Hi everyone, a quick note before we get started. If you’re in Seattle and available the evening of October 26th, please join me at the Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI) for a book reading I’m doing of my book, Unicorns on Fire, which is a collection of some of my favorite blog posts, but in print. It’ll be fun. We’ll be sharing scary nonprofit stories, taking photobooth pictures, and giving out NAF merch as door prizes. It’s free. Register here so we know how much hummus to buy for the hummus bar.
If you work in this sector, you’ve probably experienced your fair share of bizsplaining. This is a term my friend Allison Carney coined where someone from the corporate sector who often has little to no nonprofit experience, talks down to nonprofit professionals. It manifests in several ways, including, but not limited to:
Hi everyone, for the past two weeks I’ve been dealing with ongoing violent coughs, wheezing, and occasional migraines. Chest x-rays finally concluded I have pneumonia. (My ten-year-old: “So can you transform into different animals now?” “No, son, that’s Nimona.”). I am now on a delightful cocktail of antibiotics, inhalers, and various other medications. All that to say, I am not exactly the most coherent right now and might start hallucinating again at any moment, so thank you for your understanding. Yes, Ms. Scott, I would love for you to fund Nonprofit The Musical!
This summer, I went back to Vietnam for three weeks. There, among amazing food and beautiful scenery, as usual I strove to answer questions from various relatives on what it is I do. It doesn’t help that I left Vietnam when I was eight, so my Vietnamese vocabulary is limited, which is not helpful when trying to explain complicated things like equity, grantwriting, and hummus, the trademarks of our profession.
Hi everyone, before we get into this week’s topic, on August 30th at 11am Pacific Time, there is a FREE webinar about one of critical things we all need to pay more attention to: Legislative reforms on Donor-Advised Funds! It’s hosted by CalNonprofits and will feature lots of brilliant minds on this issue: Jan Masaoka, Chuck Collins, Darryll K. Jones, Alex Reid, and Jon Pratt. Get more details and register here. There will be live captioning. Please be there if you can; we need to demonstrate there’s interest in the sector to reform DAFs.
Sorry, that’s not what this week’s post is about. Besides, I am a middle-age divorced man who has transcended romantic love and has fully embraced a shabby, gremlin-like existence of Netflix and Costco dried mango, so I am not sure I’m still qualified.
I am a generous and humble man who wants to help sad poor people. This is why I give money to charity. If you help sad poor people, I might also give your organization money. But I have high standards, so I usually give initial donations to test organizations’ responses. Sure, $100 may not be much, though I believe one should be able to purchase at least 10 bananas with that amount. After making the initial donation, I wait in the shadows like a philanthropic hawk to see how charities treat me, which will determine whether I will give them more in the future.
I have been very disappointed to say the least. Some nonprofits don’t respond at all. Some wait excessively long periods of time before getting back to me. One time I had to wait a whole month like an animal for a handwritten thank-you note. Another organization received a huge grant from another donor, and I expected them to know immediately how that money would affect their operations, and more importantly, how it would affect me. My various attempts demanding answers were met with silence. In fact, across multiple charities I donate to, all seem to be avoiding communicating with me, which can only mean they are all no-good, very bad.
Hi everyone. Confession: I don’t hate most meetings. I mean, if you think about it, in our sector meetings often mean we get to spend time with usually awesome people to brainstorm ideas on how to make the world better. This is something our ancestors, who likely worked long hours doing manual labor, probably dreamed about for us: “One day, our descendants will be paid to sit, eat tiny oranges that are easy to peel, and talk while others write stuff on the walls.”
However, it seems lately that meetings have been out of control. The pandemic, which should have slowed us down, somehow increased the numbers of meetings we each have. It’s so easy and acceptable now to have virtual meetings. Not having to drive, find parking, shower, and brush one’s teeth means many people end up with more frequent back-to-back meetings. I’ve had days when I’ve had 5 or more. One colleague I know said she had 12 in one day!