Category Archives: nonprofit field

Someone wants to start a nonprofit? Quick, grab the torches and pitchforks!

[Image description: Two hands holding up an orange square with an angry face on it. The background is of a brick wall. Image by Andre Hunter of unsplash.com]

OK, everyone, sit down, we need to have a talk. Every once a while, someone—usually from outside the sector—mentions their goal of forming their own nonprofit. “It has been my life-long dream to quit the rat race and start a possum therapy organization. It’s kind of like one of those equine therapy programs, but with possums instead of horses.”

From the online discussions I’ve seen, the response from us is often, “Hiss! How dare they want to start a nonprofit! Let’s burn their barn down! Let’s pour salt in their field so it shall remain fallow for seven generations! Let’s mix up the labels on their spinning spice rack so that nothing they make will taste good again!” Continue reading

#metoo and the nonprofit sector

[Image description: Black and white image of the silhouette of a figure with shoulder-length hair standing in front of a large window. Image by Alex Ivashenko of unsplash.com]

Hi everyone. I haven’t talked about the #metoo movement, even though it’s been on my mind. This is mainly because as I identify as a man, I should be listening and not mansplaining. Also, others have discussed this intersection of #metoo and nonprofit a lot more authoritatively, and I’m afraid to screw up in whatever I might have to say, if I had anything worth saying at all.

However, this movement is a discussion all of us need to have in the sector, and making mistakes and learning is a part of it, especially those of us who have positional authority due to our titles.

In the past few months, I’ve been reading up on others’ stories and thoughts. This blog post is a reflection on a few things our sector must do, prompted by various articles written by other professionals in the field. As such, it might not be very eloquent or comprehensive. But I hope one or more of these points might help to facilitate some discussions and actions. Continue reading

Book preview: “Unicorns Unite: How Nonprofits and Foundations Can Build Epic Partnerships”

[Image description: A diagram from the book, featuring drawings of cartoon unicorns holding bullhorns, illustrating the cycle of distrust between foundations and nonprofits]

Hi everyone. About a year ago, I mentioned I was co-authoring a book with two brilliant colleagues, Jessamyn Shams-Lau of the Peery Foundation and Jane Leu of Smarter Good. Many of you backed our Kickstarter project, and guess what? We actually wrote the book! OK, Jessamyn and Jane wrote the book, while I tagged along and tried to offer helpful suggestions like “instead of writing this book, how about we take the money and invest it in this awesome tech start-up I just heard about called Juicero, then get rich and start our own foundation but have headquarters in Oaxaca?”

Anyway, the book is called “Unicorns Unite: How Nonprofits and Foundations Can Build Epic Partnerships” and will be available this Spring, with pre-orders being taken on April 9th, 2018, which is coincidentally World Unicorn Day. Now, you may have some questions, so I’ve anticipated and answered them here: Continue reading

These 12 adorable baby animals are very worried about the US Census and you should be too

[These two baby javelinas are worried about the US Census and its potential to negatively affect funding for many vulnerable communities]

Hi everyone. I wrote a post about the grave consequences of undercounting in the US Census that’s coming up. And it was read by approximately 8 people. So I am re-posting it now with a new title and pictures of baby animals. This is important, and if pictures of baby animals will help us all to pay more attention and to share the message, then I will gladly spend three or four hours during work researching to find the cutest, cuddliest baby animals to display here. Please share this post widely.  Continue reading

The Census is a social justice issue, and we all need to mobilize NOW

[Image description: Three people sitting on a wooden bench in front of what looks like a photography exhibit that includes about 100 black and white photos of various faces, presented in a grid on the wall. Image obtained from Pixabay.com]

Hi everyone. I started writing a humorous post, but then realized that I am not at all in a humorous mood. After reading the news the past few days, I’m starting to see the points of view of “preppers,” people who are building bunkers and stocking up supplies in case things go to $#*%hole. This is the bleakest I’ve felt on a Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Not even looking at pictures of baby animals has helped.

However, as Dr. King once said, “If you can’t fly, then run; if you can’t run, then walk; if you can’t walk, then crawl. But whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.” We nonprofits have to keep moving forward. People depend on us. We have work to do.

The 2020 Census is coming up. This is an incredibly important process that happens in the US every ten years. The results determine how much federal funding is allocated to each state, as well as how many seats in the US House of Representatives. And this time, more so than others, there is severe risk of vast communities being under-counted, for several reasons. Among them: Continue reading