End of the Blog

The end of the road. Where I close this blog and archive it.

12 Mar 20130 Comments

9 Lessons from a Year in Development

On Monday (December 10, 2012), I start a new job. Here are some things I learned from my year in the fundraising department.

07 Dec 20120 Comments

Instead of a Mission Statement

What’s your mission statement? Ok, name another nonprofit and tell me theirs. What if there were an alternative to the mission statement?

16 May 20120 Comments

Storytelling in a business setting

Someone complains, “You can’t talk like that at a board meeting.”

06 Mar 20120 Comments

Best of the Non-Profit Chas Blog

It’s been over four years since I started To celebrate, I looked back and found the best articles from my blog’s history.

09 Feb 20120 Comments

Dreaming Big, I Mean Really Freaking Big

My new boss, Jim, started on Monday of this week. He’s a storyteller by nature, so we’re going get along very well. It’s always nice learning new things from people, but if I’ve learned anything so far from him, it’s that it’s impossible to think too big. List...

20 Jan 20120 Comments

A New Leader's Guide to Board Management

A few years ago I became the board president for a small nonprofit. My predecessor was stepping away from the organization and offered no advice on the way out the door. I was starting blind, but with a fresh slate. When I stepped down and handed the reins to my successor, I offered some advice t...

07 Nov 20110 Comments

Advice for Non-Profit Newbies

This weekend, I was asked to give a brief speech to a group of college students in a nonprofit management program from Indiana State University. They were on a weekend volunteer retreat and I talked to them about my top three pieces of advice for new nonprofiteers. Raise Your Hand Many nonprofit...

30 Oct 20110 Comments

A Non-Profit without a Cause

Not every non-profits is trying to cure cancer, feed the hungry, or teach the illiterate to read. There are so many great causes of our time and many great organizations working on them. But there are others, too, which don’t have some great cause. They’re community theatre groups, su...

06 Aug 20110 Comments

My Last Board Meeting: Stepping down from Camp Fire USA

Last night, our Camp Fire USA council hosted its annual meeting. I presented our work from 2010, shared a few key changes we made, and we voted in new board members – including President. One of our key changes was the combination of two jobs, our Executive Director and the Camp Director. T...

10 Mar 20110 Comments

Be Relevant

I try not to cross-post very often to my two main blogs, but this is a question that’s appropriate to non-profits: How Are You Relevant? One of my bosses told me about a nonprofit association she’s working with, and she mentioned that they have an interesting challenge: they’re ...

28 Dec 20100 Comments

Giving Up on Altruism

Is it truly altruism if you’re getting intangible benefits such as resume-building experience, connections and friendships, or even personal fulfillment? Very few of my friends are involved in non-profits in a volunteer leadership capacity. They may have volunteered in the past, but they&...

08 Apr 20100 Comments

3 Sad Stories about Your Non-Profit

“In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.” Desiderius Erasmus The Land of the Blind Let’s make a generalization: If you work for a non-profit organization, you are living in the past. You’re doing something outdated, for reasons you can’t quite articulate,...

07 Mar 20100 Comments

I'm Ok with Offending You

A lot of our time is spent trying not to offend people. Marketers worry about giving the wrong message. Fundraisers don’t want to lose donors. And everyone is afraid that our support will dry up. Along the way, the message gets watered down. Instead of saying something important, we aren...

17 Dec 20080 Comments

#1 Reason You're Not More Successful

I hinted at this in my posts about Blog Action Day and What All Those Fundraising Books Don’t Tell You. The difference between success and failure isn’t smarts or money. It’s not your logo or your office or your website. You’re not more successful because you’re not ...

27 Oct 20082 Comments

Link Lovin'

Don’t have a feed reader? Well, I’ll share some of these gems from mine. Links! Philantopic has a great roundup of links from USA Today’s insert devoted to charitable giving. Donor Power Blog points us an interesting tool: create a giving portfolio tailored to your interests and...

08 Oct 20080 Comments

I Love Magic!

When I was a kid, I wanted to be a magician. Somehow I ended up getting a Japanese major, starting a web design company, becoming a marketing guy, and writing a non-profit blog. Go figure. So when I was asked to contribute to the project over at Creating Gen-Y Magic telling stories of how Generat...

07 Oct 20081 Comment

Recruiting Generation Y to Give and Get Involved

Some thoughts on recruiting 20-somethings to your non-profit cause. As a member of both a non-profit board and Generation Y, this is what I have to say about my peers. We are passionate. We are independent and challenge authority. We usually have a lot of debt and manage money poorly. We...

31 Aug 20080 Comments

Just who do I think I am?

I found a bit of circular humor in my feeds today. Recently, I was invited to join a blog network called Brazen Careerist. I’m excited about this for the potential exposure, the network of intelligent bloggers with whom I will be able to converse, and the expertise of one Penelope Trunk. (...

26 Aug 20080 Comments

Volunteeraholic Personality

When I joined the board of Camp Fire USA River Bend Council, I was warned by a mentor: “If you’re a workaholic, you’re going to be a volunteeraholic. Be careful.” Eight months later, I agree entirely. Don’t let yourself get burned out.

09 Aug 20080 Comments

The Email Monkey

Three of my favorite bloggers just wrote about a particularly sensitive spot for me: reactive email time. Yesterday, I tweeted about trying to get down to inbox zero. After two hours, I was down under ten emails, but had run out of time. Some of those emails have been sitting for weeks now, wait...

08 Aug 20080 Comments

Minister of Gratitude

When you rely on volunteers, donors, and the heroic efforts of a handful of paid staff members, thanking people is an absolute must. In fact, you should be really good at it. If you want to keep people involved, you can’t let this go. The problem is that thanking people takes time and optim...

03 Aug 20080 Comments

Technology lets you down

Last year, Camp Fire suffered a meltdown of sorts. We lost one of our computers, including our accounting files. It took months of poring over paper statements and receipts to manually restore our files. Not only did this create a huge strain on some staff and volunteers, but it slowed down the p...

03 Jul 20080 Comments

Delegate good times, come on! (Let's delegate)

What an awful title. Kool and the Gang… eesh. As the hideous parody title indicates, it’s all about delegation. That’s become my defense against small non-profit woes – too much to do with too few people and too little time. Getting others to do the work for you. After all...

07 Jun 20080 Comments

IYI Library

I read a lot. I’m currently reading “Beyond Fundraising” by Kay Sprinkel Grace and “Making Library Web Sites Usable” by Tom Lehman and Terry Nikkel. I’ve nearly exhausted our small collection of non-profit resources at the Camp Fire office. Amber just discovere...

27 May 20080 Comments

How to Fix Everything

When we face seemingly insurmountable odds, it is easy to seek a silver bullet to magically solve your problems. We see this in desperate fundraising appeals to wealthy donors, last ditch (and very expensive!) advertising campaigns, and so on. There is no silver bullet. Sure, you might win the he...

27 May 20080 Comments

Treat Donors Right

From FundRaising Success comes the article, Treat your best donors right A couple of gems: …that’s what a lot of fundraisers do: They hand-pick the donors who are most responsive to their fundraising programs — and put them in a radically different program. And it’s probably costi...

22 May 20080 Comments

Making Connections and Making a Difference

Earlier this week, I met Andrew Lynn from Make a Difference Michiana, an organization that provides resources and connections for non-profits in the northern Indiana and southwestern Michigan community. He offered a lot of excellent suggestions for partnering with other groups. Today, Andrew wro...

22 May 20080 Comments

Non-Profit Manifesto

Non Profit Manifesto This isn’t a long, rambling manifesto. This isn’t a thou shalt not type of manifesto. It’s a Hugh MacLeod-style manifesto, one specifically for non-profit organizations. As a typically verbose, rambling moron, I really enjoy the challenge of saying a lot wi...

11 May 20080 Comments

Are you hardy?

Hardiness is a term used to describe plants’ ability to survive adverse growing conditions. That is, a plant can exist with very little water, sunlight, soil, and so on. Imagine a flower in the desert—or as the photo shows, a tree growing up through solid rock. A hardy non-profit org...

30 Mar 20080 Comments

Small Victories to Big Success

As baseball fans know, home runs are fun, but games are won through “small ball.” Singles, stolen bases, bunts, good defense, and solid pitching are what champions use to win championships. That is, success rarely comes from a single astonishing act—it comes from continued pers...

23 Mar 20080 Comments

Hey Old Folks: Think like a startup!

The number of new non-profits is growing at a phenomenal rate. From 1996 to 2006, the number of organizations went from 1 million to 1.4 million! source Meanwhile, older organizations are facing new challenges and often struggle to survive. Competition for funding is fierce – donors and cus...

11 Mar 20080 Comments

Non-profit vs not-for-profit

I usually use the term non-profit. I frequently hear other variations, including not-for-profit. I don't know if there's an official term, other than having a 501(c)(3) status. Still, there’s a subtle distinction to me. The term not-for-profit, while it doesn’t exactly roll off my ton...

08 Mar 20080 Comments