Be the Zoom Where it Happens

Week four of isolation and we are no more certain of what our future is than we were on day one.  We’ve moved from announcements coming in two-week intervals to monthly, and for many schools, regardless of the ages of their students, semesters at a time.  News of future events are listed as tentative, future presentation modes as “either face-to-face or virtual,” and caveats stating that the organizer has the right to change it all.  

In other words, life right now, and for some time Read more

April 9th, 2020 0 Comment

The Power of Disruptive Thinking

While I believe completely in the value of, and need for, nonprofits to have a strategic plan, the process and the plans themselves are, frankly, usually boring.  Over the years of leading The Nonprofit Center, we’ve experimented with different approaches to strategic planning, always in search of alternative means for helping our clients with their own strategic planning.  Of all of the different approaches we tried, the one I enjoyed the most (and probably the one others enjoyed the least) was planning with BHAGs—those big, Read more

Evolutionary Strategic Planning

I was recently interviewed as an “outside expert” as part of an organization’s strategic planning process.  The consultant asked what I thought of several possible merger partners for the organization.  I was delighted to hear that the client was in a strong financial position, so that the contemplation of a merger wasn’t out of necessity, but rather out of exploration options that might strengthen the organization.

Despite being in a position of financial strength, the organization was having conversations about the costs—human, financial, energy, etc.—and the Read more

I Hate Cute

Anyone who knows me knows I hate touchy-feely. Basically, I hate cute!  Thus, if one more person starts singing the praises of the “Ws” or the “Ts”—or even the “Es,” I will not be responsible for my actions.  Playing cute games is simply not the way to approach as serious a subject as whom you bring on to your board.

If by some fluke there are any uninitiated out there, let me explain and then immediately borrow the memory eraser from Men in Black.  Some time, 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

Second-Class Citizen

We recently got a request from a smart executive director who wanted to enroll in our Certificate in Nonprofit Management.  She thought it would be a good thing for her, as she could learn new things, get a refresher on old things and expand her network.  But, she didn’t know how to justify this to the Board.  Her request:  did we have any data that showed the benefit of pursuing this professional development opportunity?

What?  Isn’t what she enumerated justification enough?  If need be, however, there 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

Reflections on Reflecting

I don’t know whether it is because I have spent so much of my life in academia or because I am Jewish, and later in life decided to use Yom Kippur as a day to fast and reflect, but September is the start of new years for me.  Not the time when you sing Auld Lang Syne and party.  But the time when you reflect upon the past year and on what worked, what didn’t, what you want to change and what you want to Read more