[NPFX Ep. 15] How to Build Your Nonprofit to Succeed (with Liz Feld)

advocacy financial stability nonprofit fundraising nonprofit strategy podcast

Welcome to The Nonprofit Fundraising Exchange, a podcast from IPM Advancement. Our mission is to help you raise more money so you can make the world a better place.

Today’s topic: How to Build Your Nonprofit to Succeed

This year, thousands of new nonprofits will open their doors. By conservative estimates, 30% of them will fail in just ten years, and some put that number much higher. In addition, many long-standing nonprofits are struggling to survive as they face shrinking budgets, growing demand for their services, and fierce competition for donors. In today’s podcast episode, we’ll discuss what it takes for nonprofits to succeed and create a lasting impact.

Time-Stamped Episode Shortcuts:

  • Introductions and Bios [1:25]
  • Why strong leadership is so important for nonprofits [3:45]
  • When nonprofits lack financial accountability or sound governance [5:29]
  • The right and wrong people to have on your board [7:10]
  • Standards to measure the effectiveness of a nonprofit (RADical Hope’s Standards of Excellence) [12:53]
  • The danger of mission creep and violating donor intent [17:23]
  • Building partnerships with donors for financial stability [18:55]
  • Have a strategic plan and stay flexible [20:55]
  • The risks of relying too heavily on major donors [23:29]
  • Combining advocacy with fundraising improves donor acquisition and donor retention [25:38]
  • Nonprofit supporters don’t like comparative suffering [28:23]
  • What the role of the founder is and isn’t [30:10]

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Liz Feld’s Bio

Liz Feld is Chief Executive Officer of RADical Hope, a non-profit Foundation committed to measurably improving the brain health of our country’s young people. The organization develops and invests in proven, front line engagement programs that address its core mission priorities: Connectivity, Engagement, Emotional Intelligence and Empowerment. Since 2016, Liz has served as President of The Suzanne Wright Foundation, founded in honor of the late Suzanne Wright who died of pancreatic cancer. The Foundation advocates for a Health Advanced Research Projects Agency (HARPA), modeled after DARPA, the gold standard for innovation. HARPA will turn scientific research into lifesaving products for patients by leveraging federal research assets and private sector tools to drive medical breakthroughs for diseases that have not benefited from the current system.

From 2012 to 2016, Liz was President of Autism Speaks, the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization. Under her leadership, Autism Speaks achieved critical milestones in increasing the quality of services, research funding, awareness, and advocacy for autism, most notably the passage of the ABLE and Autism CARES Acts, and the development of MSSNG, a $50 million whole genome sequencing project with Google.

Liz served as Mayor of the Village of Larchmont, New York from 2006-2010; four years prior to that she served as Trustee and Deputy Mayor. As Mayor, she earned the Village its first AAA credit rating from Moody’s Investor Services. During her time in office, Liz became a member of Mayor Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns. She is a Board member of Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions (CRES), a national non-profit advocacy organization whose mission is to promote commonsense, conservative solutions to address our nation’s need for abundant, reliable energy while preserving our environment.

Liz has worked as the Director of News Information at ABC News and Senior Vice President of Communications for Nickelodeon. She has appeared on national and local television networks and authored editorial pieces on public policy issues and politics. Liz also served in the Reagan White House; first as a public affairs specialist at the Office of Management and Budget, and then as a press officer for then Vice President George H. W. Bush. She holds a B.A. degree in Government from Georgetown University. She and her husband, Joel Feld, are the parents of three children.


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