Hold the Applause

I recently received a question from a smart, young emerging leader for whom I see only great things.  Her question:  Do you think that the nonprofit and foundations community has gotten into a habit of congratulating itself at conferences, symposiums, and other events?   I was immediately reminded of a foundation’s advertisement that runs only at certain times of year.  The advertisement intentionally makes it sound as if the foundation is responsible for the accomplishments of the nonprofits it funds, and that it is directly helping the 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

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

Might as well face it…you’re addicted

Several years back, a funder introduced me to a group of her grantees as the “bad cop” in the tag team which was about to do a presentation, a persona that continues today.

Call me what you will, but I am on a crusade to help you help yourself, your organization, your group move forward so that you can maximize the delivery of your mission.

Earlier this week, I had a 45 minute, heartbreaking conversation.  And despite that, I played the bad cop throughout.  Telling the truth, Read more

No Leftovers Please

I don’t like being considered second best.  Yet, when I hear people looking to the nonprofit sector as the top choice for their “encore career” (don’t even like that term!), that’s what I hear.

Oh, now that you have done the real work of your life, go to the nonprofit sector.  Forget that thinking!  We are not second best.  Not good enough for the first choice of a career, but okay for the encore—the light, flip, “everyone can do it at the drop of the conductor’s Read more

Get it in Writing

How do I love thee, nonprofit sector?  Let me count the ways.  Well, first:   Are we not a collegial sector;  one tempered by mutual respect? By the presumption that we are a team, working in partnership to achieve mutually defined and shared goals?

No, I am not naïve. I’ve worked and volunteered in this sector for decades.  I know the reality.  And I know that those who come into the sector truly understanding and valuing the presumption I outlined above, execute that presumption–fully.  Those who Read more

Failure to Fire

Over the holidays, I was fortunate enough to see the revival of South Pacific, last seen when I was but a wee lass.  Its songs  are currently in that perpetual song fest in my head with one in particular:  a larger “I’m Gonna Wash that Man Right Outta My Hair.”  I have, however, swapped “Man” and “Hair” with other things.

The version I am currently singing for the sector is “I’m Gonna Wash Bad Practices Right Outta the Sector.”  Not nearly as catchy as Rodgers and Read more

Idiot Says What?

It is time for a basic lesson in research and the creation of sound conclusions.  Too many people are publicly exposing their stupid sides because they simply don’t understand the basics of how to draw conclusions.

So, let me give you a primer.

NUMBER ONE:  We never, ever generalize our learning from one subject to the whole group into which that one subject might fall.  In other words, experiencing the inefficiencies of one nonprofit does not allow us to generalize and conclude that all nonprofits are inefficient.  Read more

What’s a Yeppie?

As summer begins to wind down, students and parents everywhere begin to face the reality of the return to school.  There is, however, a group of folks for whom returning to school is not on their minds – 2010 college graduates.  Their sights, naturally, are set on finding jobs.  In this simple statement there is an enormous opportunity for nonprofits everywhere; I only hope we are all smart enough to grab this brass ring.

The Corporation for National and Community Service, which runs both AmeriCorps and 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