Michael, who goes by Mike, the founder of Sand Associates, consults nonprofits throughout United States and has written three books on starting and running nonprofits. We sat down with him and asked him some key questions that can give you a better feel for who he is and how he became an expert in this field.
1) I noticed on your website you started Sand Associates in 1979, almost 35 years ago. With that being said, you must have seen different trends and regulations in the nonprofit sector. How and why did you start working with nonprofits and how has your company evolved with time and trends?
Mike: I founded Sand Associates in 1979 because I saw a need for a consultant with special expertise in assisting nonprofit organizations. Of course, that was before e-mails and personal computers. All nonprofits now should have written, comprehensive strategic plans which should guide the organization on a regular basis.
2) I have seen examples of nonprofits that had poor accounting records, filed their nonprofit status wrong or have done auctions or raffles that didn’t follow state guidelines which came to haunt them later on. What hidden struggles do you see nonprofits face and how can you help them keep within the legal guidelines of being a nonprofit and fund raising?
Mike: My first recommendation to all nonprofits is that they learn about and follow all federal and state laws and regulations. Their planning must include obtaining legal and accounting advice. In most states, nonprofits must file reports and follow state fundraising regulations. IRS requirements and regulations are available on-line.
3) Do you have any examples you can share with our readers that show how your direct influences has benefited struggling nonprofits become successful nonprofits?
Mike: I have worked with numerous nonprofit organizations to strengthen their boards of directors. Once every board member understands and follows their role to govern the organization, the nonprofit always improves. I have also seen nonprofits improve by developing and implementing a strategic plan. The plan would include a detailed fundraising strategy, a necessity in becoming a successful nonprofit.
4) If a nonprofit would like to work with you and your company how much would they have to budget?
Mike: I realize that funding is limited and therefore I am flexible in my fee structure. One popular plan called Consulting Unlimited provides unlimited consulting by e-mail or phone at a rate of $100 per month.