Is it just as hard to give out money as it is to seek it?

[Image description: A squirrel with fluffy ears, peeking out from behind the trunk of an ivy-covered tree, looking inquisitive. Image by mariuszopole on Pixabay]

Hi everyone, if you’re interested in being involved with the Crappy Funding Practices movement, please join a special meeting we’re hosting on May 14th at 10am Pacific Time, where we’ll update you on what’s been going on, and present the different options for you to plug into. Register here. See you then!

A few years ago, I was in Oxford, speaking on a panel at a conference with colleague Jessamyn Shams-Lau, who is the lead author of Unicorns Unite: How Nonprofits and Foundations Can Build Epic Partnerships; we were there to promote the book and discuss how nonprofit leaders and funders could work more effectively together. during the Q&A, a program officer pushed back, hinting that we panelists were unfairly critical of funders, and declaring that giving out funds is just as difficult seeking it. Several funders in room, and a few nonprofit leaders, nodded in agreement.

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

[An adorable raccoon, their head resting on their paw, which is resting on a tree trunk. This raccoon has nothing to do with this blog post, but the inclusion of this picture makes people more likely to click on it. Image by Chalo Garcia on Unsplash]

Hi everyone. Before we start this week’s topic, check out Memphis Music Initiative’s latest hilarious and catchy music video, “I Hope Like Hell We Get This Grant.”

Crappy Funding Practices (CFP) has been building momentum. Join in the fun on LinkedIn! This is the movement where we call out foundations publicly and by name who engage in practices that waste nonprofits’ time and energy when there are so many societal issues to tackle. Making a grantee write a quarterly report for a $2500 grant? We’re calling you out. Telling grant applicants they can’t spend more than 10% on overhead? We’re calling you out. Making grant applicants use your budget format, which is in Word? We’re calling you out.

Declaring a grant application deadline but then saying you’re only going to review the first 100 submissions? We’re calling you out and likely also bestowing upon you a Ghost Orchid Award for Rare but Super Crappy Funding Practices, which will come with press releases and probably an award ceremony where your team will be invited to dress up in evening formal wear and explain how you came up with such a clueless and heinous decision.

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Funders, do you have Main Character Syndrome and are engaging in crappy funding practices? We’re coming for you!

[Image description: A duck, photoshopped onto a background that looks like they’re stepping out from behind a sheet of wrinkled purple paper, kind of like how someone would step onto the stage from behind the curtains. Image by NoName_13 on Pixabay]

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post on how no funder deserves their own unique snowflake financial or outcomes report from grantees, and that they should just accept nonprofits’ annual report and comprehensive financial statements. A colleague pointed out that these burdensome and nonsensical requirements are a result of many funders having a “Main Character Syndrome” (MCS).

MCS, according to my quick consultation with fellow cool young people, is basically where someone thinks they are the main character in the universe, and that everyone else is just a support character in their fascinating and enthralling story. And they act like it. This phenomenon helps to explain many things that happen in our sector, such as the egotistical executive director who needs to take credit for everything. Or the board member/donor who demands to be treated like royalty and who gets offended at the slightest injury to their image or sensibilities.

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21 “nonprofit math” problems that expose the absurdity of doing good

[Image description: Top view of a person sitting at a desk in front of an open laptop, their hands clasping the top of their head, seemingly in frustration. Around the laptop are various objects, including a cup of coffee, a camera, a note pad and pen, a small houseplant, and one of those things people click when they’re making a movie to say “take 87” or something, I don’t know what that’s called. Image by lukasbieri on Pixabay]

Hi everyone, if you’re free this Thursday evening and are in the Seattle area, please drop by MOHAI for a book reading I’ll be doing. It’s free with registration, and there will be hummus and door prizes (or possibly hummus AS door prizes, we’re still deciding). REGISTER HERE. This is the only book reading I’m doing in the foreseeable future, because “Castlevania: Nocturne” on Netflix is not going to rewatch itself.

Last week, I created a short video on “Nonprofit Math,” following a trend on social media all the kids have been raging about, regarding different types of math: boy math, girl math, corporate math, etc. The 50-second clip I made went kind of viral, watched nearly a million times. Sure, I look super sexy there, with only one eye involuntarily twitching from stress, and the grantwriting-induced wrinkles smoothed out by hotel room lighting. But I think the topic hit a nerve with folks in the sector because we’re all exhausted by the various shenanigans we’ve been forced to endure.

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Foundations: Stop taking a year off to do your strategic planning!

[Image description: A golden mask, the kind that might be used at a masquerade party. Image by Julio Rionaldo on Unsplash]

Hi everyone. It is October, which means my favorite holiday is coming up: Halloween, a time when children can dress up in costume and go door-to-door for free food, while adults dress up as sexy versions of healthcare workers and politicians.

And of course, it’s also a time to give ourselves a good scare. In our sector, there’s plenty of terrifying things: Restricted funding, 360 evaluations, lack of retirement savings, and creepy colleagues who tip-toe behind you in darkened hallways and whisper, “Would you consider joining the gala planning committee?” I’ll tell you a story about one of the scariest things that happen though. Make sure all the lights are on and you’re not by yourself:

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