21 tips to make getting back to work this week more bearable

[Image description: An adorable little puppy with light brown and white fur, laying with their head on the ground, looking cute and sad. I think that pretty much describes all of us this week. Image by rzierik on Pixabay]

Happy New Year, everyone! I know this week is rough. We’re back at work, with the thousands of emails, hundreds of to-do items, and a whole bunch of virtual meetings lined up with people who are probably just as grumpy as we are. I feel like crap, you feel like crap, we all feel like crap. Except for Ryan, who is always so chipper, God I hate that guy.

Anyway, it’s 2021, so I have compiled 21 tips that are scientifically proven to help you feel better and make this week just a little bit more bearable. Choose the stuff that works for you, ignore everything else:

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The importance of BIPOC voices and the unique challenges BIPOC content creators face

[Image description: An orange cat, lying on the keyboard of a laptop, half their face pressed against the screen, looking exhausted. Image by IRCat on Pixabay.]

Hi everyone, before we get into today’s post, three quick reminders. First, this Thursday December 10th at 11am PT, there is a free webinar on Transformational Capacity Building; read this article I helped write about how #CapacityBuildingSoWhite and let’s work together to change that. Second, go to grantadvisor.org and write an anonymous review of a foundation, or remind your grantees to do so, if you haven’t done it in a while. Third, make sure you’re flossing; dental hygiene is still important.

Since its launch five months ago, the Community-Centric Fundraising (CCF) movement has been growing. Get involved by joining the Facebook pageTwitter, Slack, and Instagram. Also check out all the amazing and mind-blowing content on the CCF Hub. I am grateful for all the folks putting time and energy into writing, podcasting, doing videos, and crafting poems challenging existing fundraising philosophies and practices, because #FundraisingSoWhite. (You can contribute to the Hub too; here are the editorial guidelines).

It’s not just fundraising and capacity building, but also #EvalSoWhite, #PhilanthropySoWhite, #GovernanceSoWhite, #HiringPracticesSoWhite, #CommunicationsSoWhite (and during the Before Times, OfficeSnacksSoWhite), etc. We need BIPOC folks to share their experiences and push to change these narratives.

However, many brilliant BIPOC folks are still really hesitant to contribute content and get their voices out there. This has been going on for as long as I can remember. Let’s examine this, because the perspectives of folks who are most affected by injustice are vital to our sector. This post is meant as encouragement and advice for BIPOC content creators, but I want white allies to pay attention to this issue, as you have a lot of gatekeeping power in this area.

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Funders, back up your equity statements with actual cash to BIPOC communities

[Image description: A rolled-up wad of US dollars, the outer one being a one-dollar bill, held together with a rubber band. The wad is resting on a spread of higher-level bills, including 20s and 100s. Image by pasja1000 on Pixabay]

Hi everyone, thank you to all of you who expressed concerns for my sister on her COVID recovery, which I mentioned last week. She’s getting well enough for us to resume our ongoing sibling bickering over inane things, so I think that’s good.

Before we get into today’s post, on December 10th at 11am PT, there is a free webinar on Transformational Capacity Building, led by my brilliant colleagues April Nishimura, Roshni Sampath, and Anbar Mahar Sheikh, based on this article I helped write. Fellow organizational development nerds, I hope to see you there so we can explore a more equitable model of doing capacity building. Or at least figure out how to explain what the hell it is to our families over virtual holiday dinners.

As I drove to my sister’s to deliver groceries and minestrone soup, I passed by a home improvement store and noticed the dozen folks standing out in the cold, waiting for construction or landscaping day jobs. As the pandemic progressed, day laborers have been hit hard. Gigs have been drying up, and many workers have families to support.

This year has been a nightmare, but I don’t think the majority of us really understand what is coming. Moratoriums on evictions are ending soon, and 40,000,000 people face being kicked out of their homes. As winter arrives, the levels of poverty, homelessness, pain, and trauma will reach levels we may not be able to grasp and our sector is not equipped to handle.

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You are not alone. We will get through this together.

[Image description: Trees in a forest, lit by sunlight. Image by Seaq68 on Pixabay]

Hi everyone, this post may be more personal than what I am used to sharing on this blog. Yesterday, my little sister Linda texted me “please don’t freak out cuz I’m fine and home now.” She had tested positive for COVID two days before, was recovering, and then suddenly had to be taken to the ER because of pneumonia, high fever, and high blood pressure. She knew I was going to freak out so didn’t tell me she was in the ER. (I got her permission to share all this).

This year has been one unending series of awfulness. I have been trying to put on a brave face, but it’s been rough. I am supporting another family member who has been dealing with alcohol addiction, and others who have depression or other mental health challenges or who are experiencing severe isolation and loneliness.

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Why we need to drop the idea of 100% board giving

[Image description: A hand putting folded money into a ceramic piggy bank. The piggy is white with pink ears and decorated with painted flowers. Image by horstkoenemund on Pixabay]

A few years ago, I led a Vietnamese-community-focused nonprofit as a youthful executive director filled with equal parts optimism and adult acne. I remember though one time at a board meeting trying to get board members to donate. “Please,” I said, “just give something. Anything! Even $5! I just need us to be able to tell funders that we have 100% board giving!” The elders stared back blankly at me. I was desperate. “OK,” I said, “how about I give you each $10, then you donate $5 back, and you make a profit of $5!” I was joking, but also kind of not.

The idea of “100% board giving” is one of those concepts that somehow have become entrenched in our sector, an unwritten truth that we don’t question. To this day, I still see funders asking about it on grant applications. Fundraisers, meanwhile, whisper warnings to one another: “There was one organization that only achieved 50% board giving. Their donations eventually all dried up. If you walk by the office, you can hear faint ghostly echoes of weeping from the development team.”

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