for fund development efforts, as well as marketing and communications at a time of transformational change.

The successful candidate for this role will benefit from a four-person team that works cohesively toward pursuit of the Museum’s aims. A resource development plan is in place, providing a solid platform for the pursuit of earned and contributed revenue. Members of the organization’s board of directors are deeply committed to advancing the mission of the Museum and are deeply bought in to resource development and marketing strategies.

Levine Museum is at an exciting time in its history, and this role will be a critical one. There is the potential for a sizable capital campaign in future years, and an organizational constituency to make that effort a success. For the right candidate, this is an opportunity to cement a local reputation as an institutional leader and resource development change agent.

Professional Responsibilities

Development & Marketing Planning

  • Provide leadership, strategic direction and strong business acumen for the Museum’s overall public engagement and development efforts
  • Provide leadership and strategic oversight to the Marketing and Communications function to ensure cross-functional integration of efforts to support Museum exhibits, programs, and services

Team Management

  • Create a quality work environment that is collaborative and respectful of the strengths of individual employees by establishing goals and expectations and conducting performance reviews
  • Work across departments to build a solid working relationship with the programming and operations teams

Fundraising Efforts

  • Manage a system of Identification, cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship of $1.5M+ annually through a comprehensive, multi-faceted fundraising platform
  • Oversee the pursuit of individual gifts including the Leadership Membership Program, major gift, endowment gifts and legacy gifts, directly managing a portfolio of high impact donors
  • Direct the acquisition and retention of corporate sponsorships including the Corporate Membership Program, exhibit and program sponsors and event sponsors
  • Lead the submission of foundation and government grant proposals including exhibit and program grants, project-specific grant opportunities and organizational sustainability grants
  • Manage the research, application and reporting for all grants, including the Arts & Science Council’s basic operating grant
  • Manage the conception and execution of the Museum’s annual fundraising event, as well as other donor cultivation and appreciate events
  • Provide support to the Board members in fundraising activities

Marketing Efforts

  • Develop, evaluate, and adjust marketing and communications strategies for each programmatic initiative, tailored to reach targeted audiences and reinforce brand through a mix of print, broadcast, earned, and social media
  • Management and oversight of digital communication including the website, social media, blog and podcast
  • Oversee audience and market research efforts, seeking to understand what messages and themes motivate people to action
  • Represent the Museum at external meetings, programs and events in the community throughout the year

Department Operations

  • Develop and manage departmental budgets
  • Oversee management of the Museum’s donor database system Altru (Blackbaud product)

Required Qualifications & Competencies

The ideal candidate would have the following capabilities and qualities:

  • Bachelor’s Degree
  • Commitment to the Museum’s mission
  • 5 – 7 years’ experience in external relations or institutional advancement, including development, marketing and communications, and events management
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills
  • Strong leadership and strategic thinking skills
  • Ability to make connections easily and create authentic relationships with a wide variety of individuals and groups
  • Solid analytical skills and basic understanding of financial levers
  • Familiarity with donor databases, Blackbaud products preferred
  • Comfortable working with corporate and foundation executives
  • CFRE preferred

Compensation

Compensation will be competitive and commensurate with experience. Health and retirement benefits offered.

To Apply

Levine Museum of the New South is an Equal Opportunity Employer committed to inclusive hiring and dedicated to diversity in its work and staff. Employment decisions are made without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sex, national origin, physical or mental disability, age, sexual orientation, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by applicable state or federal law. Levine Museum encourages candidates of all groups and communities to apply for this position.

Beginning September 17, 2018 all inquiries, nominations and applications are to be directed via email to Next Stage Consulting: search@nextstage-consulting.com. Applications must include a custom cover letter and CV to be considered. Please indicate in the subject line of your email the position and organization to which you are applying and where you learned of the opportunity. NO PHONE CALLS PLEASE.

Please note that only those candidates invited for screening will be contacted

Applications Open for CULTIVATE – An Incubator for Emerging Nonprofits

Charlotte, NC (September 4, 2018) — Next Stage announced today that applications have opened for CULTIVATE, an incubator for 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations designed to provide expert strategic and relational supports to emerging social cause organizations based in Mecklenburg County.  Now in its second year, the incubator focuses on increasing capacity for emerging nonprofits to sustain their operations and helps them build social capital toward achieving their missions and visions.

CULTIVATE’s second cohort will launch in January 2019 with six (6) participating nonprofits selected by a panel of community leaders, who will consider applications based on an in-depth RFP process. Organizations selected to participate must demonstrate a unique approach to addressing a challenge facing Charlotte and commit to a 12-month program designed and implemented by Next Stage.

The online application can be accessed here. The deadline for submission is October 1, 2018.

The curriculum for CULTIVATE includes one-on-one work and personalized coaching with the Next Stage team, online assignments managed through an online learning management system, small group workshops for the six participating organizations and community engagement activities designed to increase social capital. Core monthly topics covered by the incubator include:

  • Aligning Mission, Vision & Values
  • Building Program Fidelity
  • Strengthening the Board of Directors
  • Sourcing Volunteers and Staff
  • Seeking Partnerships That Make Sense
  • Building a Pipeline of Individual Donors
  • Mastering Grantsmanship
  • Leveraging for Sponsorship
  • Onboarding Earned Revenue
  • Designing Online Communications
  • Appealing to the Media/PR
  • Refining the Strategic Business Plan

The pilot year of CULTIVATE served three organizations: Charlotte is Creative, Learning Help Centers of Charlotte and Promising Pages.  Leaders from each organization have reported that the incubator has exceeded their expectations and are actively building and implementing new strategies across programming, marketing and resource development to deepen their impact and better execute on their missions. Next Stage has developed an impact measurement strategy to track participant outcomes and will publish an annual report summarizing results from CULTIVATE’s pilot year in January 2019.

“We are excited to grow CULTIVATE in 2019, doubling the number of organizations served in the incubator’s second year,” Josh Jacobson, Managing Director of Next Stage Consulting said.  “Supporting the growth of the first cohort over the past year has been one of the most rewarding experiences in my career thus far, and we are eager to work with many more emerging nonprofits as CULTIVATE expands.”

In addition to Josh Jacobson’s leadership of the incubator, Next Stage’s Project Development Manager Caylin Haldeman will serve as its project manager.

The selection panel for CULTIVATE includes Dianne Bailey (US Trust), Kellie Cartwright (United Way of Central Carolinas), Jennifer DeWitt (Duke Energy), Charlie Elberson (Reemprise Fund), Blair Primis (OrthoCarolina) and Charles Thomas (Knight Foundation).  The panel will meet in late October 2018 to consider applications and make recommendations for participating organizations.  Following an in-depth selection process including site visits and interviews, the final cohort of six organizations will be announced in late December 2018.

Next Stage is able to provide this incubator at no cost to deserving nonprofits with generous support from funders like the Reemprise Fund. Next Stage is also pleased to have the Children and Family Services Center continue to serve as a fiscal sponsor for support from area grantmakers.

More about CULTIVATE can be found here.

About Next Stage:

 Next Stage is a strategy and implementation firm based in Charlotte, NC dedicated to helping nonprofit organizations and social cause start-ups “get to the next level.”  Led by Managing Director Josh Jacobson, Next Stage exists to serve the varied needs of nonprofits in the Carolinas through its three service lines: client partnerships, an incubator for emerging nonprofits and thought leadership research.

Since 2014, Next Stage has engaged with over 100 nonprofits through its organizational strengthening and resource development services, working tirelessly to ensure optimization in pursuit of mission. The firm’s incubator, CULTIVATE, launched in 2018, and early returns show that the program has helped participating organization take substantial steps toward deepening impact and increasing sustainability.  Finally, the firm is launching a thought leadership platform in early 2019, with plans to publish a research-informed report examining the challenges and opportunities of talent recruitment and retention in Charlotte’s nonprofit sector.

To learn more about Next Stage, visit our website at www.nextstage-consulting.com.