Piece by Piece

The last four months feels more like four weeks; it’s gone by so quickly. As you probably know, on Jan. 1, 2017, MAP for Nonprofits and Nonprofits Assistance Fund merged to become one organization (now Propel Nonprofits), offering a broader and deeper range of programs and services for nonprofits. Our larger team of staff, volunteers, and board members has accomplished a lot in the last four months, and we’re excited about much more to come.

Here’s an update:

Programs: The breadth of our work now includes capital, finance, strategy, and governance. Our services include loans, training workshops on finance and board governance, guidance to answer questions or think through challenges and opportunities, consulting for strategic and business planning and board development, accounting, and fiscal sponsorship. Since all of these aspects of leading and managing nonprofits are connected, some of the most exciting work we’ve been doing together is trying out ways to bring the parts together and make it simpler for nonprofits. As an example, if the board of a nonprofit wants to learn about effective governance practices, we can integrate the financial leadership and oversight training as well.

Staff: The merged organization has 30 talented staff members and six volunteers. Everyone is getting to know each other, working together on teams through integration projects, and learning about all of the programs and resources. We’re growing, too, with four new members added to our team this year.

Office location: Everyone has been flexible and creative in using space for the last few months, after the staff from MAP moved into temporary space in the Greenway Office Building where NAF has been located. We can’t wait until mid-June when we’ll move into a beautiful new office space at Riverplace in Minneapolis, across the Hennepin Avenue bridge from downtown at Main Street. The new office has plenty of room for growth, several conference rooms, lots of places to gather and work together, and lots of windows. If you’ve had any meetings with us recently, you’ll know why we’re excited. Watch for the official notice of the new address and an invitation to stop by.

Name and identity: We have started the exciting, and a little daunting, project of naming the merged organization. Through insight sessions with staff, board, and clients we learned about the shared attributes and differences of the two legacy organizations. We also discovered the universal passion for nonprofits shared by everyone. Our next steps are to identify the right name for our organization and then to develop its brand identity, including logo, colors, tone, etc., that reflects who we are today and who we will become in the future. Like you, we are impatient for new brand, but know this is important work that we need to do right.

Website: We’ve heard from you that having two websites is confusing. Planning for a new site is in the works and should be ready in a few months. In the meantime, both the MAP site and NAF site will have more complete information about staff, training registrations, complete program information, and more links so you can find what you’re looking for without checking both sites.

Merger integration: Merging two organizations requires merging systems, procedures, policies, and cultures. We have a list of tasks ranging from the mundane, like consolidating office supply vendors and getting enough keys for all staff, to the complex, like integrating two databases and accounting systems. Our staff, volunteers, and board members are working together on several integration teams that are all moving quickly.

Accomplishments: Meanwhile, everyone is delivering great mission work every day. Our fiscal year just ended on March 31st. During the last year (which includes three months as the merged organization) we made 111 loans to nonprofits totaling $15.4 million, presented over 80 training sessions on finance and governance, worked with over 100 nonprofits on strategy, financial systems and accounting, and added seven new projects for fiscal sponsorship.

It’s so rewarding to see these early successes of the merger of MAP for Nonprofits and Nonprofits Assistance Fund emerge, and to be able to look ahead and see the full promise of the combination.

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