Here are the Nonprofit AF posts you missed over the past two months because of tech issues!

[Image descriptions: Four or five fluffy ducklings in a group, looking cute and happy. Image by JonPauling on Pixabay]

Hi everyone, over the past two months, my blog traffic plummeted. Though I was still writing each week, no one was reading, even when they included the usual picture of cute baby animals. Feeling betrayed, I started plotting a sector-wide scheme of revenge.

But it turns out that none of my email subscribers had been getting any email notices when new posts were published. Thanks to the tech experts I’ve contracted with (shout out to Jordan!), we got to the bottom of it, and everything is better now. So no revenge. Sorry that the first thing I thought of was revenge; I will now return the 20,000 praying mantises I ordered online.

Anyway, because notices hadn’t been sent since January 22nd, you probably missed these the last eight blog posts or so. Here they are below, so you have a chance to catch up.

Meanwhile, if you’re free on March 28th at 11am Pacific Time, join me and Nonprofit VOTE for Rally the Sector: Nonprofits and Election 2024. We’ll be talking about nonprofits and the role we play in getting people to vote. It’ll be fun! Register here. It’s free, and automated captions will be available.

Join the global strike this week for a permanent ceasefire in Gaza:

You don’t need to know everything or have the perfect words to speak up. You can stand firm on a couple of key principles, such as that it is wrong to murder children, no matter who they are. It is wrong to bomb hospitals, mosques, universities, and refugee camps. It is wrong to kill doctors, aid workers, and journalists. No atrocities against civilians are ever justified, no matter who is committing them.”

10 boring, predictable responses often made by enablers of crappy funding practices:

What, you expect funders to give out money without doing their due diligence like a bunch of wild animals?!” Due diligence is great, but it can be done without all the time-wasting nonsense that many funders inflict upon nonprofits. For instance, as I’ve said many times now, no funder needs their own unique snowflake grant proposal. Funders can literally just accept grant proposal packages that nonprofits have already prepared for other funders. It’s all the same information. There, the funders fulfilled their due diligence, but it’s just not in a time-consuming snowflake format catered to their whims. No funder needs a snowflake financial or programmatic reports either; they can just accept annual reports and general financial reports. Stop using “due diligence” as an excuse to perpetuate annoying and harmful practices.  

The Year of the Dragon and what it means for nonprofit and philanthropy

Be ambitious: Remember the old saying, “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars”? That saying makes no sense. The moon is much closer to Earth, and stars are much farther away. Do people not consider physics and astronomy when they come up with sayings? Anyway, the point is, we’ve been conditioned to think very small: In budgets, in grant requests, in number of people served, etc. In the year of the Dragon, have the audacity of ambition. Our grand visions for a better world can only be achieved if we have similarly grand ambitions. Increase your budget. Add a zero or two to your grant requests. Ask for what you need to solve a problem and not just scramble take care of its symptoms.”

Funders: Do a better job of protecting and supporting leaders and organizations who take risks in standing up for justice

Meanwhile liberal-and-progressive-leaning funders will back away, leaving defenseless those who take risks in standing up for justice and equity. A few years ago, for instance, some colleagues told me one of their board members said something that offended a right-wing pundit with a large national platform. This pundit went on their air and blasted the board member and the organization. For weeks, the board and staff were getting violent messages, including death threats. When they approached their funders asking for help, the funders did nothing, terrified that they would be in the crosshairs too. The lack of support makes it harder for people and orgs to speak up, which makes us all less effective in effecting change.”

What is a codpiece, and should everyone at your organization wear one?

If your organization still boasts about how low your overhead is, or that 100% of donations go to programming, everyone at your org should wear a codpiece. And if your foundation still imposes strict limits on what your grantees can spend on overhead, you should also wear a codpiece, but preferably over your face, because that makes about as much sense as your policies do.”

8 donor-related philosophies and terminologies we need to change or abolish

“Donor as customer: I’ve seen a few posts from fundraising experts recommending think of and treating donors as “customers” of nonprofits. This is a cynical framework grounded in capitalism, a force undergirding almost all the societal problems we’re trying to fix. It’s rife with issues, among them this philosophy that “the customer is always right,” which is erroneous, as a lot of customers—and donors—are complete assholes. Worse, though, the “donor as customer” philosophy reinforces a transactional mindset where nonprofits are there to “serve” donors, instead of what we need right now, which is everyone—donors, staff, volunteer, funders, boards, clients, etc.—all working together collectively to solve entrenched issues affecting all of us.  

Legacy reimagined: moving donors from ego-driven to justice-centered philanthropy

“Like with many other concepts in our sector, it’s time to examine our definition and ideas around “legacy” and how we engage donors around it. Currently, the way most of us think of legacy is very narrow: It’s basically what people will leave behind when they die, and how other people will remember them. It is one of the tools we fundraisers use, and it can lead to donations. For instance, someone donating a large sum and getting a building named after them, a legacy that will last long after they’re gone.

Nonprofits and foundations, time to ramp up our voter engagement and election work!

“It is NOT mission drift to do voter engagement. EVERY single nonprofit out there, no matter what its mission is, should be participating in voter engagement. This is because every issue we care about—from homelessness, to education, to the environment, to poverty, to the arts, to animal welfare, etc.—is related to the inequitable systems we’re forced to endure. And we can change these systems by ensuring our government at every level reflect its people and their will. And we do that by helping people vote and participate in democracy.”

Thank you so much for your patience. I would never just suddenly stop writing without telling you, so if it happens again, please email or message me on LinkedIn or Instagram to let me know.