It’s time we had a little humour around here and what better way to introduce it than by poking gentle fun at spreadsheets.

Yes, we think they are outdated for most uses and we believe that our software will give you a superior result without the stress.

If you’re on the side of the spreadsheets, you really do need to watch this clip. I doubt that your passion for them could match up!

Treat yourself to 13 minutes of nerd humour.

sport-1014015_640Whether or not your charity or association is involved in sports or some other athletic endeavour, there may come a time when you become involved in recruiting for your NFP. After all, even NFPs that don’t host actual teams often host sports events as part of their fundraising and other activities.

For your nonprofit to do well in competitive events, it’s important to find and recruit individuals with just the right mix of skills, talents and experience. Hopefully, you will be able to find someone that has “what it takes” to be able to quickly catch on and score for your side.

Is it Possible to Tell Who Has the Right Stuff at Just a Glance?

When scouting for the ideal recruit for your team, it’s normal to want to find someone that you believe will just be naturally great. It’s difficult to tell just on the surface of things, however, if someone has just the “right stuff,” to make them great at a specific position on a team, especially if they’ve never even previously played the game.

When it comes to being “great” at something, which do you think matters more when it comes time to perform specific tasks? Is it more important to relentlessly train and study your whole life, or are the genes that you are born with important as well?

Genes, Experience or Both?

According to a recent ASAP Science Video, it takes a combination of both natural born talent, and training to become a truly great athlete. According to information in the video, regardless of what type of physical endeavour was being measured, those who have the potential to become great at a particular sport tend to be born with traits that make them more likely to be high responders.

A high responder is someone that is genetically more likely to respond positively to training and physical conditioning, and over 50% of improvement that folks experience when they train comes down to their genetics. People that are high responders are more likely to experience greater growth and endurance regardless of how physically fit they might be before they begin training.

Research also shows that each of us also has a different baseline of relative physical ability and endurance before we even start training. A different set of genes is responsible for this trait.  This means that individuals can be either a high responder and have a faster, better response to training, or they can naturally have a higher baseline. Sometimes, individuals have the genes for both of these traits.

How Personal Leadership Impacts Both Genes and Training

Therefore it’s likely that the best athletes already have great genes that predispose them to improved athletic ability. These naturally athletic individuals are then able to further increase their results by additional training and conditioning. Rather than favouring one over the other, it appears that talent is, to some extent, trainable.

Success isn’t just genes and training, however. Ideally, you should seek recruits that exhibit a high potential for ability and talent, that also show personal responsibility. Without personal leadership, it’s impossible to stay motivated to stick with a training regimen. Without determination and accountability, athletes eventually neglect training and fail to improve their natural gifts and abilities and transform their talent into actual greatness.

While the studies looked at athletic ability, it’s likely that having the right mix of talent, training and determination also applies to other endeavours and areas of our lives. So, whether you are looking for your club’s next goalie or, need to hire someone to be an effective fundraiser, if you want to recruit someone for your team that’s likely to be great, look at that person’s record of personal responsibility and determination in addition to their talents and experiences.

The Perfect Recruit Leads

Being responsible and self-motivated, constantly pushing, and training, towards excellence, are the key traits upon which other leadership skills are based. Whether it’s the ball field or the board room, there is a genuine need to find and recruit more leaders to turn natural ability and effort into greatness.  Want a great player, volunteer or staff member for your NFP’s team on and off the field? Look for those who are already leading themselves, and others, to greatness in other areas of their lives.

good leadersSo what makes a great leader? If I asked a variety of people from different backgrounds, I would be given a myriad of responses from good communication to honesty and a whole list of other things in between. Leadership is indeed a complicated topic, and there are, of course, many ingredients that go into making a great leader.

Simon Sinek, management theorist and author, suggests that a good leader is someone who makes their employees feel secure, and it is indeed an interesting thought process. By drawing your team into a circle of trust, there is nothing that cannot be achieved as a group. But this trust and safety does not come overnight. You cannot automatically ask someone to trust you without offering any reason to do so; it just doesn’t happen this way.

As a leader, you have to show your employees that their job is 100% secure and that they are supported every step of the way. If there is risk or insecurity within their particular role or set of responsibilities, then trust will not be rewarded. If your employees are scared about breaking rules or losing their job, then the safety net is broken. Once employers know that you have their back, then naturally you will be rewarded in kind with their commitment to the role and the company.

Simon Sinek described the situation accurately in a TED Talk on this subject.

“I was flying on a trip, and I was witness to an incident where a passenger attempted to board before their number was called, and I watched the gate agent treat this man like he had broken the law, like a criminal. He was yelled at for attempting to board one group too soon. So I said something. I said, “Why do you have treat us like cattle? Why can’t you treat us like human beings?” And this is exactly what she said to me. She said, “Sir, if I don’t follow the rules, I could get in trouble or lose my job.” All she was telling me is that she doesn’t feel safe.

The above example is not an environment that any of us would want to work in. The leaders in that organisation obviously don’t value their employees and don’t know the first thing about ensuring job safety or indeed, satisfaction. This scaremongering is common particularly in industries where people are being let go of on a regular basis. Imagine going to work being fearful of your job! How can you work to your best ability under those circumstances?

Being a leader is a choice. It is not just a rank as determined by a title. Leaders should be the ones who lead – who aren’t afraid to go first or to make mistakes. They are the ones who should sacrifice their bonuses for their team members. And when the going gets tough in an organisation, real leaders are the ones who should stand up for their members and fight for their jobs despite backlash or the challenges ahead.

Now that’s a leader I would want to work for. One who would fight for me – one who would give me respect first and foremost. We need to see more leaders who will ‘lead’ the way and show the future generations of leaders to come how it is done.

Safety is paramount to the leadership cause and when trust is inclusive in the role, the sky’s the limit for results and expectations.

interior-design-828545_640Setting rules around minute taking is one of those management issues that most organisations put off improving. After all, isn’t there more important work to be done than fine-tuning a process that doesn’t have earth-shattering results? There is a lot to be gained from streamlining how notes are taken at meetings. Even small, non-profit groups are advised to insist on a certain, consistent standard, for the good of the attendees, the minute taker, and the organisation as a whole. Let’s look at some of the steps NFPs can take towards making sure meeting minutes are up to standard.

Set a suitable agenda

To a certain extent, what goes on in a meeting can be predicted by how the meeting agenda is set. An agenda with a few broad, sweeping topics could lead to a meeting of brainstorming and tangental conversation. A more structured agenda, with a list of concise, finite topics, or firm decisions to be made can run at a different pace, and will produce a different looking set of minutes too. Meeting minute templates can be set out in advance of the meeting, reflecting the agenda, and making it easy for people in the meeting to fill in the details as the meeting unfolds.

The details deserve to be dealt with

As well as being consistent and thorough about taking down exactly who is in a meeting, and when it takes place, other details that will always be relevant include motions moved and passed, and what was said about each individual item on the agenda. Decisions about next steps to projects in full swing should be noted, including who is responsible for further follow ups.

Aim for Clarity and Thoroughness

When recorded properly, meeting minutes will fill in a reader about every important occurrence at any given meeting. Through the minutes, the reader should be able to catch up without being in attendance, as well as find out if topics were covered or missed, if decisions were made or put off, and who to ask for the latest details about meeting topics. They are helpful for communicating how the organisation is run, and how decisions are made, and can be drawn from to confirm understandings or solve discrepancies in knowledge.

For more details and advice about taking minutes for meetings, click on this link to order the Institute of Community Director’s “The Minutes Handbook: A Complete Guide For Not-For-Profit Boards”.

linkedin-911794_640Keeping a steady online presence is important for keeping your organisation in the front of supporters’ minds, and LinkedIn is one of the most useful social media sites to be a part of. It is not only a great way to keep donors up to date about what your organisation is up to, but also a efficient way to network with other organisations with similar causes. Look at the following tips to make sure you are using LinkedIn effectively.

Let Loose Your Brand

Set up a non-profit company page, and build it to contain all the relevant information people need to know about your organisation. Make sure it is easy to identify as the official representation of your group, by using official logos and letterheads. Add photos and vital details to demonstrate the dimensions of your organisation, and give viewers as full a picture as you can of your real-world operations.

Network with the Unknown

As well as adding groups and individuals you already liase with to your profile, seek out other organisations that share your mission, or who have shared clientele with you. LinkedIn is used the world over to make new connections or the advancement of many causes, so don’t be shy about sharing your message.

Be There Often

Keep to a regular schedule for updating so supporters always know what projects are underway or what fundraising activities are currently going on. Avoid inundating contacts with information, but do frequently remind them you are there. Depending on the size and scope of your organisation, consider updating once daily or weekly to get the balance right.

Let Your Message Shine

As well as a regular LinkedIn page, NFPs should also look into becoming involved in the Linkedin Answers community. This is a simple way to keep your finger on the pulse and in touch with what questions are arising in and about your industry. By asking and getting new information, knowledge bases of all parties can grow. Being the one to answer others queries can help develop a reputation for expertise.

Overall, LinkedIn is an affordable way to reach a lot of people, and generate valuable business contacts. It is effective when used well, and can drive traffic to your organisation’s main page and message. For further information straight from the source, have a look at LinkedIn’s special page just for not-for-profits. The training program provided is a true course to getting your feet wet.

promotional-products-694790_640Nearly everyone these days is pressed for time. We all have things that we need to get done each day in our personal and professional lives, but there simply aren’t enough hours in each day.

As new assignments, unfinished work and deadlines continue to pile up; stress continues to build and eventually takes its toll.

Thankfully there is a way to get more done each day, without losing your last bit of sanity!

Increase Your Productivity by Reducing Your Stress Levels

In the year 2001, the renowned productivity expert, David Allen first published his groundbreaking work, “Getting Things Done, The Art of Stress Free Productivity.” In his book, Allen explains that the key to increasing your productivity is to learn how to unwind and relax.

According to Allen, as you release things that cause stress and bring more order into your life, you can gain clarity and increase your productivity. To help readers to be able to relax by introducing order and organisation into their lives, Allen uses what he calls the GTR or, Get-Things-Done, approach.

What is GTD and How Can it Help You to Accomplish More?

GTD helps you to be able to lower your stress by helping you to organise, manage and keep up with all of those things that bring us stress: to-do lists, assignments, deadlines, schedules, and priorities. Rather than having to keep up with all of these different pieces of information by storing them in our active memory, GTD helps you to develop your own system for recording them and getting them off of your mind.

Since you don’t have all of this work constantly on your mind and looming over you, and interrupting your thoughts, you can relax. This allows you to focus on whatever task is at hand and most important to you at the moment, and enables you to actually able to complete tasks more quickly, and with greater creativity.

GTD Basics – Steps to Get More Organised Each Day

  1. Choose a recording method that’s easy for you to use. The first step in the GTD process is to decide how you are going to record all of your to-do-lists, deadlines, thoughts, assignments, projects, appointments and more. It should be a system that’s easy for you to use, regardless of where you happen to be. Some people find that it’s easiest to use “old school” methods such as pads of paper, physical journals or day calendars, sticky notes and whiteboards. Others take the tech route and use one of the incredible apps, such as Evernote, OneNote and more that are available to help you organise your life and keep up with everything that’s important to you. Regardless of how you decide to record everything that’s important, pick an option and stick with it.
  1. After you record your thought or assignment, break your thoughts out into steps to take and complete the action.
  1. Assign categories and priorities for each of your thoughts, and include due dates or projected times for completion into your record. This one simple step will help you to be able to organise your day and to help you keep up with all of your deadlines.
  1. Take the time to look over your list each day and throughout your day to decide which task or record you want to complete first. You will get more done through the day if you first choose those tasks that you can do quickly and that don’t require a lot of effort or energy. Move on to more detailed tasks through the day. Periodically review the progress that you are making with your lists. Over time you may find that you need to change the priority, or even completely change the steps necessary to complete certain tasks and achieve certain goals.
  1. Focus on the task at hand, and then move on to the next assignment. Since you’ve already broken up each task into the steps that it will take to complete it, and have assigned all of your tasks a priority and a due date, you no longer waste time wondering what item you should work on next. Removing this ambiguity and uncertainty will also help to reduce your stress levels so that you get more accomplished.

Your GTD System Should Evolve and Grow With You

Over time, you may find that your system of recording your lists isn’t working out for you. In fact, this is likely to happen if you allow your system to become too complicated and cumbersome to keep up with.

The best thing about the GTD system is that there aren’t any hard or fast rules, and it’s open to your interpretation. Personalising the system to use recording tools that are easy for you to use and keep up with, and keeping your system straightforward and easy to understand will increase your organisation as well as your productivity.

Periodically review your GTD system and continually look for ways to simplify your processes over time so that your system continues to evolve and grow with you, while reducing your stress.

startup-593327_640The Challenge

Volunteer Club Treasurers can have big shoes to fill. Their job is an important one, usually with the future of an entire operation resting on it being done properly. Some treasurers take over the job with no prior experience, and spend overwhelming weeks learning the ropes. If they are unlucky, they get little thanks, and often no time to get used to how things roll.

The Solution

If they are lucky, someone introduces them to Admin Bandit. Admin Bandit Volunteer Treasurer Software is precisely the sidekick a new treasurer needs, to make sure nothing important is overlooked, and all bases are covered. When it comes to offering a useful, accurate and complete financial record keeping system for community organisations, there is no one who knows the ins and outs like the Admin Bandit team.

Training and Online Help Included

One of the major draws for the Admin Bandit system is the accessible training and impeccable support available. Many users have given feedback that the learning of the software is easy, and success is facilitated by timely communication with staff.

Secure and Convenient

Another reassuring aspect of Admin Bandit is that all records are kept online. The privacy and security are second to none. Records cannot be tampered with by anyone other than administrators and, as they are stored in cyberspace, cannot be lost or destroyed.

Prepare Proper Documents

Admin Bandit offers a thorough way to prepare documents that other officers are going to need to see. There is no fear of being overly scrutinised or doubted with the records Admin Bandit enables. The system presents complete lists that treasures can tick off to make sure everything required is presented. Even new treasurers can feel confident they will produce a set of documents other board members can read, and will pass muster when tax auditors look them over. Legal responsibilities of the volunteer treasurer can weigh heavily on an inexperienced person’s mind, but with Admin Bandit all worries are vanquished.

Look No Further!

If you have been looking for a way to better record the expenses and income of your organisation, as well as a reliable, regular way to reconcile all accounts and make sure your papers are properly in order, there is no one who can help you more than Admin Bandit: Software for Volunteer Treasurers. There are several levels of licence available, and a 55 day trial for new users.