You are awesome, and 2022 is going to be an awesome year!

[Image description: A tan, white, and grey cat sleeping peacefully under a white blanket, their eyes closed in contentment. Image by Kate Stone Matheson on Unsplash]

Hi everyone. Welcome to 2022! I know the heaviness of this week presses down on us like a weighed blanket filled with mayonnaise and glass shards (This is my first post in a while; the analogies may be a little rough). The holiday break, if you had one, was not long enough, and a lot of it was probably spent arguing with family members and standing in line waiting for covid tests. Those sweet few days of lying snuggled up on the couch watching Ted Lasso or the Wheel of Time or our favorite cheesy movies seem but a distant memory, like the brief romantic flings of our youth, when we too were radiant with joy and Doritos.

Now we have to get back to dealing with emails. So many emails. And to-do lists. Endless. And relentless meetings. Meanwhile, we are still in a worsening pandemic. And the CDC, sponsored by Delta Airlines, basically says that if you have covid, gargle with some warm salt water and get back to capitalism. We’re going to have to put on a brave face and refrain from answering “What are your new year’s resolutions?” with “to make it to March without strangling at least three people in this virtual meeting.”

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Vaccine Mandates are Legal and Effective. It’s Time for Nonprofits and Foundations to Implement Them.

[Image description: A patient lying in an inclined hospital bed, their wrist hooked up to various tubes. Hospital beds are running out. Image by Parentingupstream on Pixabay.]

Back in June, as COVID numbers decreased, like many of you I was excited about the prospect of getting back to some semblance of life before the pandemic. Since then, the significantly more contagious Delta variant surged, making up over 80% of all COVID cases. Now, ICU units are filled up, people are dying at high numbers, more children are getting infected, oxygen is running low, and death rates for non-COVID reasons are increasing due to shortage of healthcare workers and hospital beds. As children get back into school, it’s likely the numbers will worsen even further. It will be a brutal fall and winter.

All of this is scary, and if you’re overwhelmed, you’re not alone. I watched as my kids, eight and five, masked, line up and walk into their classrooms behind their masked teachers. I try not to recall news stories of schools shutting down for quarantine their first week, and children fighting for their lives in ICUs.

When situations are serious and overwhelming, we need to figure out what we can control and take actions. This is what we in this sector do around myriad societal issues. One thing we can and must do now is implement vaccine mandates at our workplaces. And we need to do it immediately.

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Time to re-open that can of whoop-ass on injustice, you brilliant and talented nonprofit genius!

[Image description: A very happy and very fluffy puppy. I don’t know my dog breeds very well. What is this little one, a pomeranian? In any case, they have white fur with a light brown face and look so fluffy you just want to snuggle them forever.]

Hi everyone. For many of you, this is your first day back after a hopefully long break, and for others of you, you’ve been working these past few days and are trying really hard not to strangle the people who did get time off. It’s a rough day for all of us.

I know you’re probably feeling down in the dumps and just want to crawl back into bed, where The Mandalorian or The Expanse or The Golden Girls is waiting. You’re probably nursing your coffee, dreading the thoughts of checking the rest of your email inbox. You shudder looking at your to-do list. You feel a pang of guilt for not having done things that should have been done before break. At least one of your plants is likely dead. And WTF is that weird smell?!

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Answers on grant proposals if nonprofits were brutally honest, part 3

[Image description: A meerkat, looking directly into the camera with their deep, soulful eyes. They look cute, but tired, like they’ve written a lot of grant proposals and are so tired of the BSing.]

Hi everyone, a quick note before today’s post: If you haven’t written an anonymous review of a foundation on GrantAdvisor in a while, please take a moment to do so. GA has changed our rule so that all reviews are now public (instead of having to reach a threshold of five different reviews before a foundation’s profile goes live). You can save your colleagues from wasting their time and energy by writing helpful, honest reviews. Thank you for helping to advance our sector.


Grant proposals, am I right? They’re so much fun. Like flossing. Or sticking one’s hand in the garbage disposal to remove a fork. We nonprofit professionals have gotten so used to writing proposals that we forget most of the time we’re actually just putting down what we think funders want to hear while suppressing our real thoughts. Imagine if we actually said what’s on our mind. Here, in the 3rd part of the series, we do just that (Read Part 1 and Part 2, which cover classic questions like “How will you sustain this program after our support runs out?”).

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Solutions Privilege: How privilege shapes the expectations of solutions, and why it’s bad for our work addressing systemic injustice

[Image description: A cute black-and-white baby goat. They are mostly black, with a large vertical white stripe down their face. This kid looks surprised, with wide-open big brown eyes and a slight smile. No, this image has nothing to do with this post. I watched Game of Thrones and then thought “You know what, let’s put a baby goat up on this blog post.” So I did. Image from]

Hi everyone, quick disclaimers. Game of Thrones is back, and it runs on Sunday nights, when I’m usually doing my writing, so the next several blog posts will likely decrease in quality and coherence. The last few days also found my kids with food poisoning. I will spare you the gross details that involved multiple changes of bedsheets and 4am showers. Suffice to say, I’ve been behind on judging the #NonprofitHaiku contest and will post the winners sometime this week.


A while ago I was giving a short talk to a group of donors (all with for-profit backgrounds) about the challenges we nonprofits faced, including the inane and harmful focus on “overhead,” the unrealistic and insulting expectations for nonprofits to be self-sustaining, the 5%-payout mentality that allows money to be hoarded away while society burns, and the pervasive inequity of the lack funding going to marginalized-communities-led organizations. Overall, a pretty standard speech, complete with metaphors involving baking.

Afterwards, a couple, I’m going to call them Bob and Sue, came up to me. “We really enjoyed your speech,” said Sue, “but I didn’t really hear any solutions.” “Yes,” added Bob, “I would love to hear what you think would solve these issues you brought up.” I took a nice long sip of my Albariño, a wine that I learned had a characteristic bitterness.

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