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.
Hi everyone, this will be the last blog post until August 8th, as I’ll be on my annual summer break. By the time you’re reading this, I am on my way to Vietnam to see the relatives. It will be three weeks of getting criticized for my career choice, divorced single status, and disheveled general appearance. It’s OK; relentless criticism is one of the love languages in Vietnamese culture.
I hope that you’re also taking time for yourself. Our sector sucks at this. Even during a pandemic, I see so many colleagues lamenting/bragging about how little vacation they’ve been taking, how they haven’t taken a break in literally years. Cut it out. There is no honor in burnout. You deserve to rest and to recharge and watch all 10 episodes of The Bear season 2 in one sitting, or whatever brings you joy.
However, it’s easy to say that. We’ve internalized some philosophies and messages that make rest feel shameful. One of these is the concept of “laziness.” Our self-worth and even identity are tied to doing stuff constantly, and when we think we’re not, we feel awful and useless. It’s a risotto of capitalism that we’re expected to stir perpetually while adding more and more heated broth of productivity.
Hey everyone, before we begin, here’s a cute and short video about foundations and their investments, which is a topic I’ll likely rant about later (after “Ask Vu: Love, Dating, Romance, and Relationship Advice for Nonprofit Professionals, Part 2,” which tens of people have been asking for. Here’s part 1).
I usually don’t write much about fundraising events. There’s been a general agreement that auctions, luncheons, golf tournaments, and their ilk are soul-crushingly awful and would make good deterrents for crimes: “You have been found guilty of armed robbery. I sentence you to be the event planner of four consecutive fundraising galas!”
As our colleague Paul Nazareth commented on Twitter: “The dislike I have for what was just weak fundraising strategy of charity galas; the garish glee of dress up, worshipping of wealth and culture of white supremacy, is evolving into disgust.”
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. If you’ve been following this blog, you know that I try to call out crappy or nonsensical things in our sector. (Those of you still using double spaces after periods, I will hunt you down!) And every time I do, there’s usually some pushback, such as detailed in the recent #DAFGate. I don’t mind it, and in fact, I like it, because as a sector, we need to be a lot more assertive about our needs and to be able to argue and defend our points of view. (Plus, I failed at being a lawyer, so I like arguing with people to make up for it.)
However, there is always a line of pushback that is predictable and tiresome, and it’s summed up with “well, that’s the rules and we need to follow it.” For example, last week I posted about the nonsense of delusional funders requiring an accounting for what their specific grant pays for, forcing nonprofits to play a pointless and time-wasting game of Financial Sudoku. Like a funder or donor giving $5,000 and needing to know whether that money paid for pencils or insurance or whatever. It’s as if I hired a plumber to fix my leaking sink, paid them $500, and then demanded to know what they spent that $500 on (“And no more than $50 of the money I paid you to fix the sink had better gone to paying your rent, Eddie, because that’s overhead!”)