Hi everyone, last week was my kids’ first week of school. This always brings bittersweet emotions as I watch my little ones find their lines, reconnect with their friends, and increase a notch in their confidence and independence. I know the days of them holding my hands as we walk to their classes each morning are numbered, as are the moments when they turn around to wave to me before they disappear behind the walls and doors of their school. It’s beautiful. But also heart-wrenching, when I let myself ruminate about the unforgiving passage of time.
But this post is not about my kids. While dealing with the logistics of school starting, I was filled with appreciation for the nonprofits and nonprofit professionals in our sector. Kiet, my younger one, asked when his “art classes” will start up again. This is an after-school program run by a local organization here. Last year, I dropped by the program, and the wonderful staff were leading creative games and having the kids express themselves by drawing on little squares of paper.
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, Juneteenth was this week, so a quick reminder to funders that Black-led organizations only get only a tiny fraction of all foundation dollars, so if you released a statement and then took the day off, give more money to Black-led organizations and Black leaders. Everyone else, support Black businesses, donate to Black orgs, and fight against racism, such as the fascists making the teaching of Black history illegal.
Today’s topic is the portrayal of nonprofits by the media, mainly by journalists covering nonprofits. A colleague wrote me, irritated by yet another article that portrays nonprofits in poor light. “There’s so much handwringing about how nonprofits are never held accountable, without any actual understanding of nonprofit experiences. Why don’t [nonprofits] just collect data, Vu? How hard can it be to collect data???”
Hi everyone, and happy Spring if you are in the Northern Hemisphere. Last week, I moderated a conversation on Artificial Intelligence and how it might affect our sector. On the panel were Beth Kanter and Allison Fine, co-authors of The Smart Nonprofit, and Philip Deng, creator of Grantable, an AI-supported grantwriting platform. Here is the full video if you’d like to see it. Below are a few points I took away from the conversation with these experts. Those of you who are more knowledgeable in this area, please feel free to add your thoughts in the comment section or correct anything I got wrong (By the way, ChatGPT came up with the title of this blog post).
Hi everyone! I hope the new year is treating you well. Since it is a brand new year, I thought I would use my Pisces power to predict what’s in store for our sector over the coming months. As everyone knows, we Pisces are attuned to the vibrations of the universe and are often blessed with clairvoyance. (We are also known to be kind, caring, sensitive, artistic, humble, and good-looking in unconventional ways.)
Here are the predictions, based on the alignments of the stars, planets, and a proprietary divination method that I like to call “surfing the internet and then guessing.” Please read with a critical eye and consult with your doctor, lawyer, or astrologer before acting on any of these predictions below:
1.Artificial Intelligence will bring hope and fear to many: AI will be on the forefront of many minds. It is exciting! It is terrifying! It is coming! Will it allow us to quickly take care of pointless and time-consuming tasks such as writing grant proposals? Will we see a spike in creepy, unsettling images on websites and donor solicitation letters, creepier and more unsettling than just the usual white savior surrounded by kids of color? Is this the beginning of a tech Renaissance…or possibly the beginning of a Matrix-style robotic revolution that we will probably need to work into our theory of change and then fundraise to resist later? Be on the lookout for more of these discussions.