Thinking and Doing

Workshops for 2014

Save the Dates and Sharpen your Skills with me:

The Case for Planned Giving

January 22, 8:30 – 10:00 a.m. at Volunteer Alexandria, 123 N. Alfred St.  Alexandria. RSVP to

Boot Camp for Changing the World: How to Start, Manage and Grow a Nonprofit Organization, at Small Business Development Center of Alexandria (

January 30, February 25, March 27th from 9:00 – 11:00 a.m.


Here are the details on these workshops:


The Case for Planned Giving

Donations are not just for the end of the year.    Learn about the benefits of starting a planned giving program for your organization, and/or the pros of donating through a bequest, please join Donna Manges Business and Family Retirement and Insurance Consultant AIG Insurance and Retirement, American General Life Company and AIG Benefit Solutions, and me, Jennifer Ayers, at one of three talks on The Case for Planned Giving.   You will leave with a better understanding of how nonprofits can benefit from a planned giving program, how to integrate it into a development plan, how to make a legacy gift to a cause.   The first workshop will take place January 22 from 8:30- 10:00 at Volunteer Alexandria Conference Room, 123 N. Alfred Street, Alexandria, VA.  If you can’t make it in January, please stay tuned, we’ll be hosting two more workshops before tax day, contact me at for more information or to RSVP.


Alexandria Small Business Development Center is hosting a Nonprofit workshop facilitated by JL Ayers Consulting, LLCBoot Camp for Changing the World: How to Start, Manage and Grow a Nonprofit Organization,

To register contact SBDC Alexandria (

Expert speakers for this series are: 

  • Larry Checco, President of Checco Communications and a nationally sought-after speaker on branding and leadership
  • Tom Hay, Ph.D., A2B Research and Development, LLC
    Page W. Moon, CIO of Focus Data Solutions
  • Catherine M. Pennington, CPA, Senior Manager Renner & Company, CPA
  • Ben Takis, Founder and Principal Attorney at Tax-Exempt Solutions, PLLC
  • Robert J. Weil, PLLC- Law Offices of Robert J. Weil 

 This workshop series will help you better understand the basics you need to help others and change the world.    All types of nonprofits (foundations, associations, professional societies, fraternal organizations, educational institutions, charities, advocacy, and civic organizations) are welcome.   Attendees will hear from experts on legal, accounting, governance, risk management, fundraising, branding, and the operational policies that are needed to manage a nonprofit to ensure the focus remains on the mission.   All sessions are meant to be interactive.  

Welcome to Thinking & Doing- Where does the time go?


Welcome to my new blog, an attempt to inspire thinking about nonprofit management and share ideas on how to do the things we think about doing.

Reduce your Overhead- Indirect Rate-Management and Administration-Fundraising Expense.    Think about what these terms mean to a manager, a board member, a volunteer, an individual donor, a foundation, a corporate partner.  Then, think about how staff time is allocated.  Then think about how the outside world determines if a nonprofit is successful and worthy of a donation.   Complicated?  Confused?

Nonprofits of all kinds are continually pressured to reduce their overhead and focus on services and programs that are well evaluated and measured.  And, this is generally a good thing that helps organizations perform efficiently and be accountable to their public.  But the while this sounds simple,  the operating reality is often complex.   Some nonprofits don’t allocate time, and some operate under the philosophy that all time should be spent on program (including events) or services, some misunderstand the idea of tracking time spent in administration and fundraising to be a bad thing instead of one that has other returns to the organization.   Some are even fearful in investing in infrastructure that supports staff and program objectives.   The flip-side, some board members don’t consider staff time as a program costs that may be directing human power away from other core programs or services.  Donors want their money have the most direct benefit, and some corporations want to make sure their dollars are used wisely and offer an intangible return on investment. Now, we also need to consider the watchdogs that monitor an organization’s success and what they view as the right ratio.   Complex?  Still Confused?

Follow a plan to ensure time is allocated to the right areas; work with an accounting professional to determine how to do this if it’s not already in place.   Be real about how time is spent and monitor this periodically to make sure dollars and time spent in any area is right for the organization.   Share this information in an interesting financial presentation and with your leadership.  They may disagree, but they may also want to see changes in the distribution of staff time.  This can also be used as a conversation starter to motivate or change employee behavior- “Hey Bob? Why are you spending so much time on X, when our focus is Z?  How can I help?”

Key Point:  It’s important to remember what is right for one organization is not necessarily right for another.  This is why we should find what works best in a real operating reality based on the needs and priorities of the organization rather than lock into an ratio established by an external organization.   When true allocations are measured and reviewed inefficiencies will come to light and management can work with leadership using real data to find better ways to deliver programs and services in a way that supports the mission.

Homework- tell me if your organization tracks staff time and what it means for the organization.  —JLA


Welcome to the re-launch of my business site.   I’ll be sharing my experiences and knowledge here.   My goal is to make you a more effective professional and if there is anything I can do to help in that regard please let me know.

J. L.