Tag Archives: nonprofit leadership

What’s your organization for?

6 Feb

On the shelf of my favorite books is one by rural advocate and poet Wendell Berry called “What are People for?” I love the direct, fundamental and not wholly answerable question, and we ought to be regularly asking the same of our organizations. “What are we for?”


Cheesy initiation rites have value for nonprofits

22 Jan

I’ve served on many Boards of Directors doing “serious work”, but the experience of joining a new Board has sometimes been less than welcoming. As a result, the organizations are less than effective in engaging new Board members. Being welcomed into a local nonprofit recently really opened my eyes to the value of formal welcoming ceremonies that “serious” groups may disregard as silly.


Could you use a thinking partner?

30 Sep

What if you had a trusted nonprofit peer with whom to test new ideas, explore strategy options or troubleshoot challenges?


Nonprofit Assets: New Articles for Nonprofit Quarterly

20 Sep

The three latest articles I’ve written for the Nonprofit Quarterly newswire all deal with assets related to the nonprofit sector: the rise of web-based philanthropy in China, the uniquely shared nature of nonprofit leadership, and business ventures as a source of nonprofit revenue.


Labor Day musings on change

2 Sep

Happy Labor Day weekend! This quiet weekend has me thinking about transitions—how we often know that they’re underway long before they’re official, and how such transitions pull us into a suspended state between wanting to appreciate what we have and wanting to move toward something new and less known.


Nonprofits as economic engines, mixing religion and politics, the “glee effect” and more: Recent NPQ contributions

30 Jun

In recent newswire articles for the Nonprofit Quarterly, I’ve covered a landmark study of Oregon’s nonprofits that documents the sector’s surprising economic impact, as well as the impact of the recession. The links below span a wide range of additional topics, including the wisdom of mixing religion and politics, corporate responsibility, and how arts education fosters civic engagement.


Cultivating nonprofit fans, revisited

23 Jan

Now that my beloved New England Patriots have made it to the 2012 Superbowl, I’m featuring an archived post on how nonprofits can learn from football fans– really– about building connections with their communities.


Evaluating to learn: Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can

1 Oct

“You don’t make the hog fatter by weighing it.” This Midwestern farm proverb describes a particular type of nonprofit evaluation that’s the focus for a new workshop I’m delivering.


Eat, read, connect

29 Jul

Organic produce at a mini-mart? A library expressly for homeless people? An issue that conservatives and progressives agree upon? A hidden resource for nonprofit advocacy? Here are links to my most recent contributions to the Nonprofit Quarterly Newswire.


An easy way to pay it forward

29 Jun

The job market today is really tough for many people. Speaking from positive experience, I’m advocating that as many of us as possible give informational interviews, let a new graduate shadow or even volunteer if you can’t pay for their services. Perhaps not even a new graduate– just someone who needs experience in our field. Seeing one door open is a source of encouragement in what are discouraging times.