Pass the Pepto Please

Those of you who know me, know that I love the nonprofit sector.  Some might even go so far as to say I’m a missionary for the sector.  But that would be inaccurate, as I am not out to “win” anyone over or convert them to my way of seeing things.  But I have knowingly volunteered and worked in this sector since what we then called junior high school.  In the many decades since then, I’ve held one and only one job in the for-profit Read more

A Tough Hybrid to Swallow – the L3C

My intent was to write about L3Cs—low-profit limited liability companies.    Five states already allow them, several more have legislation pending, and many are encouraging the congress to create such legislation.  Ever heard of them?

So I went looking for a simple, yet clear, definition of just what an L3C is.  In the process, I got sidetracked by a table comparing an LLC, an L3C and a nonprofit.

According to the design and intent of an L3C, it is a cross between a for-profit and nonprofit organization:  it Read more

And I’m Worth It

I run a business.  It is a business that is designed to help nonprofits.  So, our product is help.  That’s how we earn our living, pay our bills.  But why do people think that we should give that product away for free?  If my business were manufacturing sneakers, my phone would not ring off the hook with requests that I give away free sneakers.  I would not be contacted by people three blocks away saying they are starting a sneaker factory and would I please tell Read more

Term Limits for Nonprofit Boards

 In response to a recent blog, I was asked the following question:  What is your opinion on term limits for board members and officers?  Opinions are one thing of which I have no shortage.  So, be careful what you ask!

The debate on term limits has been waging for decades, if not centuries.  So, there is no “settled” answer to this question.  But my own answer is very firm:  term limits—both for board members and officers—are a must.  My reasons underlying this Read more

Stressed ≠ Important


Before leaving on vacation, I foolishly allowed myself to agree to working with a client on my first evening back.  But the client was most solicitous and understanding, and upon arrival asked about my vacation, even wanting to see pictures.  She asked an interesting question:  what insights did you gain?


At the time I laughed, as I rarely thought of work, but the question kept gnawing at me.  My answer began to take shape over the course of the Read more

Stressed ≠ Important July 30th, 2009 0 Comment

A Tale of Two Boards


It wasn’t quite the best of boards nor the worst of them, either.  But it was a lesson in contrasts.  In the space of an hour, I got to shore up a newly minted board president struggling with a board that hadn’t yet listened to reason and also field the questions of a board that, once a table of bobble-heads, had morphed into a take charge board.  God, I love my job! Chapter I:  

a thoughtful, Read more

Viability at any age

 Locally, the news is out:  thanks to Chris Hepp, a The Philadelphia Inquirer reporter, news of our recent economic impact survey of Delaware Valley nonprofits hit the streets this week.  From Philadelphia Mayor Nutter’s office to an astute board president to folks just wanting to know more, it’s getting attention.  I just hope it isn’t too late! 

Why would I say such a thing?  Because I am worried.  One of the most troublesome outcomes of our survey is the revelation that the Read more

The Opposite of Vulnerable

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I’ve been thinking a lot about vulnerability—the vulnerability of individuals, of organizations, of communities, of societies.  No surprise, I guess, given the current state of the economy.


And then this morning, two staff of The Nonprofit Center walked into the office to find Read more



Strategy, strategy, strategy.  If ever there were a word that should guide us now, it’s strategy  And yet, too many nonprofits don’t “get” strategy.  They don’t like strategy.  They somehow think it is a dirty word, and not of benefit to them.  And thus they continue to go about their business reacting.  They react to financial difficulties by reflexively cutting budgets.  No strategy is involved, no thought to core competencies, protecting the ability to fulfill Read more

Da Vinci Was An Engineer Too

I am desperately trying to find something positive to blog about, but I fear I cannot.  So, maybe this could be perceived as a mixed message. 

The Conference Board recently surveyed corporations to understand the current thinking on corporate giving.  So, the predictable bad news:  45 percent of the 189 companies that responded said they’d already reduced their corporate giving budgets for 2009 and another 16 percent anticipated doing so.  But the not so bad news:  that leaves another 40 percent that Read more