Things are not normal. It’s OK to not be OK.

[Image description: A cute light-brown bulldog, lying on the ground, facing the camera, looking sad. This bulldog is all of us right now. Pixabay.com]

Hi everyone. It has been a long couple of weeks. I don’t think many of us have experienced anything like this before. We’ve weathered awful things as a society, but this is something else, a threat not just to our physical health, but our livelihoods, our way of being, our groundedness, and our optimism for the future. It even threatens the one thing we could always count on during these challenging times: Our proximity to one another and our sense of community.

I have been trying to breathe and remain calm, not add to the chaos, and be helpful where I can. But it’s been tricky. Schools here in Seattle have been out. The days blend into one another as my partner and I try to figure out how to homeschool our six-and-four-year-olds. Or at least keep them occupied enough that they don’t burn the house down. They seem to be fine at this moment, but I know that as this progresses, it will hit them that things are not normal, that everything is out of balance.

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A few things for nonprofits and foundations to consider in light of the Coronavirus

[Image description: An adorable red panda, staring at the camera. I was looking at pictures of the coronavirus, and even though it would be more relevant for this post, it is nowhere near as cute as this red panda. Pixabay.com]

Hi everyone. I know many of you have COVID-19 on your mind. I live in Washington State, where there have been multiple deaths from the virus. Nonprofits have been canceling events, and many companies and organizations are having staff work from home.

We all need to take this virus seriously. Many of you are still in denial. Wash your hands regularly, clean and disinfect surfaces, cancel events if you need to, allow staff to work from home, and use extra precautions if you work with older adult volunteer or clients. Also, check out this catchy and delightful song and video from Vietnam’s health department.

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Funders, fund sabbaticals. Nonprofits, have a sabbatical policy.

[Image description: Three adorable puppies, asleep with their heads resting on the edge of what looks like a rope basket. Awwwwww. Pixabay.com]

It’s been over two months now since I stepped down as an executive director. I wish I could say that, unchained from the shackles of leadership, I would be able to relax and recharge like I had planned. I haven’t been able to yet. I have to unlearn so many strategies that I adopted to be an effective ED: Constant vigilance, emotion suppression, functioning on reduced sleep, abandonment of personal hygiene, etc.

And then there’s the guilt. I feel like I have abandoned my friends in the trenches. This guilt manifests in my trying to buy colleagues lunches and coffees, leading to conversations like this:

Me: Let me buy you lunch.

Colleague: That’s sweet, but you don’t need to do that.

Me: No, I insist! It’s the least I can do! You are facing so much! Let me pay!

Colleague: You are unemployed…

Me: Oh. You’re right. Can…can you buy me lunch…?

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10 ways you or your organization may be an askhole

[Image description: Three yellow ducklings, two facing the camera, one with a slightly quizzical look, like “Did you just ask me to come up with an entire grant proposal for your organization as part of this job application?” Pixabay.com]

A while back, I wrote a post called “Are you or your nonprofit or foundation being an askhole?” An askhole, according to Urban Dictionary, is someone who asks for advice, but then completely ignores it or does the opposite, or someone who asks a lot of inane questions. However, I would say there are other ways to be askholes. Namely, asking people to do stuff for free or making unreasonable requests. Here are some ways you or your organization may be an askhole:

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An argument for nonprofit events to be vegan

[Image description: Some sort of noodle dish, made with what looks like eggplant noodles and a creamy sauce, garnished with pomegranate arils, a lemon wedge, and a sprig of mint, on a black plate. Pixabay.com]

Hi everyone. This coming Saturday, the RVC team will be hosting a fundraising dinner. It will be a roast. Of me. They’ve invited people to come up on stage and deliver scathing insults, some of which, I can only imagine, will involve digs at my hair, general clothing choices, and rabid devotion to the Oxford Comma. Several foundation staff have signed up to do the roasting; it was actually a little surprising how fast they all said yes. “Vu, I heard you’re getting roasted. Sign me up, I’m in! The foundation will have 2 tables. Do you need other roasters? I know at least 39.”

Bring it on! But if you’re going to aim your arrows at me and my perfectly rational hatred of infinity scarves and fear of opening lethal cans of bake-at-home biscuit dough, you better remember these two things: First, I get to counter-roast. Second, the entire event will be vegan. And that is why it is called The Vegan Roast.

Which brings us to today’s topic. A few months ago I wrote “Meat Me Halfway: Veganism and the Nonprofit Sector (aka, Worst. NAF Post. Ever).” This was my most controversial blog post yet. However, it sparked great conversations, with thoughtful arguments and counter-arguments, and we need to have more of that. So this post is a follow up, nudged by my colleague Tomomi Summers. Please take several deep breaths.

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