FRIDAY FAVORITES

Hello Nonprofit Enthusiast! Welcome to my Friday Favorites! Each Friday, I curate my favorite nonprofit articles, resources and blogs from the week! Enjoy!


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...remarkable leaders inspire their staff and create a culture of respect and empowerment
— Meredith Kavanagh
When a board of directors communicates well, the likelihood goes up that the nonprofit will keep running smoothly and encounter fewer issues than expected.
— Kayla Matthews
Giving is motivated emotionally and then it’s rationalized.
— Robert Sharpe
To keep things simple, impact investing, at any level, aims to marry a financial return with a social or impact.
The problem with being a predictable organization is that you may wind up being taken for granted.
— Derrick Feldman

If you ever wanted to bang your head against the wall and then feign temporary insanity so you could throw staplers at the office water cooler to relieve the stress from yet another failed fundraising event... brothers and sisters, please know, I hug you all in my heart.

 

 

 

WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU YOU WANT TO BANG YOUR HEAD AGAINST THE WALL

    The nonprofit life is not for the faint of heart.

 

    Most folk who work for a nonprofit organization wear about 12,000 hats a piece. People work hard to do good and frankly, you got have a great deal guts to stick it out. Because...the bad days can feel pretty, pretty poopy. (Pardon my language.)

   If you ever wanted to hide yourself in the supplies closet and eat 3 tubs of Ben + Jerry's  Cherry's Garcia ice-cream because the organization just lost its top 3 major donors... trust me, you are not the first one to do so.

    If you ever wanted to change your name, move to St. Lucia and sell beaded key rings to tourists because dealing with all the personalities on the board  is costing you a lot in therapy... dear friend, there are so many of us, we could start our own support group.

    If you ever wanted to bang your head against the wall and then feign temporary insanity so you could throw staplers at the office water cooler to relieve the stress from yet another failed fundraising event... brothers and sisters, please know, I hug you all in my heart.

 

This nonprofit life is no joke. 

              But its worth it.

To be doing good deeds is man’s most glorious task.
— Sophocles

So, what DO you do when you want to bang your head against the wall? 

 

1. Call a friend. A nonprofit friend.

       It's important to have friends who work for other nonprofit organizations. It's more than important. It's critical and your nonprofit sanity depends on it! So, if you don't have a nonprofit friend, get one. If you need help making a nonprofit friend, have no fear! I wrote all about in this article.

   A nonprofit friend understands the nonprofit woes and can talk you  off the nonprofit ledge. So, call this nonprofit friend and offer to take them out for breakfast in exchange for 30 minutes of a proper vent session. No one can ever say no to breakfast.

 

 

2.  Connect with a nonprofit mentor.

     Every nonprofit Jedi needs a nonprofit Yoda. Find a mentor and make time to glean from them. Would you allow me to make one controversial suggestion? Thank you.

   Be willing to pay your nonprofit mentor for their time. 

    I hope we can still be friends ....  but I do believe  that you you get value when you are willing to pay for it. A mentor will help you target the specific areas that are chronically causing the nonprofit battles you are up against. One on one coaching is always worth it. All you got do to  find  a nonprofit coach is  google:  "non profit coach" and  the internet will give you all the answers you're look for. Of course, I am always here for you. I would be honored to be your Yoda. 

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3. Call out the next day.

         Many nonprofit leaders are working nonstop to keep the mission afloat and sometimes the antidote to their frustration is simply: a day off. It's okay to call out in order to preserve your sanity and spirit.

    But you got to me promised. You got to promise me to REALLY take the day off which means NO "from home" meetings or checking emails or doing any work of any kind. You must promise me that you will be very unproductive and indulgent.

     A day of true rest can put you in a position of strength. Don't be afraid to utilize this secret weapon every once in awhile, young Jedi.

    

    Remember, we all have days where we want to bang our head against the wall. It's a hard knock nonprofit life after all. But in the words of our orphan friend,  "Annie".

The sun'll come out
Tomorrow
So ya gotta hang on
'Til tomorrow
Come what may
Tomorrow, tomorrow
I love ya tomorrow
You're always
A day
Away...

 

      I'm cheering wildly for you with colorful kazoos and streamers.

     Todd

FRIDAY FAVORITES

Hello Nonprofit Enthusiast! Welcome to my Friday Favorites! Each Friday, I curate my favorite nonprofit articles, resources and blogs from the week! Enjoy!


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Whether you’re taking your first crack at email marketing, or you’re a seasoned veteran optimizing your strategies, there are some creative and fun experiments you can run to help boost donor engagement.
— Will Schmidt
Seek not only to have excellent donor service with your brand but also aim to have exceptional team member service. It’s the first place to start with having outstanding donor support.
— Wayne Elsey
You have to ask. And you have to ask them to meet concrete and realistic goals.
— Esther Choy
If you, like several members of the Charity Navigator team, will be dressed up in your gloves and fascinator to celebrate with happy couple early Saturday morning, consider making a gift to one of these highly-rated charities to commemorate the occasion.
The key to effective donor communication is to close the gap between making a donation and the impact that these contributions will make.
— John Hayden

Collaboration is magic. Collaboration promotes creativity... which supports sustainability... which cultivates community.

THE BIG SECRET TO NONPROFIT SUCCESS

I am just going to come right out and say it because I can't hold it in any longer...

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The secret to nonprofit success is...

(drum roll, please...)

Collaboration.

      Yup!  The secret to nonprofit success is when nonprofits brainstorm together, share resources with one another, educate each other, support one another, and stay interested in each other's causes.

       Some of you are you saying right now, "Todd, we don't have the time to collaborate with other nonprofit organizations!"

And I am telling you that you don't have the time to NOT collaborate with other nonprofit organizations! 

   Now is the time to gather together and be there for each other! (Do you see me waving a nonprofit flag in the air, right now? I am that passionate about this!)

  Look, the nonprofit world is about community not competition. There is so much good to be done in this world and if we are ever going to get it done... we will need to get it done together.     

But how? 

(Sigh)

I am soooo glad you asked:

3 NO-BRAINER WAYS TO START COLLABORATING WITH OTHER NONPROFIT ORGANIZATIONS

1. ATTEND CONFERENCES. 

        We live in a wonderful time where there are a lot of wonderful nonprofit conferences that you can attend! They are not as boring as they used to be! Hooray! Aaaaaaaaand the money and time is most certainly worth the friendships that are made and the resources gained. Conferences are a fabulous way to collaborate with other nonprofits. Now, I would like to add that attending a nonprofit conference is not going automatically  help you find your next nonprofit bestie. In addition to attending the conference, you have to also engage with other nonprofits... ask them questions... listen to their stories... and be willing share your own.

2. MAKE FRIENDS WITH LOCAL NONPROFITS.

       The other nonprofits in your local community are not your enemies. Should I say that again?

The other nonprofits in your local community are NOT your enemies.

   They are not even your competition. They are a valuable resource they you have the opportunity to draw from and pour into. So make nice. Invite their C-Suites to a luncheon where you can all get to know each other better.  Begin to cultivate a local nonprofit squad that is determined to have each other's back. Get matching tattoos if you think that will help.

 

3. HOST REGULAR COLLABORATION SESSIONS WITH YOUR NONPROFIT SQUAD.

     Take up the mantle of being the nonprofit squad leader and start to host collaboration sessions. Gather your nonprofit friends together and ask, "How can we help each other?" Some other great questions to ask that will get a helpful conversation going are:

  • What are similar problems that we are all facing?
  • What are new systems, programs, and services that are working that we can either recommend or share?
  • What unique skill sets can we share as leaders?
  • What are some wins we can celebrate with and for each other?
Remember collaboration is magic.

    Collaboration is magic. Collaboration promotes creativity... which supports sustainability... which cultivates community. So, get on the collaborative band wagon and start making friends! There is plenty of good out there to get done!  Let's do it together.

    

Waving the Nonprofit flag proudly, 

Todd

FRIDAY FAVORITES

Hello Nonprofit Enthusiast! Welcome to my Friday Favorites! Each Friday, I curate my favorite nonprofit articles, resources and blogs from the week! Enjoy!


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The key is to start designing now so you can let your creativity flourish and produce a template that will serve you well into the future.
— Will Schmidt
As we debriefed on the process, we realized that before we created the Last Step fund we’d had a systemic problem. We’d been trying to work harder at communicating current programming that wasn’t A) meeting the full needs of our students nor B) inspiring our donors.
— Bill Hoffman
“Think about the memories that you have with the people you love, and remember that those memories may be all that you may ever have of them, and all that they may ever have of you.”
— Vu
Nonprofit social media marketing is a cost-effective, creative and flexible way to communicate your story to your audience.
— Leeann Alameda
Potential job applicants are beginning to place as much emphasis on positive organizational culture as they do on job tasks and salaries. This means activating a culture of well being in the nonprofit workplace is even more important to avoid turnover and attract top talent.
— Beth Kanter
Be different but be authentic. Branding without sincerity is just a color scheme.

IT'S TIME FOR NONPROFITS TO BOOGIE TO THEIR OWN BEAT

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Fitting in is a short-term strategy, standing out pays off in the long run.
— Seth Godin

   The amount of information and resources on how you can "brand" your organization is overwhelming. Are you overwhelmed too? Oh, good. I thought I was just me. The internet-world has a million plus one ways on how you can amplify your cause but a word of caution, dear friends:

        Beware of ripping off other successful nonprofits' branding moves with the hopes that what is working for them will work for you.

 

 

    It's time for you to boogie to your own beat.

 

      Instead of looking at how everyone else is doing their branding thing... spend some time looking at what makes your organization unique. What are your quirks? What is the unique flavor or spin on the way you approach your cause? What do donors, team members, and others continually point as your organization's signature dance move?

In other words, how does your NFP rock the Nonprofit dance floor?

(Excuse the all the "dance" metaphors but it just feels right.)

      Look. Branding is a big deal right now. Clever marketing is essential if nonprofits are ever going to survive this current climate. I am not going to sugar coat this: Everyone needs to get their branding/marketing act together. It's kind of a matter of life or death for organizations these days...BUT....

   BUT...

... in the process of clarifying your message ... updating your website... making your logo look  pretty ...and crafting a catchy a  tag line in 7 words or less (or is "4 words or less" now?) ....

   Remember who you are. Remember to boogie to your own beat.

    Don't be afraid to "moon walk" when every else is "whipping and nae-naeing"!  If the other nonprofits are doing the "electric slide" but "Gangnam Style" is more  your organization's style... turn up the music and own your moves!

   The point is get out other and get dancing! Be yourself. Be different but be authentic. Branding without sincerity is just a color scheme.

   If you are in the New Jersey/New York City area, I am hosting a gathering for nonprofits who want to learn:

UNIQUE MARKETING AND BRANDING TECHNIQUES TO ADVANCE YOUR NONPROFIT’S MISSION

 

TUESDAY, JUNE 5, 2018 | 8:30 AM – 10:30 AM

Stony Hill Inn
231 Polifly Road
Hackensack, NJ 07601

  It's going to be a lot of fun and I would love for YOU to be there! If are interested, you can get more information here:

Time to get Footloose! 

(sorry, I can't help myself today)

Your fan,

Todd

 

 

FRIDAY FAVORITES

Hello Nonprofit Enthusiast! Welcome to my Friday Favorites! Each Friday, I curate my favorite nonprofit articles, resources and blogs from the week! Enjoy!


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The information inside can help you assess your own online fundraising strategies and make data-driven decisions to grow—and make meaningful connections with—your donor base.
— Ellie Burke
Didn’t have time to watch the first day of Facebook’s F8 Developer Conference?

I’ve got you covered.
— Julia Campbell
A common feature of successful nonprofits is a highly engaged board of directors; a board partnership with the CEO on the right issues and investing quality time and resources in the organization they lead.
— Craig Shelley
Managing time and actions effectively makes the difference between a spectacular fundraiser and one that merely gets the job done.
— Natalie Skinner
Ask yourself:
Why are we running this event, and what will success look like, today and tomorrow?
— Claire Axelrad

Good people will leave from time to time... just don’t give them a good reason to. Okay? This world needs the mission of your organization to succeed and the only way that can happen is if good people roll up their sleeves to help you do it.

THE 10 COMMANDMENTS OF KEEPING GOOD PEOPLE WORKING AT YOUR NONPROFIT

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I hear it all the time:

One of our best employees is leaving us for another nonprofit organization.

 

       It's disheartening to lose good people because good people help make the good things happen.  I think many organizations could lose less "good people" if they just followed these 10 commandments:

1. Thou shall not make empty promises.

       We've got to stop making promises to our team members that we know, deep down inside, we cannot keep. After one or two promises being broken, people start think you are full of _________ (you know what to write in the blank). They begin to distrust you and distrust is the knife that cuts out loyalty faster than an Hibachi Chef. If you can't follow through on what you are about to say, don't say it at all.

2. Thou shall give a crap about employee's lives outside of work.

     Caring about people's lives outside of work goes a loooooooong way. It communicates, 
"I acknowledge that you are a valuable human being outside of this organization. Who you are is more important than what you do."  Remember their birthdays. Ask about then 9 month old baby. Go to their mother's funeral. Send a gift basket when they have broken their ankle playing ultimate frisbee and have to take a week or two off from work.  Give a crap. When they know that you care, they care. They feel safe enough to root themselves into the organization for the long haul.

3. Thou shall not play favorites.

     Playing favorites is just gross so don't do it. Always play fair. Treat everyone the same and go to great lengths to do so even if when it's inconvenient for you. Uphold yourself and everyone else to the same standards. This isn't eighth grade. Everyone gets to sit at your table.

4. Thou shall celebrate wins...small and big.

     For the love, please celebrate your wins. Celebrate your team! Celebrate for big things and for little things. Create a culture that knows how to be grateful for the good. Surprise Ice Cream Parties are always a win (except for our dear lactose intolerant friends). Treating everyone to an afternoon off will always earn your good stars. Hosting an in-office luau is always fun. Always. Learn to be the leader that highlights the good with celebration. Good people are attracted to that kind of culture. 

5. Thou shall use "mistakes" as opportunities to "mentor".

   Even good people make mistakes. Learn to take this moment as an opportunity to mentor through the mistake instead of being a total jerk face about it. Shaming people after they have made a mistake has never been an effective course of action in guaranteeing they won't make the same mistake again. The best way to make sure mistakes aren't made again is by taking the time to kindly mentor someone through it.

6. Thou shall practice basic manners on a regular basis.

   Learn how to practice:  Please. Thank you. I'm sorry. Excuse me. Hello. How are you? Take care. Have a great day! You know. The basics. Manners are becoming a long lost art in the workplace and this makes me very sad. Regardless of your position, there is never a reason why you would ask an employee to do something without incorporating good common sense manners into the request. It's downright disrespectful and frankly, immature. Too harsh? I think not. We all need to be grown ups and being a grown up means that we know and practice good manners Mr. Rogers taught us!

7. Thou shall look for creative incentives to motivate good work.

    Look, let's not kid ourselves. If you are wanting to make the big bucks... working for a nonprofit will most likely not be the place where you going to become a billionaire. Most folks who choose to work for a NFP, do so because they believe in cause of the mission. They want to contribute to the good of world with the everyday work that they do. In saying this, we can rest assure that although we may not be able to hand out frequent bonuses, we can find other creative incentives to award our employees for their good work. Lack of money can never be an excuse to forget to say "thank you".

8. Thou shall return phone calls, emails, and texts.

   Do your best to communicate well. I know things get busy and it's hard to stay on top of correspondence but it's important that your team feels like you care about what they have to say. Even if you can't respond right away, you can always send a simple text or email that says, "Hey! I got your message. I am little swamped right now but I want you to know that I am thinking about you said. Let's a schedule a time to talk about this..."  By doing this, you are communicating to your team members, "You are a priority to me."

9. Thou shall commit to integrity.

    This should go without saying, but sadly... honesty is gravely underestimated these days. Leaders who commit to integrity command the respect of  their team. Need I say more?

10. Thou shall deal with office drama, problem people, and team dissension quickly and effectively. 

     No one wants to work in an hostile environment. Office drama is a waste of energy and problem people are soul sucking. Deal with it. Don't ignore it. Don't become involved. Just lay down a "no tolerance" policy of people being mean to each other. Be ye not naive : Bullying still exists among adults. If someone can't play nice and work well with others... perhaps they shouldn't be working for you at all. 

 

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       Look. Good people will leave from time to time... just don't give them a good reason to. Okay? This world needs the mission of your organization to succeed and the only way that can happen is if good people roll up their sleeves to help you do it.

My money is on you because you are awesome,

Todd

FRIDAY FAVORITES

Hello Nonprofit Enthusiast! Welcome to my Friday Favorites! Each Friday, I curate my favorite nonprofit articles, resources and blogs from the week! Enjoy!


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These are tough questions to ask and take time to consider. Nevertheless, they are an essential part of your due diligence regarding the top job with a not-for-profit. If you get positive information about most or all of these questions—and you truly care about the mission—then this is the right place for you.
— Julie Rosen

...leaders must encourage practices that discourage the responsive, passive nature of boards, so that these practices do not become institutionalized.
— Judith L. Millesen and Eric C. Martin

Every nonprofit should be evaluating their volunteer program in an effort to make informed decisions that determine strategic steps and growth
— Eric Burger

For us as a sector to be able to effectively address the challenges our community is facing, we have to be equal partners, and equal partners support one another, especially during times of transition and uncertainty.
— Vu

For better or for worse, social media is a large part of how we engage and make new connections.
— Ellie Burke

A team with even one or two of the wrong people can sucker punch your mission right in the heart.

#1 WAY TO ATTRACT THE RIGHT TEAM MEMBERS TO WORK FOR YOUR NONPROFIT

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      Every single successful nonprofit has an excellent team driving the mission forward. This is always  the case. 

 

     The majority of nonprofits who are struggling are struggling because they have serious people problem.  They have the wrong people on their team.  A team full of the right people will propel your mission forward. A team with even one or two of the wrong people can sucker punch your mission right in the heart.

 

IT'S TIME TO CLEARLY DEFINE THE CULTURE.

 

      When it comes to attracting the right people to work for your nonprofit, you must always start with the culture of your organization. There is about a thousand things I can say about why culture is so important but here's the thing you need to know: Your organization already has a culture. It just might not be a positive one or one that truly reflects the values of the organization. Organizations that find themselves continually stacking their teams with folks they thought would "work well" only to find out down the road that they were a total "hiring mistake" may have a "culture" problem. 

   When the culture of an organization is clearly defined and practiced consistently, teams become more cohesive and the hiring process becomes much more focused.

 

Instead of "fulfilling a position", you are building a team. 

 

     How do you know if your organization has a culture issue? Let me ask you this question:

 

When your organization experiences a win (successful event launch, fundraising campaign, personal story of mission’s effectiveness, etc)... how does your organization collectively celebrate? 

       

 

If it took you longer than 20 seconds to find the answer to that question, you have a culture issue.    When I ask my nine year old granddaughter how we celebrate birthdays in our family, she would tell you that everyone gets together (all family members and significants are invited) ... everyone eats dinner at the restaurant the birthday person has chosen... and then right before cake we all go around in a circle and say one thing we love about the birthday person. From that you answer you would gather:

1. Our family culture enjoys food and celebrating with food.

2. Our family culture values gathering everyone together for celebration. We are inclusive and practice inclusivity by extending the invitation to celebration to significant others and not just blood/married related members.

3. Our family culture encourages positive affirmations as a way we express affection and appreciation. 

 Ask one of your team members what they believe is the collective way that  your organization celebrates the wins. Take notes on what they say and if they say, "I don't know...." get intentional about defining your desired culture. 

   Culture is important because a healthy culture will produce a healthy team.

     Please...PLEEEEEEEEEEASEE... get help if you need it.

    Don't be afraid to hire an outside consultant to help you identify your values in order to be able to create and cultivate your desired culture. It will ultimately aid you in attracting the right team members to work for your nonprofit.  Remember, the right people will propel your mission forward and your will accomplish the good you set out to do. And isn't that what you want? Yea. I thought so.

 

 I  am wearing your colors and I'm cheering loudly for you,

Todd