We’ve all heard it, I’m sure. Culture eats strategy for breakfast. Right?
Whether or not you’ve heard this aphorism, I’d be willing to bet you’ve experienced it. I sure have – in different sizes and types of organizations, and in different ways within those organizations.
But never have I been more frustrated by this truth than when it relates to the lack of a culture of philanthropy in a nonprofit.Read more
Applying for grants can seem like a scary clown living under your bed. You don’t entirely understand how you were put in this situation, it can feel like there’s no one there to help you and there’s a lot of mystery to all of the logic involved. I hope to offer you some advice on how to navigate this process if you’re new to applications and if nothing else, hopefully some of this might get rid of Mr. Pennywise who’s below the mattress.Read more
“Foundations are really nothing without nonprofits," said John Fetzer from the Northwest Area Foundation at Pollen’s Sustain-A-What event. It was a good line to open with when speaking to a room full of nonprofit practitioners because who doesn’t want to feel like they matter? It definitely got tweeted out on the #sustainawhat hashtag, and set the tone for the rest of the talk – we were not gathered to be yelled at about earned income strategies or that we needed to act “more like a business.”
Because let’s face it, when people talk about nonprofit sustainability, that’s often what they are referring to – how are you going to make money that’s not a grant or donation? What is your clever strategy for monetizing your content or the populations you serve? How are you going to work in ways that make business people and lawyers feel comfortable about it?Read more
Outside a fancy lounge in downtown Minneapolis, I duck behind a marble column and change my winter boots to dress shoes. I breathe heavily, having booked it from the lightrail, and bend to notice the crack along the front of my right shoe.
I have researched the people I am about to meet inside, because that it is what fundraisers do. The people have Ivy League educations, wear neutral tones, and speak in low, even keeled voices. I prefer jewel tones, no one researched my public school education before this meeting, and my voice is a product of a confusing mix of messages about who a working class woman is to be: a fighter, strong, and also vulnerable to the whims of men around her, suddenly cut off and quiet.Read more
I think we’ve all heard it before – tell the stories of the individuals and families who your organization impacts. Stories are emotional, paint a picture, and build awareness. But when it comes down to it, why do we shy away from collecting and telling stories?Read more