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It Takes Confidence

“We judge ourselves by what we feel capable of doing, while others judge us by what we have already done.” Henry Wadworth Longfellow

Addicted to Grants

A few years ago, I interviewed with an organization that was opening a new community center in a part of town that had a very disparate population.  That section of Portland has a diverse mix of well to do professionals and families living in expensive high rise condominiums, as well as low income working poor and homeless.  The organization only had a couple of programs in place, and had not planned for more at that time.

Competition or Collaboration

Have you ever thought about fast food restaurants?  There are many kinds of fast food places that specialize in some type of mass produced cuisine.  There are burger places like McDonalds, Jack In the Box, Burger King, and Carl’s Jr.  There are taco joints like Taco Bell, Taco Time, and Taco Del Mar.  There are sandwich shops like Subway, Quizno’s and Arby’s.  Pizza comes from Domino’s, Pizza Hut, Little Caesar’s, and Papa John’s.  The quality varies from place to place, but the competition gives you a choice of where to go and keeps the price down.  If there were only one place to go for each type of food, the only competition would be with different types of restaurants and a monopoly would likely make the cost hig

Nonprofits and Social Media: Beyond Marketing your Organization

Five years ago, I attended a workshop on Social Media sponsored by Meyer Memorial Trust.  The emphasis of the workshop was how using sites like Myspace, Facebook and Twitter can be used by nonprofit organizations to market themselves and spread the story of their work and missions to their followers, which can then be shared with those following their followers, expanding the scope of their message in hopes of increased support for their mission.  Indeed, now nonprofit organizations hire people to run their social media efforts, and have a presence not only on Facebook and Twitter, but also on other sites like Pinterest and any new site that comes along.  Many have added donation applications so visitors can make a monetary gift while visiting their online profile. 

Losing as Much as You Gain

Recently, I came across some information from a couple of sources that I feel is important to share.  Earlier this week, the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) released a report that shows that nonprofit organizations that raised $100,000 in new revenue lost the same amount from existing donors. This was an average of all nonprofits, with larger organizations making some gains, and smaller organizations actually losing ground. To view the report, click on the link.


Fiscal Oversight: The Importance of Annual Audits

This morning when I opened my email, I found two articles in Philanthropy Today about nonprofit employees being found guilty of embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from their organizations.  I have read dozens of similar stories over the past few months, and every time I do, I cringe and shake my head.

Speak in a Language They Can Understand

Back in the late 1990’s, I worked for a major movie rental company based in Oregon.  Many of the people I worked with were moviephiles, and they would recommend movies that they thought I would like.  Some of the more pretentious coworkers would suggest a foreign title, and on occasion, I would check out some of those movies.

What Development Departments (and Boards) Can Learn from “How I Met Your Mother”

I was a late comer when it comes to “How I Met Your Mother”, but now I watch it in syndication.  If you don’t watch the show, it is about a group of five friends in New York City.  The protagonist, Ted Moseby, is telling his children about how he met their mother, but the story goes on and on, much to the children’s chagrin.

Giving Credit to those who Influenced Me the Most

As I write this, my parents are celebrating their 55th anniversary.  Five years ago, I was back home celebrating their 50th with family and friends at a big event, and I wish I were back to help them celebrate this momentous and rare occasion.  I owe so much to my parents for making me who I am, and I can’t thank them enough.