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).Continue reading “The Ethics and Opportunities of Artificial Intelligence in the Nonprofit Sector”
Category: Race, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion
“Doing the right thing” over “doing things right,” a critical principle for advancing equity and justice
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!”)Continue reading ““Doing the right thing” over “doing things right,” a critical principle for advancing equity and justice”
20 new rules regarding handwritten thank-you notes we must all adopt immediately
Hi everyone, before we get started, it’s Black History Month, so let’s all remind ourselves that only about 2% of philanthropic dollars go to Black-led organizations. Funders, release all the statements of support you want, but increase funding and donations to Black organizations, movements, and individual leaders. Have more grants like the Washington Women’s Foundation’s Rest and Repair Awards, which provides $100,000 grants each to individual Black women leaders. The rest of us, meanwhile, should be donating to Black-led orgs, supporting Black-owned businesses, and calling our representatives and writing op-eds to protest the banning of AP African American Studies, among other actions.
Handwritten thank-you notes (HWTYN) have been a contentious topic in our sector of late. Some people think they are an absolute necessity for proper etiquette and relationship-building, while others believe they are an outdated relic of ancient times, like denim jackets and fair elections. Even Dr. Glaucomflecken weighed in. I have written about the cultural and equity implications of thank-you notes, so I won’t rehash.
But given that society is changing rapidly, we need some new rules. So forget everything you’ve been taught about thank you-notes, and instead follow these guidelines, which are in no particular order because I am not that organized:Continue reading “20 new rules regarding handwritten thank-you notes we must all adopt immediately”
Collective impact and what progressives can learn from conservatives
Hi everyone, just a preemptive warning that this post is serious, political, disjointed, and will likely offend some people.
Like you, I’ve been thinking about the police brutally murdering Tyre Nichols in Memphis, the latest in the countless murders of Black people by the police. I’m thinking of Tyre Nichols, who loved skateboarding and photography and who had a son a little younger than my six-year-old, and I’m thinking of his family, whom he was just trying to get home to. I cannot imagine their pain.
This murder came while so many of us are still grieving the mass shooting deaths of people in Monterey Park, Half Moon Bay, and other places too numerous for many of us to keep track of anymore (about 40 over the past four weeks). This is where we are at for this new year. Endless death and injustice, not just sanctioned but sponsored by our government. And those of us in nonprofit and philanthropy, for all the good we do, often feel powerless.
But our sector’s job is to address inequity and injustice, so we need to focus. The statements we’ll be making condemning police violence and anti-Blackness have been a start, but they are not enough, and in fact, they can often lull us into a sense of complacency, kind of like a long-form of “thoughts and prayers.” We need to, as an entire united sector, work together to end white supremacy and its many manifestations, and we need to do it differently and more effectively.Continue reading “Collective impact and what progressives can learn from conservatives”
Foundations, please get over the urban myth of “tipping”
Hi everyone, before we get started, it’s been five years since Unicorns Unite: How Nonprofits and Foundations Can Build EPIC Partnerships, a book I wrote with co-authors Jessamyn Shams-Lau and Jane Leu, was released. Here’s a free webinar taking place on February 14th at 10am PT to discuss what we’ve learned since then. Auto-captions will be enabled. Also, please use promo code UNI50 here to get 50% off your copy of the book.
Today, we talk about an issue that many of us probably had no idea existed, but one that is very annoying to those affected, and it perpetuates inequity. The concept of “tipping.” This is basically the idea that if a foundation gives a nonprofit “too much” funding, it would “tip” that nonprofit into becoming a foundation itself, which would then open a hole in the fabric of spacetime and an ancient evil would breach our dimension to rain chaos and destruction and there would be fire and brimstone and terrible wifi.Continue reading “Foundations, please get over the urban myth of “tipping””