Hi everyone, I am heading out on a three-week speaking trip that spans the US, Canada, and Aotearoa, so apologies in advance if the next several blog posts may be short, poorly edited, posted at strange times, missing completely, or just a single picture of a majestic kiwi bird. (The use of the Oxford Comma, however, will be consistent).
One of the things I’ve been fighting for over the years is for employers to treat job candidates with dignity and respect. This includes the salary being listed in every job posting. Like the devastation of climate change, the importance of vaccinations, and the deliciousness of olives, the research is so decisive that there is no further arguing about this (Just kidding about olives; I know many of you hate them, and I feel deeply sad for you and your lives). Either you disclose salary ranges on your job postings, or you signal to the world how far behind your org is on equity practices.
Over the past several months, my kids have been obsessed with Greek Mythology, thanks to a podcast they listen to called “Greeking Out.” Greek myths are awesome, and there’s a lot they can teach us. Actually, many of the terms we use in this sector have Greek origins. For instance, the word “philanthropy” comes from the Greek “philos” which means “love of” and “anthropos” which means “burdensome and pointless grant applications.”
Anyway, while listening to Greeking Out with the kids, I couldn’t help but imagine these iconic stories being set in the nonprofit sector, so I wrote some of them out below. Enjoy. (And stop judging. Like your Saturday nights are so much more interesting.)
It’s been nearly three years since I stopped being a nonprofit executive director. My skin looks healthier, my eyes less sunken and haunted, and I’ve started reverse-aging and now look like my kids’ father and not their grandfather. Best of all, I only wake up once or twice a year screaming “Cashflow! Payroll! NOooOOOO!!”
Being a nonprofit ED/CEO, or any other high-level leaders, can be rough. The systems and norms we have put in place often place unrealistic amounts of responsibility and stress on leaders. Combined with a capricious funding system that forces everyone into default survival mode, and we can understand how leaders burn out and why few younger professionals want to assume leadership roles.
Hi everyone. I appreciate Deepa Iyer’s and Building Movement Project’s Social Change Ecosystem Map. It is helpful to see what roles we each play in the work to make the world better. And while we do that, it’s also helpful to see the roles we play that could make the world worse…or at least keep it from improving. You may recall that Dr. King said the greatest threat to justice are not the people burning crosses and otherwise being overtly racist, it’s the white moderates, people who are well-meaning but whose actions perpetuate inequitable systems.
Here below are the 12 archetypes of the white moderate that I’ve identified for this post. Examining them helps us to recognize when we are playing these roles. As you read, keep in mind that none of us are immune to any of these archetypes. And sometimes, we take on multiple simultaneous roles. While people of color can perpetuate white moderation, I want white colleagues to pay special attention, as you are more likely to play these roles and with greater frequency:
When I was younger, one of my favorite things was the Skymall catalogue, which some of you may remember. It was a catalog that every airline had at every seat, and it was a glorious collection of some of the coolest stuff ever. I couldn’t afford the life-size gorilla lawn statue, or the fountain pen filled with tiny Swarovski crystals, or a lamp made out of pink salt that generated negative ions, or whatever. But it gave me a small measure of happiness to flip through the catalog and learn about the wacky products and what they did and how much they sold for.
Why am I bringing this up? I’ll get to that in a moment. A few weeks ago I was invited to give a keynote on the joy of fundraising. Now, I know at least a handful of people in the sector are rolling their eyes. That’s like inviting a teenager to deliver a lecture called “The Importance of Listening to Your Parents and Other Authority Figures.” Over the past few years, I have criticized many aspects of the way we do fundraising, and have been helping advance a movement to change it. So there may be this perception that I hate fundraising, fundraisers, and donors.