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Managing a Think Tank in Hard Times The Atlas Liberty Forum 2009 Los Angeles April 25


Managing a Think Tank in Hard Times. The Atlas Liberty Forum 2009. Los Angeles April 25. The Best of Times, the Worst of Times... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Managing a Think Tank in Hard Times The Atlas Liberty Forum 2009 Los Angeles April 25

Managing a Think Tank in Hard TimesThe Atlas
Liberty Forum 2009Los Angeles April 25
The Best of Times, the Worst of Times
  • 1. - The stock market (s) has crashed, and
    trillions of dollars of wealth has been lost
  • 2. - Unprecedented growth of government
  • - The Death of Capitalism
  • 4. We have peoples attention unique
    opportunity for education
  • 5. The average person knows the solutions
    proposed by government will not work they are
    starved for the truth and easily turned
  • 6. We have the philosophy and ideas that will

Keys to success in this environment
  • Be prepared
  • Have in place/access to competence in accounting,
    strategy, management, planning and evaluation
  • Have and use an array of measurement, planning
    and reporting tools
  • Stay positive, focus on the opportunities
  • Communicate with board and staff more frequently
  • 3. Be flexible and opportunistic
  • 4. Act quickly and decisively on difficult
  • You must exude command of the situation,
    insightfulness in your proposed solution, and
    confidence in your ability to succeed

Finding balance
  • Grow revenues
  • Reduce expenses

Grow Revenues
  • Keep and increase revenues
  • Return to the tried and true
  • Dont leave any stone unturned
  • Outside revenue

Reducing Expenses
  • 1. Narrow activities to core, restricted,
    fundable, visible
  • Postpone unfunded projects
  • Renegotiate with funders of partially funded
  • Impose cost cutting measures
  • Rigorous review of staff overhead
  • Partner with others
  • Co-sponsoring projects
  • Creative use of others resources and HR
  • Marketing our experts and products to other
  • Be very present at movement events

Acton Case Study
  • - Quick Facts about Acton
  • No endowment, limited reserve operating capital,
    income heavily weighted toward foundations,
    preponderance of gifts in 4 weeks
  • Early adopters of management tools for the for
    profit sector
  • Planning, Management, Reporting (PMR) system,
    metrics, scorecards, dashboards
  • Early adopters of good governance principles
  • Board website, monthly management report to the
    board, biannual State of the Institute report
  • Committed to professional management
  • Full time professional staff for Finances, Human
    Resources, dedicated staff to planning and
  • 2008 Income/Expense 5,400,000 / 35 FT employees

Monthly Management Dashboard Nov 2007
Advancement Number of donors, gifts and new
gifts remains relatively steady. Overall
donations for the month are down which is due, in
part, to the fact that the year end appeal was
sent out earlier and gifts were received in
November. Actions are up significantly. Renewal
rate continues a positive trend, up 8.2.
Pending proposals are down as many of the
corresponding proposals were sent earlier this
year than last. We continue to work hard to fill
the grant writing position and will begin work on
a significant database review and clean up
project which will help to streamline and build
in useful and cost effective efficiencies. Finance
November income was disappointing in relation
to budget and 2006 results. Even so, we are
325,000 ahead of YTD budgeted income with good
prospects for December. Expenses were in
budgeted range. Lower income combined with
normal expenses resulted in a drawdown of cash
reserves. However, total reserves remain strong
representing more than 3 months expenses heading
into year-end giving time. Media The Call of
the Entrepreneur had a very successful showing at
the Gilder/Forbes Telecosm event at Lake George,
N.Y. in mid-October before a high-powered group
of business and tech leaders. The interest for
private screenings by business, campus and church
groups remains very strong. And our presence on
local and national radio is skyrocketing. The
dramatic fluctuation in print circulation this
year is due to extremely high numbers in May and
July and lower than average numbers in August
thru October. The extremely low ANC numbers are
due to our new Website where the registration
page was difficult to find.
Net YTD 2008 vs. 5-year Average
How will donors react to market losses going
Acton monthly net income 2008 vs. 5-year Average
Dow Vs. Donations
How will (did) donors react to market losses
going forward (from October)?
Acton monthly net income 2008 vs. Average
YTD Net income 2008 and Avg.
Year-End Challenge Grant
  • 21 Match up to 5,000
  • 11 Match over 5,000
  • New
  • Lapsed
  • Increase over prior year

Year-End Challenge Grant
  • Total Qualifying Contributions 675,685
  • Nov. 1 to Jan. 15 (Total 860 donors)
  • 630 qualified for match (73)
  • 364 (58) increased their 2007 gift
  • 109 (17 new donors
  • 157 (25) lapsed donors

Acton Revenue Sources (avg. since 2003)
Historically, 62 of Acton income comes from
institutions (grant making foundations) that are
giving a percentage of their assets.  Foundations
are responding by giving less and spreading out
the timing of their gifts, turning away new
Immediate Action Steps
Revenue Assumptions
2009 Budget
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