Working with Not for Profits

I must first preface this by stating that no two companies whether For Profit or Not For Profit operate exactly the same. Much depends on the individuals in key leadership positions as well as the makeup and operation of their respective Boards of Directors.

Many confuse “Not-for-Profit” and “Nonprofit” and while legal statutes may claim that they are one and the same, the Internal Revenue Service has two different definitions. According to the IRS, a “Not-for-Profit” is a group that refers specific activity while “Nonprofit” is an organization established for purposes other than turning a profit. This does not necessarily mean charitable, but refers to any organization that does not intend to turn a profit. This tern usually is used for clubs and civic organizations.

As a consultant your role doesn’t change very much. We are engaged to solve a specific problem, to manage or facilitate projects, to provide advice and sometimes to teach from our experiences. Many of the same processes we use can be brought over from the For Profit world and work seamlessly in the Not-for-Profit sector. Quite often it is how those processes are performed that may be different.

The amount of influence at the Board level in the Not-for-Profit is usually far greater than in the For Profit. Not-for-Profit Board members typically are more directly involved in decisions at more detail in the Not-For-Profit’s. Board Members tend to have more emotional commitment to the cause that they are associated with. Quite often they are also large financial contributors to the organization. Very often the passion of the Board Members has a trickle-down effect directly to the employee level.

Cost quite often becomes the overriding factor in the decision-making process for the Not-for-Profit. A  Not-for-Profit does not consider financial “payoff, or return” as the catalyst the way a For Profit company would. Not-for-Profit funding typically has been hard to come by in the form of grants and donations, boards tend to think long and hard before using those funds where there may be any amount of risk involved. Dollars are not often spent unless they can be tied directly back to the mission and vision of the organization.

So what does all this mean when dealing with a Not-for-Profit?

–        Projects will sometimes move at the speed of light and at other times take 20%-40% longer. Be flexible.

–        Projects may be put on hold while another task takes priority.

–        Relationships are extremely important in any arena. This is also true in the Not-for Profit world.

–        Prove your value as a member of their team with their best interests in mind they will keep calling you back.

–        Know the Mission and Vision of the organization so that you can best serve their needs and desires.

–        Be prepared to find an alternate way of providing the same result for less money

I pride myself on solving the client’s problem within the confines of their culture, and by understanding what drives them I can incorporate my personal values to help them achieve their mission and vision.

Business Recovery Check List

Business Recovery Check List

     Most business owners are aware of basic steps that should be taken before a hurricane, such as backing up computer files and having a preparedness plan. However, after a large storm, you have no idea what condition your business will be in. To keep the business flow as continuous as possible, you need to know what to do right after the hurricane.

What to do after a disaster?   

  • Contact insurance agent or company
  • Have building inspected
  • Contact utilities to restore electric, gas, telephone, and water
  • Re-establish communications with employees, customers and suppliers
  • Assess Damage
    • Note structural, equipment and property damage including inventory, and materials
    • Avoid additional damage by making temporary repairs in order to continue to conduct business at current facility
    • Secure the building if relocation is necessary
  • Cleaning of facility
    • Make sure building is safe before reopening or allowing employees to return
    • Use proper safety items in the clean-up process

Financial Implications

  • File business interruption insurance claim
  • Determine lost income
  • List steps required before the business can reopen
  • Consider financial obligations during interruption, including payroll and debt service
  • Gather the following information for insurance adjusters:
    • Sales records and history
    • Profit and loss statements and income tax forms
  • Maintain records of extra expenses incurred

There are also many state and federal government resources available to businesses. They include: 

NJ Office of Emergency Management 
NJ State Police Headquarters 
PO Box 7058 
West Trenton, NJ 08628 

New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness

P.O. Box 091 

Trenton, NJ 08625-0091 
609-584-5076 or 

American Red Cross (ARC) 
Contact the local chapter for publications on disaster planning. 
American Red Cross Headquarters 
2025 E. Street N.W. 
Washington, D.C. 20006 
The ARC offers emergency training, go to 

Small Business Administration 
New Jersey District Office 
Two Gateway Center 
Newark, NJ 07102 

Federal Emergency Management Agency 
Region II 
26 Federal Plaza 
New York, NY 10278 
212-680-3600 or toll free 800-621-FEMA 

State Government Assistance 
For information on emergency planning and technical assistance contact the Business Action Center at 1-866-534-7789. Call Center representatives are available Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. through 5:00 p.m.

The checklist above from the New Jersey Business Portal that you may want to share with your constituents. Visit to copy it directly from their web site.