12 New Rules for Virtual Meetings, Since We’re Still In a Pandemic

[Image description: a person sitting in front of a laptop, their hands on the keyboard. On the screen are six people in a grid. Image by jagritparajuli99 on Pixabay]

It seems that with Omicron and everything going on, we are going to be having virtual meetings for the foreseeable future. I’ve been reading through lists of guidelines for virtual meetings, and they are ridiculous, still stressing the standards of “professionalism.” One dude recommended wearing slacks or other work-related pants, even though people may not be able to see what we’re wearing below the waist.

We are in an apocalypse! Most of us are barely hanging on by a thread, and just getting out of bed, or even turning on the laptop while in bed, is in itself an accomplishment. The rules must change to accommodate. We should dispense with many practices rooted in archaic notions of professionalism. Most meetings should probably just be eliminated so we can nap or watch Encanto again, but if we must have them, here are a few new agreements I am proposing:

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Scary Nonprofit Stories to Tell in the Dark, 2021

[Two jack-o-lantern carved from orange pumpkins, their goofy/scary expressions lit up in the darkness, reflected in the shiny floor. Image by David Menidrey on Unsplash]

Hi everyone. Halloween is coming up next week, which means it’s time for this year’s crop of spooky stories set in our sector. Beware, these stories are terrifying and may keep you up at night. Share your own stories in the comment. Also, check out #NonprofitHalloweenCostumes on Twitter for inspirations like this one: Wear all-yellow clothing. Put on a brown hat. Say things like “In two years, we’ll triple the number of people we serve.” You’re a…Strategic Flan! (Shut up! That pun is one of my life’s greatest achievements!)

Anyway, on with the stories.


The fortuneteller sat across from Roberto, her slender fingers waving over the crystal ball. “Yes,” she said, her face distorted in the glass so that her eyes appeared unusually large from his perspective, “I can see now. Clear as day. What would you like to know?”

As he was about to speak, she interrupted him. “Think carefully,” she said, narrowing her eyes, “for it is better some questions remain…unasked.”

Roberto pulled out his laptop and turned it on. “OK,” he said, “this online grant application won’t let me know the questions in advance. I have to answer each question and save it before I can see the next question. Can you tell me what all the questions are?”

At that moment, lightning flashed and a peal of thunder shattered the evening sky.

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10 shows about nonprofit and philanthropy that would be way better than “The Activist”

[Image description: A white long-haired puppy facing away from the camera, staring at a TV monitor in the distance. Image by sq lim on unsplash.com]

By now you’ve probably heard about the new show to debut on CBS called “The Activist,” in which six activists compete for funding and attention for their causes, success measured by social media engagement and the input of celebrity mentors Usher, Priyanka Chopra, and Julianne Hough.

Of course, everyone is rightly up in arms. There are so many things wrong with this concept. Forcing activists to compete against one another in a Hunger Games for the crumbs thrown out by the wealthy. Measuring success through social media engagement. Having celebrities who know little to nothing about these issues judging activists with years of experience. And doing it all as entertainment:

Maria, your TikTok video about rising poverty and deaths in the Global South caused by climate change was informative, but garnered the lowest number of likes. One viewer commented: ‘The video made me sad. I wanted to see something more fun and hopeful, with maybe some dancing while gesturing at statistics.’ Unfortunately, we have to eliminate you from the competition. But you won’t leave empty-handed. One of our sponsors has generously decided to donate 500 pairs of shoes to your organization to give to villagers fleeing their flood-ravaged homes!

#CancelTheActivist is the hashtag someone started. Let’s get mobilizing.

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Imagine if Marvel made a movie about nonprofit superheroes

[Image description: Silhouette of a figure in shorts standing in front of a body of water, their hands on their hips. It looks to be sunrise or sunset. Image by Steve Halama on Unsplash.]

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.

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10 tips for spicing up your love life if you work in nonprofit and philanthropy

[Image description: Two penguins nuzzling each other’s beak affectionately. They are outdoors, with grass and small fuzzy brown flowers in the foreground. Image by AGL Fotos on Unsplash.]

Valentine’s Day is this coming Sunday. Even without an endless pandemic, it can be challenging for people in relationships to keep the spark alive. So here are some tips, written with nonprofit/philanthropy professionals in mind, and not just for Valentine’s Day, but every day. As usual, please use what you find helpful and ignore the rest. Add your own advice in the comment section.

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