Hi everyone, with the collapse of the Afghanistan government, the devastating earthquake in Haiti, and the worsening pandemic, you might be thinking there are more important things to talk about than something as insignificant as character limits on grant proposals. I am writing about it because I need something concrete that I can focus on. But also, because minor things like character limits are symptomatic of some serious issues in philanthropy.
“Describe the program for which you are applying and how it helps to fight racial disparities in health care or food insecurity. Share whether this is a new or existing program. Provide specific data-driven information that shows a clear understanding of what the need in your community is. (700 characters).”
I wish I had made that up. But no, a colleague sent that to me just a couple of weeks ago, an excerpt from a grant application. 700 characters is fewer than 3 tweets. Here are some common problems around character limits:
Hi everyone. I just finished Collecting Courage: Joy, Pain, Freedom, Love, a collection of essays and poetry by Black fundraisers, reflecting on their experiences in our sector. It highlights the many instances of racism that Black colleagues face in fundraising, as well as the white savior complex and other issues with our sector, but there’s also lots of strength and joy. I highly recommend it, especially as August is Black Philanthropy Month, a good time for us to think about Black giving, support Black organizations and businesses, and elevate Black fundraisers’ experiences.
It has been a year since the Community-Centric Fundraising movement launched. I am grateful to see more fundraisers and non-fundraisers across the US and other countries embrace reexamining the problematic philosophies and practices we’ve been upholding, such as poverty tourism, tax avoidance, and the hoarding of wealth that’s been built on slavery, stolen Indigenous land, and other injustices. We have a celebration coming up on August 25th at 11am PT where we’ll reflect on what we learned this year and discuss our hopes for the future of the movement. It’s free; I hope to see you there. Register here.
As CCF grows, we’ve been encountering pushback from colleagues, including the occasional hate message. This is a good sign (although the hate messages might be little too much; come on, at least be more creative with your insults!). We should be having debates and discussions. This is how our sector improves and evolves. Here are some common arguments I and other proponents of CCF encounter repeatedly, both from people who dislike CCF with the intensity of a thousand board meetings, as well as from folks who are genuine in their desire to understand it. I want to summarize and respond to these arguments here so that we can discuss them, but also because some of them are terrible, and we need to reflect on them and then move on, because we have more important discussions to grapple with.
Hi everyone, I’m back from a month of not writing. Thank you for your patience. During this time, I was able to find myself, rethink my life, and finally understand what it means to truly live. And by that, I mean hung out with the kids and when they were at summer program or asleep, I watched Sweet Tooth, The Queen’s Gambit, Superstore, Mare of Easttown, Pen15, House of Flowers, The Crown, The K2, Castlevania, Kim’s Convenience, and whole bunch of movies. I learned very little.
Anyway, I’m back, and my brain can’t manage a serious column yet. While I was watching Loki, I thought, You know, our sector barely has representation in popular media. This is too bad, considering how exciting nonprofit and philanthropic work is. You know what we need? Marvel to make movies about our work. Here’s some random scenes of what one might look like.
Happy Monday, everyone. It’s 100 degrees in Seattle (and may reach 110 today), so I am kind of loopy and not in the mood for editing. I want to let you know that I’ll be taking the entire month of July off from writing, most meetings, and most social media, so this will be the last NAF post until August 2nd. Except for a couple of speaking engagements, I’ll be spending time with my family, catching up with a few friends, tidying up the house, and melting into the couch with some cold coconut water while playing Earthbound or Final Fantasy III/VI. It’ll be glorious!
I hope that you will find time to rest as well. Let’s face it, our sector sucks at doing this. And because we are self-deprecating, we make light of it all the time, for instance this post “Vacation tips for nonprofit professionals who suck at vacationing,” including, from colleague Cheri Kishimoto, “Set SMART goals that align with your vacation strategic plan to keep you focused on relaxing and sustainable vacationing practices. Take lots of notes and be prepared to do a 10-15-minute presentation to your coworkers on what you learned about relaxing on vacation.”
Hi everyone. This blog post may be a little wonky, but it is important, so thank you for reading it all the way through. Last week, a bunch of us had a Party to Enhance Equity in Philanthropy (PEEP) event, a time for funders and nonprofit folks to get together and just hang out without an agenda. In Seattle, we met for a picnic. This was the first time in over a year that many of us were in the same physical space, and it was wonderful. (And slightly awkward; someone offered me their hand to shake, and I nearly dropped my hibiscus-flavored sparkling water and ran screaming down the park).
While it was nice to see one another, and we should continue this tradition, having a fun event is not sufficient to solve many of the crappy, archaic, frustrating, inequitable practices in philanthropy. For that, we need legislation. Which is why I am happy to see that the Accelerate Charitable Efforts (ACE) act is moving forward. Here is an article on this bipartisan effort. The bill will do a few things, including: