Tag Archives: nonprofit strategy

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?”


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?


Latest nonprofit buzzword of the year: Resilience

30 Jul

“Resilient” may be the new “sustainable” aspiration for the nonprofit sector. We can learn much about how resilience works from other disciplines such as biology, engineering and psychology. Here are some key transferable concepts.


How the art of wire twisting can inform nonprofit strategy

30 Apr

My recent foray into jewelry making has yielded a surprising epiphany about rebuilding and strengthening nonprofits. As with the jewelry, this insight seemed obvious once I saw it, but it required both a shift in my view of the challenge and a willingness to learn from another perspective.


Who gives most, what women want, what’s new in the nonprofit world?

31 Jan

My recent newswires for the Nonprofit Quarterly include two reviews of intriguing new philanthropy research, one surprising overview of nonprofit history, and two stories about nonprofits and advocacy in my own town of Eugene.


Five new postings from the Nonprofit Quarterly newswire

19 Oct

Yet another installment of recent postings on the Nonprofit Quarterly newswire. The subjects include: questionable public policy moves, a troubled nonprofit and an effective one, and a new wrinkle in the Occupy protests.


Five mindsets for nonprofit innovation

30 Dec

Whether or not you consider yourself creative, you’ve undoubtedly contributed to innovation. This is because innovation is largely a social, iterative process of developing, building upon and testing ideas over time. Here are some great examples of mindsets for innovation in the nonprofit arena.


Why nonprofits are like archipelagos, and why it matters

28 May

The term “archipelago” refers to a chain or scattering of islands that often share volcanic origins. Three recent articles about metaphors and the nonprofit sector have me seeing “archipelago” as an especially apt metaphor for framing nonprofit challenges and opportunities today.


Making big ideas small

21 Dec

In the recent “Small is Beautiful” post, I was all jazzed up about “making big ideas small” as a strategy for sustaining effective social change efforts. Since then, I’ve been thinking about how this actually works. I’ve been scouring my own experience and that of other organizations to create a starting list of underlying practices.


Small is beautiful again

8 Dec

Scaling up is not our only option for efficiency. We already treat information as a social, constantly evolving, customizable good. We’ve long understood the need to adapt and transform technology for different scales and types of operation. Why not be more purposeful at scaling down big social improvement ideas so that they can be implemented at a small scale, quickly and easily? What better strategy for sustainability than to make it something easy to sustain and adapt over time?