Editor's Note

Welcome to the latest Blue Avocado! As a longtime reader, I'm thrilled to be serving as guest editor. I know that I've often used Blue Avocado as a resource, a reminder, and a refuge during those stressful nonprofit emergencies, and I'm happy to present an issue that can be the same for you.

Yes, You Really Need One - Why Strategic Planning Matters and How to do it Better

During a recent call with a leader of a nonprofit organization, he asked a question I've been getting more and more. "Do we really need a strategic plan?"

He continued, "It seems like a lot of work for some pie-in-the-sky document that rarely gets used." If done the wrong way, strategic planning can be exactly that: a lot of work for very little result. However, done well, a strategic plan based on an inspiring vision and thoughtful mission, can significantly improve a nonprofit's impact.

Point-Counterpoint: Too Much Influence or Not Enough - Should Nonprofits Be Allowed to Support Political Candidates

After signalling his intentions to do so at the National Prayer Breakfast in February, on May 4, President Trump signed an executive order aimed at weakening the Johnson Amendment, an act that has received mixed reaction from the nonprofit world. Created in 1954 by then Senator Lyndon Johnson, the legislation prohibits churches and other charitable organizations from direct or indirect political campaigning.

Although Trump cannot single-handedly eliminate the amendment (that's a job for Congress), his executive order takes on enforcement of the legislation in what he described as an attempt to make sure "people aren't unfairly targeted for their beliefs."

But this begs the question: what does the administration's latest move mean for nonprofit organizations? Will chipping away at Johnson be net positive or negative? The answer isn't so clearcut. Here, two voices within the sector weigh in.

How to Access TechSoup Donations and Resources

Have you ever wondered how to navigate the world of TechSoup offerings?
Is your IT system still running Windows 95 and using CDs? Well, have we got the solution for you. TechSoup will be offering a webinar to Blue Avocado users. During this tour and Q&A session, TechSoup will highlight the ways you can make the most of the donation and discount programs for hardware, software, cloud applications, and services available to eligible organizations.

Toolkit: How to Create Cash Flow Projections

For many board members and small nonprofit managers, assessing financial security can create some anxiety. As board members hold fiscal responsibility for the organization, knowing where it stands from a cash flow perspective can be invaluable for making strategic decisions. But this skill sometimes feels out of reach. Many nonprofits operate on a shoestring and spend money when it's available, but knowing the cycle of an organization's cash flow can assist in lifecycle growth. In this helpful video, American Nonprofits' executive director, Marc Rand breaks down the process of cash flow projections, step-by-step.

Nonprofit Spotlight

A new feature of Blue Avocado. Each issue, we'll highlight a community nonprofit that is doing great work within their sector. This issue brings you a nascent nonprofit that bridges social services and the arts. The Trenton Community A-Team (TCAT) in Trenton, N.J. demonstrates how creativity and the arts can be a lifeline for those struggling with social services issues and provides a way to reinvigorate urban communities. Like many small nonprofits trying to get established, the organization struggles with having enough resources to provide ideal staff and programs, but they say seeing the talent and enthusiasm of the participating artists keeps them going.

We asked a few questions to Board Chair, John Kelly about what TCAT is and what they can teach us.