The end of the road. Where I close this blog and archive it.
12 Mar 2013
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 2012
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 2012
Someone complains, “You can’t talk like that at a board meeting.”
06 Mar 2012
It’s been over four years since I started nonprofitchas.com. To celebrate, I looked back and found the best articles from my blog’s history.
09 Feb 2012
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.
20 Jan 2012
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 2011
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
30 Oct 2011
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 2011
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 2011
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 2010
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 2010
“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 2010
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 2008
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 2008
Don’t have a feed reader? Well, I’ll share some of these gems from mine.
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 2008
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 2008
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.
31 Aug 2008
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 2008
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 2008
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 2008
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 2008
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 2008
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 2008
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 2008
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 2008
From FundRaising Success comes the article, Treat your best donors right
A couple of gems:
…thatâ€™s what a lot of fundraisers do: They hand-pick the donors who are most responsive to their fundraising programs â€” and put them in a radically different program. And itâ€™s probably costi...
22 May 2008
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 2008
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 2008
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 2008
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 2008
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 2008
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 2008