Non-Profit Management Concentration webinar featuring Dr. Jim Mahoney

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Our online Master of Public Administration at Ohio University can help you build the skills to address public needs in effective, efficient, and imaginative ways. We want you to take the big ideas in your head and put them into action by helping you develop as a project manager, communicator, policy analyst, and financial mind. When you have an expert understanding of public administration and the professional tools to back it up, you can lead a career of consequence for your constituents.


Hello everyone. Welcome to today’s online Master of Public Administration webinar.

Thank you so much for joining us. We will be discussing today’s dates the non-profit management specialization and have a quick conversation with our very special guest Dr. Jim Mahoney. We will give everybody just another couple of seconds to be able to log on. I see that there are some people attempting to log on as we speak, so give it just about 30 seconds and we will get started.

All right everyone. Welcome. Once again thank you so much for taking time out of your, no doubt, very busy days, today. My name is Aili Byng. Some of you may have already spoken to me. I am the enrollment advisor with Ohio University’s online MPA. Today we will be discussing, as I mentioned before, the nonprofit management specialization and having a quick conversation with our very special guest Dr. Mahoney, who is our executive and residence. More about him in just a minute or so. So that you have an idea of what we’re going to be doing today, here you’ll see today’s agenda. We are going to try to keep this at right about 30 minutes if not just under– We know that you all have busy days and we’re taking advantage of a part of your lunch hour. So we’ll try to give you a little bit of that time in return. If we cannot get to all of your questions, please do not doubt. I will reach out to you and answer those questions individually, so let’s go ahead and get started with today’s agenda.

As you’ll see here we are going to be looking at here a little bit of the program overview so you have an idea. It is 12 classes total, nine of which are in what we call, the core coursework. 27 credits. You’ll see some of them shown here. Public budgeting, foundations of public administration, organizational leadership, public and private partnerships. Super exciting stuff. And then you’ll also see in the next slide is two different concentrations that we have currently. Public leadership and management concentration for nine credit hours, three classes and then today’s conversation around the nonprofit management concentration, also nine credit hours. And those are going to be nonprofit financial management and resource development. Super crucial to nonprofit managers, the nonprofit leadership and governance class and thenthe really terrific – I hear such great things about this course and how it’shelping nonprofit managers – the strategic communications and outreach class.

So let’s quickly dive into quick introduction from our very special guests, executive- in-residence at Ohio, Dr. Jim Mahoney. Dr.Mahoney say hello to all of our attendees. Hi hi. Tell us a little bit of your background please. Other than the fact that I’m old, let me give you very. Very quickly, I was a. After serving as an army officer, I was a school teacher, elementary secondary principal. I was a school superintendent for 15 years and all that prepared me for the best job I ever had, which was at Battelle for Kids, which was a not-for-profit organization that really was devoted to improving schools student performance and we had the pleasure of working with school systems in many different states in doing that. So my my most recent experience over the last 15 years was with a non-for-profit organization. Very good and you currently serve as the executive-in-residence at Voinovich is that correct?

I am. And so I teach classes around this on campus and then still work with a variety of not-for-profits and school systems in my role as executive-in residence. So while I’m not directly responsible, I still get to help in a variety of ways.

Thank you so much. So ladies and gentlemen, as you’ve probably heard me say, if you’ve spoken to me, but it certainly bears repeating. This is an exact example of one of the things that we say, sets us apart at Ohio University because you are going to be learning from individuals who have that real-world experience. Who have not spent although there’s nothing wrong with that, their entire careers in academia. Now you’ve got someone here is very clearly displayed on the slide that you’re seeing with really fantastic experience and background, that he brings to the classes that he is teaching and also to all of the other professors that he has relationships with. So that really helps the program in general, as well so let’s talk about. Dr. Mahoney, what really makes a good non profit manager? I have worked in nonprofits before as a program director for a number of years prior to the recession, so it really takes a very specific skill set, as well as, having some things that are sort of outside the norm, so real good sales ability for example. Dr. Mahoney I feel like you would agree with that, so tell us a little bit about what you feel a goodnonprofit manager might have. We’ve got something here on the slide, but expound on that a little for our attendees.

Yeah let let I tell you what, I’m gonna start with a book that just came out about oh maybe three months ago by Morton Hanson.The book is called “Great at Work” and it was a study of about 5,000 managers and employees and Morton Hanson worked with Jim Collins for a number of years. So this is sort of a spinoff from his “good to great,” but one of the things in the study, he looked at if you were hiring people and you could hire only for purpose or passion what would you hire for and just imagine a 2×2 grid. Now of course we want people who have both passion and purpose and their chances of being star performers there at the 84th percentile. If you have neither, your chances is 10% but when he isolates passion and purpose what’s clear is purpose matters more, so when I come back to a good nonprofit manager, it is really important that you believe in this mission. You believe in this purpose. The people whom I’ve seen have made a real difference they they had some core beliefs and what they were trying to accomplish and usually it started with what problems are you trying to solve? What is it that if you did, would change the world? And so as I think about the people that we had who worked for us at Battelle for Kids, when we first started it was me and we grew to, at one time we probably had 130 – 140 people. What everybody who came believed in that mission so and there has to be clarity with it you know what you’re trying to solve and you know what the purpose is and you have a host of all these. I also think about this a Warren Bennis wrote a book many years ago and the quote he added it was “Leaders do the right things, while managers do things rightly.” And I want you think about the difference here. The difference is when you think about a leader, you’re helping to cast a vision with people. This is. I’ll give you one of my when I think about a mission I love the Alzheimer’s. Their vision is this “A world without Alzheimer’s.” That has great clarity. That brings people together. Managers – then you figure out how, what are the programs we’re going to offer, how will we raise money to support those or create services that might sell the communications both internally and externally because your internal communications – I want to keep everybody who works there on board and my experience is people are down on what they’re not up on and if only a handful of people are working on the strategic part and everybody else doesn’t know, that doesn’t work. So people need to, leaders particularly, need to communicate internally but then externally what’s your brand, who are the people that you’re trying to influence outside the organization, whom are donors that would buy into that vision, and who would like to contribute ways, who are other partners that you might work with that you could add value to what they’re doing, but I think all of this starts with the single most important thing is – What is our mission? What problem are we trying to solve? And to be able to clearly articulate that because sometimes we get into things and somebody it ought to be the thing if you get on an elevator and we’re on the second floor and we’re going to the 18th floor, you’ve got thirty three seconds to take that ride and somebody looks at you about your organization and they go “Well what’s blank do?” You ought to be able to quickly and clearly tell them that and that represents your mission. So what I think about that there are lots of things that are inherent with adding to people’s skills from marketing to communication and finance and doing a market analysis because you know who are your collaborators, who are your competitors, how do we become first, best, or different. So there’s there’s all these are all part of it but I’m going to start with the core again which is your purpose. What is your purpose? What problem are you trying to solve? Because that’s what you need. A commitment to. That’s what carries people through long hours because they are about making a difference and it’s why I’ve seen this whole field become proliferated with so many more because people want to make a difference. And social entrepreneurism because that’s not the. You can also do that and raise revenue through good work. These are not at all correct. Yeah let me stop there because I could go on for a long time. I’m not yeah. I know at the end of the day you want to be a leader somebody wants to follow. Last time I checked, there is no leadership without followership. And there’s a whole host of skills that engenders followership that leaders can do. That’s what this nonprofit management is about.

Very good point and to your other point where you’re using the elevator speech analogy. It’s funny that you use that because I use that quite often in my conversations with prospective students, so that they can see what our courses are going to help them do. The skills that are going to be added to that toolbox that they’re carrying around. So for example the strategic communications and outreach class really helped create that communications plan that’s a living document that will help you do that very thing if you find yourself in the elevator with Bill and Melinda Gates. And you have an opportunity to say to them this is what my nonprofit is all about. We’d love to be able to get your foundation support. This is something that our coursework will really help you with and you will find. That you will gain so much more, not only from the professors and Dr. Mahoney’s experience in particular, but also your colleagues, your fellow classmates. They are also going to be quite experienced and knowledgeable and you’ll be able to have that real great exchange of ideas. So this course can really help you be better than you ever thought you could be at this work. So Dr. Mahoney let’s jump in quickly into a couple of these questions. Um let’s talk about how you get an entire organization involved with fundraising. I think you touched on that a little bit when you were talking about the leaders in the organization making the decisions, but also having everyone on board. Let’s sort of expound on that a little bit.

Yeah I think transparency, typically when not-for-profits are at their infancy, it’s a small group of people, but as you grow, at the end of the day, fundraising starts with friend raising. And we all impact that and degree to which we’re clear on, “ok here’s what we’re trying to accomplish, what are sources of revenue, who are people that might be interested.” That ought to be a conversation you have with the entire staff because it’s everybody’s responsibility to articulate the mission, to create friends, to share results, so that it matters.

I mean one of the things that I really appreciate. the huge expertise of some professors I work with. But I’m always reminded of asked Dr. Charles Mayo founder of the Mayo Clinic when he got ready to retire they say, “what’s the best advice you’d give to a new doctor?” And he thought for a minute, he said, “You need to try to imagine that if you were a patient, what kind of a doctor would you want and then be that kind of doctor.” It’s pretty good advice for most things, so if you think about if you were a donor, what would you want somebody to explain to you. What are the things. So I think this is and I’d say in our organization this fundraising was everybody’s business. It wasn’t just senior leadership and it really is because people come in touch with so many different people but being able to again articulate the mission, understand what the revenue model is because sometimes in our organization there was a group who would go after grants, there’s another group that would do partnerships, there was another group that would do donor contributions and then our biggest group frankly was fee-for-service, to have some things that others would want they’re willing to pay for so, but everybody in our organization knew all these things.

So and it kind of leads into the next one, I think about what makes a successful event? And there so what’s our goal? When it’s over, who do we want to have come? What do we want them to do? How do we want them to feel? If you you’ve thought about what you want before you do it and then you’re marketing it and then if it does what you hoped it would do and you have evidence for that. So if I have an event where I’m just teaching somebody new skills, but I may also have an event to where I’m targeting possible donors that event may be different, so I need think about the outcomes of the event. And then all those details to make it an event, so you’d want to come to. So that it’s engaging, it’s interesting. I will tell you one of the hallmarks of a successful event isn’t any different than a successful class. It’s where you’ve been engaged. You don’t want to be in that position to where people have long since stopped listening before you stop talking and the way to do that is to find ways to engage people in the event. And you know I talked a little bit about the funding streams, but depending on what your mission is, the funding streams could be different but all of them represent an opportunity. So if I’m creating a food bank. The funding streams for that it’s not likely that I’m going to have. I’m going to sell an app with that. So the funding streams could be in-kind services, it may be direct donations for people who want to do that. So I think there’s a fundraising for plan for any kind of organization but you need to go with what’s consistent with the mission and the audiences that you’ll attract. It’s sort of like, I’m an old basketball coach and part of what I did was, each year I would take the talent that I had and we’d structure our offense around the talent. So if I had kids who love to run and press, that would be different than if I had kids who were slower like to rebound, control, you get the idea here. So so part. There isn’t a one plan fits all but there are a set of questions. And that’s part of this whole program, so you begin to take your passion and how do you turn that into a successful social enterprise that generates revenue that enables you to do more good. But people who do this come into it largely because they have a real heart for it. But a hearts not enough you need some skills, some ideas to help you do it.

Well that’s a really good point Dr. Mahoney and this is the type of program, as you said, that will help prospective students, increase that skillset and that knowledge. The courses that were chosen were chosen specifically for that reason, right? That’s why we go to grad school. To get better at what we are doing. And then when we are mission driven individuals, as most people are in non-profit, that’s what we’re looking for from our graduate program and the professors that are going to be helping us learn. So thank you so much for that point. I think the last thing I want to point out on this is, much like your financial guru might say to you for your own 401k or retirement plan: diversify, diversify, diversify is probably a really good motto to keep in mind when you’re talking about fundraising, right?

Yeah and I think one of the things that we used to talk about was we never wanted to have a single point of failure when we first began. We worked with one organization and work very very well, but if that organization. Our revenue was dependent upon our relationship with them and what we sold and we didn’t want to have a single point of failure and that’s true for revenues and so you figure out what are other pieces you could do that are still consistent with your mission that create a different stream of revenue generation. People people want to help with things that are worthy of helping. And there are lots of great models out there and ideas to look at. So yeah that’s the purpose in taking classes so that you’re not only starting with a scratch of paper, you can learn from things that you read, people who have experience, people who have written about these topics that give you starting points. So you can add your own ideas. That’s what this program does. It gets you headed in the right direction but it’ll never take away from your own creativity, your own relationships that you build with people to create models that work for you. That’s a fantastic way to put that and so a perfect segue to what the specialization can help you do.

So understanding the tradition of philanthropy and fundraising, examining of course, those practical and moral and legal issues involved and understanding the value of fundraising, how to apply those techniques all of that that you’ve just referred to and in a way that is very actively involved. You’re going to be proactive in what you’re learning and engage with your professors and with your fellow classmates and when I speak to people who are already in the program or who have just finished or in their last semester they say to me, “Aili, I didn’t believe that it was going to be this engaging. When I first started, I thought I was going to feel like I was on my own out in the ether and trying to figure it out by myself and that’s what scared me. And you were right, when you said it was going to be engaging and I was going to have an opportunity to learn the things that I really needed to learn to be successful in my career.” And it’s because it means so much to you all, being mission driven that we focused on the set of classes, the specific coursework in the in the specialization but also the professors much like Dr. Mahoney and what they also bring to the table.

So let’s quickly jump over to some nonprofit and NGO job examples for those of you who may not be in nonprofit just yet and are transitioning into nonprofit. You’ll be able to take a look at some of these. Do a little research. LinkedIn job searches are always great. Indeed, Glassdoor, get an idea of what those job requirements and the job descriptions say and see if that’s something that matches up with who you are and also scroll down to what the requirements are for the education and I would hazard a guess and say probably 95 percent of these positions are going to ask for an MPA or a graduate degree of some type so keep that in mind as you’re your decision about our MPA program.

So why would you choose OHIO? Now here’s a really good point about what I was saying before about the real world experience such as Dr. Mahoney’s and coming now and teaching you all as students. It’s one of the reasons why you should choose OHIO. Another is that we do not require the GRE or the GMAT and you can get this program completed in two years, which is a really viable time frame for your career but also for your personal life because of the way we’ve set this up to be 100% online. Taking. Making forward progress to classes every semester but taking those classes one at a time so you’re concentrating on that one class for seven weeks of the semester and really retaining all the knowledge. That’s why you go to grad school to get better. We don’t want to overwhelm you and then have you having to repeat courses. This is why we do it one class at a time and still be able to make forward progress and be done that real viable two-year timeframe. Another thing that I want to point out is that what we were referring to before. That accessible and really engaging student experience. Don’t worry about a campus residency. Don’t worry about having to be logged on at a specific time of day or specific day of the week or specific number of hours a week. That is not what we are about. We are about being deadlines driven and asynchronous. Make sure that your homework assignments are turned in before they are due the minute before or the day before that is not quite as relevant. What is relevant is that they are turned in prior to their given deadline date and time. You also will not need to worry about a capstone or any experiential learning. You are. Most of you in the fields already and therefore experiencing that experiential learning or right now.

We have a very strong support system available for you throughout the entire degree process. Myself. I always make myself available to my students throughout the entire process. In fact I’ve been invited to a graduation already. We also have a student support specialists that will be with you throughout the process as your point of contact. Your administrative assistants if you will, for all things administrative about registering on time for classes, what books are going to be required, etc. We are also the only public service school in the United States that partners with the College of Business on a Center for Entrepreneurship. This is a really big deal and something that we’re very proud of. It makes us that much better because of what we’re learning in that Center for Entrepreneurship. And of course ranked very highly, very proud of that, as well in the United States by Best Value schools.

So let’s see if there are any questions. You’ll see the Q&A section there if you would like to start on asking those questions, we’re happy to answer them. By the way, if we do not get to them all, as I mentioned at the top of be half hour, I will be reaching out to you individually so keep adding those questions and I promise you you will hear from me about answers to those. So let’s see. Here we go.

Good question. Okay. So time frames to submit application. So let me just jump over to the next slide. That’s a really good question. Especially at this time of the semester. So best practice so that you are aware, is to submit prior to Thanksgiving. You’re going to see the link here but you’ve also going to receive it in documentation you’ll get from me. The deadline is actually November the 30th, but because of the holidays, keep that in mind everybody loses about a week over Thanksgiving week. We also are closed between Christmas and New Year’s at the end of December, so certainly keep that in mind as you’re submitting your application. It’s really important to not be the person that is calling your recommender over Thanksgiving break and saying, “Hey! Why haven’t you submitted my recommendation letter?” So if you’re able to get it submitted prior to, please go ahead and get it submitted prior to.

Oh very good here’s another good question and I’m going to ask you Dr. Mahoney to weigh in on this. They’re asking about the time commitment week to week. Generally I tell students it is somewhere in the neighborhood of 10 to 12 hours a week maybe 12 to 15 if it’s a course that’s not quite in their wheelhouse. How do you feel about that time commitment? Do you feel it that’s fair to say? Yeah that’s probably an average. There would be some week sorta, I’m sure to be less than others and you know it depends upon the projects that you’re getting in but it’s it’s not something that. That you can’t do and I found that the same way I do. That particularly with people that I have that are doing other things. That we’ll figure out how to make it work because what’s important is that you get those opportunities and to your cognizant of people’s lives too.

Very good point. So that brings me to another question. They’re talking about that work-life balance right and so how are we going to do work/life student balance. So this is a really, really good question. So what I generally tell my students and and Dr. Mahoney jump in whenever you like. What I generally tell my students is this um generally speaking. People frown on the word compartmentalization, but I can tell you from experience. A military family. I was an Air Force brat. My brother is also a military veteran, paramedic firefighter and I have been a single parent and I completed my degree online while a single parent with small kids still at home. Compartmentalization is your friend and even in a case such as this where you are deadline-driven and asynchronous and not required to be logged on at a specific time. We are not going to say to you all “okay you need to be logged on for your professors live lecture on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m.” We understand you all are at work at that time, so we are going to make that lecture available to you via an on-demand recording. So then you’re going to be able to manage your life again with the compartmentalization whenever it works for you. The key is to keep in mind the deadlines of when homework assignments are due. Anything you want to add to that?

Why well you know I think the other part is this is look everybody wants a harvest but nobody wants to do the plowing. There is plowing to it and I think about when I was working on a Ph. D and I’m a school superintendent, I have small kids at home and you figure out. What I wouldn’t want to do is mislead somebody because if it things things that don’t require some struggle usually not worth having but you you do have some flexibility and part of this becomes your own self discipline and I think why people really have gravitated to online is you can now fill in these gaps when it’s the best time to do it. If I have to take a class from 6 o’clock to 7 o’clock then sometimes that doesn’t work but sometimes after the kids are in bed this is the time that I can really work on this. And it depends on whether you’re a lark or an owl but at the end you have your own self-discipline to contend with and I think your point about compartmentalize. I’m going to that old adage about “if you want something done ask your busy person” is true. Of course you’re all busy but at the end of the day you see the value of this and you think you know “this is going to help me to get to where I want to be.” So there is some sacrifice.

Thank you so much. That is a really terrific place to end our webcast today. Ladies and gentlemen thank you so much for your time. We kept it to 32 minutes. Just two minutes over what I had expected. So thank you. We appreciate your attendance. You will also once you’ve registered, get this in recording so you can take a look at it at your leisure later on. Thank you everyone for your attendance. Dr. Mahoney thank you so much for your time. And your insight is very very valuable to our prospective students. Enjoy the rest of your day everyone. Thank you.