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…]
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?
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…]
As our society passed through its second spring equinox under a global pandemic, I took personal stock of my spring renewal achieved by successfully leading a team through a significant transition last year. Since change is constant and accelerating, two luminary leaders guided my daily journey of being a leader in transition. They are, President Theodore Roosevelt and author William Bridges, who pioneered “Managing Transitions,” a guidepost for leading a change process. [Read more…]
Five Ways to Empower Your Unique Working Style
Several years ago, when I got my first consulting job, it did not take me too long to realize one of the “perks” mistakenly not mentioned in my contract was the triggering of my imposter syndrome.
Having diversity in the ranks and working on making the organization more inclusive is a commendable first step. However, diversity and inclusion (D&I) efforts do not automatically lead to an equitable organization. Creating pathways to make an organization equitable require different approaches and processes.
Take a look at the guidelines below to see what changes might need to occur in your organization: [Read more…]
In September 2020, I was elected as the Chair of the Board of a local community health centre (CHC). I have served on the board of this organization for almost four years. Visually it’s a board that is diverse and reflects the community it serves. However, visual diversity is only a part of the story of this board.
As we come together and learn more about each other and our backgrounds, the depth and richness of our diversity is becoming even more apparent. Working with members of the board, organizational leadership, staff and community members, the opportunity to fully leverage our diverse perspectives is a personal and shared goal to be pursued with vigour and intentionality.
Now more than ever, the current climate demands a board profile with a range of competencies and diversity of perspectives. The best way to achieve diverse competencies and perspectives is to ensure homogeneity isn’t the blueprint for engaging people in the work of organizations. There is richness in diversity because it allows us to obtain a more complete picture of whatever confronts us, be they challenges or opportunities. The more comprehensive picture one has of a situation, the decisions made are more informed, thoughtful and considered. [Read more…]