Every sector is unique. Each has its own set of insider lingo and modus operandi that may seem mysterious to an outsider. The nonprofit sector is no different, which is why networking in a room of new people that have little to no familiarity with the sector can often times turn into a cemetery of lost opportunities.
Here’s the usual scenario: I strike up a conversation with someone and run through the normal course of getting-to-know you questions. And somewhere in the midst of the interrogation comes the “So, what do you do” question. I test the waters by casually responding that I work for a local nonprofit. At which point—about 85% of the time—I can see my potential peer and network slowly begin to lose interest. One last Minnesota nice rescue attempt is made with the typical follow-up, “What do you do at your nonprofit?” And by the time I get to the word “and” in Office Manager and Membership Coordinator, they’ve lost all interest. And I’ve lost my chance to potentially bounce ideas and get advice on job-related issues.Read more
by Nathan Magel
follow me on Twitter: @nathanmagel
It's the late seventies. The air is filled with Kenny Rogers' gruff warbled yarns and the punchy funks and heart-rending swoons of the Commadores. Lionel Richie (Commadores) and Rogers are plump in their respective pigeonholes. Then, in 1980, "Lady" drops. Putting country music to R&B tracks, these two hairballs found a syrupy benign, and hugely successful denominator, firmly establishing Richie as a cross-genre powerhouse and Rogers as a bellwether of 80s adult contemporary.Read more
Nothing seems to intimidate or inspire fear in more nonprofit employees than the thought of having to read their organization’s financial statements–well except for those of us who actually know how to make those numbers make sense. At last week’s Emerging Leaders Network Lunch, we—with the help of Michael Anderson from Nonprofit Assistance Fund (NAF)—turned fiscal fear into projected growth.
I started working for the Citizens League in 2008, and only a month after being hired I found out—along with the rest of our staff—that an audit done by our new accounting firm had uncovered a deficit. It showed our expenses for the year would exceed projected income. How did we stray from the shallow end to deep financial waters? As it turns out, we’d done a really good job of raising restricted funds, but had not raised enough unrestricted funds to help cover general expenses. Our new firm determined that the financial statements we were using didn’t allow us to appropriately track our restricted and unrestricted balances.Read more
The following blog is by Erin Sapp.
When Minnesota giant Best Buy moved to a results-oriented work environment (ROWE)—no specified working hours, just particular job outcomes to be achieved—the rest of the corporate world held its breath to see what would happen. Now, five years later, Best Buy enjoys high rates of productivity, retention and employee-satisfaction. Having worked for a variety of nonprofits, public and private clients as an independent contractor, my career has been focused primarily on the outcomes of my work, rather than the hours I punch on the clock. I believe that the time is ripe to explore if ROWE could work in the nonprofit sector.Read more
by Nathan Magel
follow me on Twitter @nathanmagel
I spend a lot of time in coffee shops, conference sessions, and meetings galore trying to make sense of the crazy mixed up world we live in today. What does our current milieu of threadbare budgets, frenetic innovation, and the ever clarion call for measurable results mean for the work of our organizations? A question we’re all grappling. But for a moment or two, let’s shove away from our desks, quit clinking our iPhones, and look into the future. Yes, that’s right the future. As Conan would facetiously exclaim, all the way to the year 2000.Read more