Not the Supreme Court

Founders of nonprofits are special people.  They have vision.  They have sufficient charisma and/or connections to get that vision off the ground.  Some may even have the ability to help sustain that vision.  But they are not gods; they are not infallible; and they are not United States Supreme Court Justices, appointed for life.  There comes a time when every founder has to go.  Completely.

While I have known a few founders who have recognized when it was time for them to go in order to Read more

Don’t Lose your EPBMs

One of the most common complaints that I hear is how hard it is to find good board members, meaning they can’t find the bodies. My comeback always is, if you do it strategically, the right way, it isn’t hard.  On the other hand, it can truly be one of the more off-putting processes for that EPBM (eager, prospective board member) seeking GNB (great nonprofit board).
One of the most frequent complaints I hear from individuals seeking a board position is that they don’t know how Read more

We Don’t Have the Money

I was never a big fan of the circus, and it had nothing to do with the clowns.  It was the tightrope walkers that caused me angst.  While, everyone was looking up, and I’d be looking at my shoes.

Today, many of my peers are sharing my angst over tightrope walkers, but they are the ones on the rope.   The economy of the last three years has thrown into vivid relief the paucity of most nonprofit salaries.  Not that it was hard to see this before.  Read more

We Don’t Have the Money March 16th, 2012 0 Comment

Wrongful Death

I read with great sadness about the death of Hull House in Chicago, after 122 years.  If you studied sociology, women’s studies, social justice, social work, or any related field, you quickly came to learn of Jane Addams and Hull House, which she co-founded with Ellen Gates Starr), and the legacy that each gave to this country.  (Although little was ever mentioned of Hull House’s co-founder).

To most, I am sure, this is merely the closing of yet another nonprofit.  Big deal.  To others, however, this Read more

Wrongful Death March 9th, 2012 0 Comment

A Title on the Door

Over the years of writing this blog, I have spent many a word “defending” the for-profit sector, singing its praises for what the nonprofit sector needs to learn from it, while also pointing out what the for-profit sector should learn from us.  But no more.  I have increasingly realized that the for-profit sector does not “do it” as well as they would have us believe; and I absolutely am beyond exasperation with the arrogance—and the simplicity of thought too often wrapped in that arrogance.

Take, for Read more

March 2nd, 2012 4 Comments

Simple Questions

I am troubled by how little we learn from other people’s mistakes.  Perhaps it is arrogance that leads us as individuals and leaders of organizations to think that we are smarter than others, we could never…  But, truth is, the vast majority of us aren’t smarter than others, and we could do whatever.

There is no loss of stature or pride to say, “Oh, what a mistake that person/organization made.  Let’s just take stock to make sure I/we am/are not risking making that same mistake.”  The Read more

Cruella d’executive Director

Those of you read my blog know that I don’t tend to run lukewarm or be ambivalent.  Wishy washy is just not my style.  (Though I am an extreme introvert, despite what others think, and  thanks to Quiet:  The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, I can now easily muster the evidence to prove it; that is, if I want to talk.) If I don’t like something, you know it.

I’ve ranted before about underperforming boards, those that don’t know what they Read more

Red (or Pink) in the Face

None of us likes having egg on our face. Susan G. Komen for the Cure is currently wearing it big time. As they attempt to regroup from a series of recent blunders, we can look at the Komen example and learn from it.

First mistake:  think very, very, very carefully before hiring someone who has recently run for, and lost, political office.  Or, for that matter, someone who is stepping down from political office.  Politics have never been for the weak-willed or mild- mannered.  And while Read more

Red (or Pink) in the Face February 10th, 2012 0 Comment

Who put the Moron in Oxymoron?

My sister’s second career is as a fifth grade teacher in a Washington, DC public school.  She is just starting the unit on the Civil War, and this year, as she has done for the last four, she introduces the unit by talking about oxymorons.  Each year, some of her students know what an oxymoron is; some don’t.  She gives the usual examples, jumbo shrimp, good grief, sweet tart.  This year, she found a new example that we both found quite amusing:

This time next year, Read more

The Mistake Bank

Sometime after Newsweek and The Daily Beast joined forces, the last page of each issue of Newsweek is now “My Favorite Mistake.”  Each issue some bigwig—from business, entertainment, even politics,  talks about his/her favorite mistake that s/he has made along the way.

Sometimes, they have been game-changers in that person’s life, such as Paula Deen reluctantly leaving her home town of Albany, Georgia; other times, it was just a hugely embarrassing moment, such as Jeremy Irons, fixated on finding out when it would be appropriate to Read more

The Mistake Bank January 26th, 2012 1 Comment