Video on Decision-making

Posted September 6, 2010 by drrickhoefer
Categories: Capacity Building, decision-making, EBP, Evidence-based practice, Nonprofit Management, Social Work Management

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Here’s a video I made relating to how to make better decisions. Please let me know what you think.

Flow chart with features 2

Using Knowledge for success,
Dr. Rick Hoefer

Posted September 5, 2010 by drrickhoefer
Categories: Uncategorized

Rene Descartes, while a man of faith, was also one of the ultimate people of the Enlightenment.
He wrote: “We should never allow ourselves to be persuaded excepting by the evidence of our Reason…”

Some recent work on brain biology, and the role of dopamine in shaping decisions may make this statement a bit out of date–or maybe not…. More later as I process the information rationally.

Using knowledge for success.

Dr. Rick Hoefer

Long Time No See

Posted August 8, 2010 by drrickhoefer
Categories: Capacity Building, Leadership, nonprofit, Nonprofit Management, Social Work Management, Uncategorized

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This blog went dormant for a while as I was writing a book, Social Policy Creation and Evaluation, for Oxford University Press. While I can’t promise that I’ll be a perfect correspondent, I do promise to get going again! Thanks for your patience and here’s a little something to get back with.

A quick review of “Organizational Leadership and its Impact on Social Workers’ Job Satisfaction: A National Study” by Kathy Elpers and David Westhuis, Administration in Social Work, 32(3), 2008, pp. 26-43.

While the main finding, that organizational leadership impacts job satisfaction, comes as no surprise, the chief selling point of this manuscript is the methodology the authors use. They employ Structural Equation Modeling, a technique that is multivariate and allow multiple pathways to be examined, thus providing a very good way of looking at their data from 2,500 randomly selected social workers.

Thus, I put great credence in the following conclusion by the authors:

“Our analysis found that there were statistically significan differences between what social workers expected from their supervisors compared to what they perceived their supervisors provided, as measured by the total score for the LPI [Leadership Practices Inventory]. …the expectation scores were higher than the perceived leadership scores…as the difference between expected and perceived leadership increases, there is a corresponding lower level of reported job satisfaction…” (p. 36.

The practical significance of this is clear: give ’em what they want (if you can) and they’ll be more satisfied. Presumably, you’ll get more of what you, the supervisor, want in return!

Using Knowledge for Success,
Dr. Rick Hoefer

Another Financial Worry for Nonprofits

Posted April 24, 2010 by drrickhoefer
Categories: Fundraising, nonprofit, Nonprofit financial management, Nonprofit Management, Social Work Management, Uncategorized

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All good things must end, I guess.

Auto companies got stimulus funds, banks got stimulus funds, and even some nonprofits got stimulus funds. Nonprofits used their new resources to provide additional help to clients and to hire new staff to work these expanded programs.

But, these funds are ending, even though the increased need of clients has not yet ended. Workers may be facing layoffs.

In Florida, the state is examining the possibility of eliminating the Office on Homelessness and all the staff who work there will need to find other jobs. Nonprofit workers providing the services funded by this Office will also need to look for employment.

Legislative advocacy to keep the funds flowing may be a good idea, but will need to be seen in light of the Republican desire to be in the majority in the US House and Senate. It’s hard to think that their desire to cut the budget deficit will allow additional time for stimulus funding to exist.

Using knowledge for success,

Dr. Rick Hoefer

4 Things Nonprofit Supervisors Must Do

Posted April 21, 2010 by drrickhoefer
Categories: Capacity Building, Evidence-based practice, nonprofit, Nonprofit Management, Social Work Management

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Today’s article relates to the management of human service organizations. In the last post, we looked at what organizations can do relating to their environments. This post relates to manager and employee relationships, so it looks only at internal issues.

Cindy Juby and Maria Scannapieco conducted research on child welfare agency workers and managers. In line with other research, they find that:

“Supervisor support, availability of resources, and caseworker ability all are contributing factors associated with satisfaction with workload management. Having available resources was the most influential variable, however, supervisor support increased both the workers’ perceptions of available resources and their ability to adequately perform their job duties besides directly affecting satisfaction with workload management” (p. 103).

In non-academic jargon, regardless of what supervisors can provide in terms of resources, they should provide:

Case guidance;

Emotional support;

Availability; and

Help with problems.

This will help workers feel more satisfied with their caseload management, regardless of the actual size of the workload.

Of course, worker ability has an impact, but more supervisor support reduces the possible negative impact ability can have.

So, a word to supervisors:

While you can’t control the organization’s environment, you can have a big impact on the environment of your workers by providing support in terms of case guidance, emotional support, availability and help with problems.

Using knowledge for success,

Dr. Rick Hoefer

SOURCE: Juby, C. & Scannapieco, M. (2007). Characteristics of workload management in public child welfare agencies. Administration in Social Work, 31(3), 95-109.

3 Things Nonprofits Must Do to Thrive

Posted April 20, 2010 by drrickhoefer
Categories: Advocacy, Agency Policy Documentation, Capacity Building, EBP, Fundraising, nonprofit, Policy practice, Social Work Management, strategic planning

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One of the original purposes of this blog was to be to disseminate research knowledge in short bursts—just a quick summary of some of the important papers that have been published in the past few years.

I’ve written for the past month on the horrid funding environment for nonprofits currently and the managerial problems that is causes. But there are three things that research indicate must be done to prepare to the future.

Julie Steen and Thomas Smith describe three primary areas where agencies can prepare: political connectivity, documentation of agency policies, and comprehensive strategic planning.

This research is based on the view that agencies are affected by their environment but that they also can have an impact on it. This is frequently known as the ecological model.

Political connectivity is the extent to which agency leaders are interacting with the leaders of organizations outside the agency, in its environment. This could include governmental leaders (elected and appointed), foundation leaders, business leaders, even university leaders. All of these leaders have resources that the nonprofit may wish to gain access to.

Documentation of agency policies is said to be helpful to running the agency, of course, but can also be helpful to deal with the ever-present threat of lawsuits.

Strategic planning is important because it represents the application of best thinking relating to the organizations strengths, and weaknesses, and relates them to opportunities and threats in the environment. Such planning can provide guidance to the agency as it chooses among various routes it could take to keep afloat. One of the most distressing results from the study is that “Less than a quarter of the organizations reported having a strategic plan that included attention to funding” (p. 37).

Using knowledge for success,

Dr. Rick Hoefer
SOURCE: Steen, J. & Smith, T. (2007). An assessment of the minimization of risk and maximization of opportunity among private nonprofit agencies in Florida. Administration in Social Work, 31(3), 29-39.