We’ve come a long way. Surviving the challenges of 2020 was difficult. Many nonprofits folded or were drastically injured. Some boards were frozen and lackluster in responding to the crisis we all endured. Poor performance in times of adversity will have long-lasting effects that may take years to repair, so firing crummy nonprofit board members can become necessary.
To say it has been a challenging few years in North America, is truly an understatement. The pandemics of COVID-19 along with racism have impacted us all, though not equitably. These pandemics have touched and changed all aspects of our private and professional lives, and the fundraising sector has not been immune to the changes foisted upon us. A sector synonymous with helping, has been forced to reckon with the cultural norms and values that have long been accepted and recognize these are not inclusive, in some cases are harmful, and have been designed and enacted on the same foundations of privilege and oppression that plague all other institutions in our society. Many nonprofits and charities were paralytic in their response to the racial justice uprisings across the continent, others took a watch and wait approach, and some accepted the notion that their response may be imperfect but were comfortable with the idea of potential failure in lieu of not being responsive.
Many nonprofits and charities have indeed been founded or evolved to respond to intractable social challenges that are compounded by race, gender expression, sexual orientation, disability, and other intersectional identities. The response to, and in some case non-response to the pandemics as it pertains to program delivery and fundraising has been a matter of mission fulfillment and survival; however, all nonprofit organizations have had to consider how the inequities that are borne in almost all institutions in Western society impact their staff – some see this as the right thing to do and no more, and others see it is imperative to sustainability. While COVID-19 has become a part of our lexicon, so too is the language of EDI – equity, diversity, and inclusion. Sector conversations about pay equity, intersectionality, reconciliation, decolonization, anti-oppression and more that were once part of the sidelines in our sector – seen as the work of interest groups, have now taken center stage. [Read more…]
On day one, I was excited to learn how to sell radio commercials. My new manager shared the station’s staff drama, of which there was a ton, and gave me a cassette tape as training. He also sent me out for one day of shadowing his most successful salesperson, who got himself an ice cream cone after each close.
I’m sitting in an exquisitely appointed waiting room in midtown Manhattan prior to an enormous solicitation when my phone starts blowing up. My dean’s flight to JFK is delayed. She will not be making it to midtown for said enormous solicitation. But cool, I think to my clueless 27-year-old self, I can totally do this solo. I can build all the rapport, I can say all the talking points, I can listen twice as closely. It will be just like when my dean is here!
When I am ushered into the Devil-Wears-Prada-looking office, the donor is eyeing me suspiciously. There’s a huge ashtray on her desk – the size of a serving platter. Of all the intimidating things in this scene, the ashtray got to me. It said that rules and norms for mere mortals/fundraisers don’t apply to her.
She took a dramatic drag off her cigarette, continued to eye me, and then exhaled as I stood there like a dork, watching her.
“Had I known it would just be YOU, I wouldn’t have taken this meeting,” she said. [Read more…]
I want to talk about Traveling Pants – but I don’t mean the same thing as the young adult series of books. Those were about an actual pair of jeans that miraculously fit four totally differently shaped friends (really, now that I think about it, perhaps these books were magic realism as much as YA fiction) and connected them to each other. I am talking about a metaphoric pair of pants or jeans that actually might fit one of your friends – but certainly don’t fit you.
Ultimately, some pants are better to travel without.
Rambling Through the Thicket of Professional Callings
One day, I woke up with the realization: This is my life. I asked myself: Am I doing what I love? Am I faithful to my professional callings, personal callings, and family and friends?
For those who may know me, I tend to take most of my energy and place it in one bucket: work. In many ways, this is great. I have gathered a lot of expertise in many areas; I am highly efficient and can be counted on as a valuable contributor and resource in various circumstances. But the real question I recently asked is: Am I doing what I love? And, do I love what I am doing? Am I trailblazing a path that I set out for myself when I was younger and had envisioned the ‘adult’ version of myself?
We love co-hosting the Fundraising Leadership Podcast. In each episode, we are joined by nonprofit and other professionals for engaging and inspiring conversations related to leadership, management, fundraising, and personal development.
We are excited to be named as a Top Fundraising Podcast by Welp Magazine.
We are featured along with some of our podcasting friends like Jason Lewis of The Fundraising Talent and Fundraising Voices from Ruffalo Noel Levitz.
Welp Magazine is an online publication, that provides helpful resources for businesses, covering everything from software and accounting tips to office furniture recommendations.
Being called out in front of a couple of hundred other fundraisers by internationally renowned fundraising copywriter Tom Ahern took me off guard. Tom was talking about a now iconic direct mail pack.
This direct mail package was created in 2010 by the very talented duo Jen Love and John Lepp from Agents of Good, and has been shared hundreds of times at conferences and webinars around the world to demonstrate innovation, creativity, surprising and delighting donors and taking a massive leap of faith.
This mailing also appears in David Love’s new book Green Green, Reflections of 51 years of raising money for nature as an example of best practice.
So how did I respond to Tom’s question in front of so many colleagues? “Why yes Tom, I did. I was the Director of Fundraising that supported, approved and paid for the package.” Such a simple exchange. But there is so much more to it. [Read more…]
Recently Stephen Halasnik and David Langiulli spoke on the Nonprofit MBA Podcast about what it takes to be an effective board member and what happens when a board functions with high levels of trust and candor.
It is no secret that open communication helps an organization run more effectively, but what does this look like in practice? With strategic planning and proper board culture, nonprofits run more effectively, enabling the organization to achieve its mission.
- Coined by Australian sociologist, Judy Singer, it refers to differences across human brain makeups, including dyslexia, dyspraxia, autism and attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Why is it important to understand?
- First of all, sheer numbers, estimates are approximately 15% of the population worldwide is neurodiverse keeping in mind that underdiagnosis persists across the spectrum of neurodiversity. There is also the moral imperative – the right of every human being to participate fully in society. [Read more…]