Search Results for: grant writing

Ep 31: Givers and Takers at Nonprofits (With Adam Grant)

nonprofits are messy

Once in awhile you read a book that really sticks with you and changes the way you think. For me, one of those was Give and Take by Adam Grant. It made me think about the kind of person I want to be in the world.

What is a giver? A taker? And how do those roles play out in a nonprofit organization…or in your life?

I had the great privilege to have New York Times bestselling author Adam Grant on the podcast to discuss these topics and more. I feel so lucky that I can share some of his insights with you through this episode.

About Adam Grant

Recognized as one of the world’s 25 most influential management thinkers and a member of Fortune’s “40 Under 40,” Adam Grant is the author of two New York Times bestselling books. Originals explores how individuals champion new ideas and leaders fight groupthink. Give and Take examines why helping others drives our success, and was named one of the best books of 2013. His third book, Option B, with Sheryl Sandberg, is on the topic of resilience and is due out in April.

Adam is the Saul P. Steinberg Professor of Management at Wharton School of Business and a professor of psychology. He has been Wharton’s top-rated professor for five straight years. Adam is a leading expert on how we can find motivation and meaning and how to live more generous and creative lives.

In this episode:

  • What does a successful “giver” look like, especially at a nonprofit?
  • How can givers avoid burnout?
  • How can givers avoid becoming a doormat?
  • How to weed out the “takers”
  • Why “matchers” are supremely critical in an organization
  • Why writing a book is rarely about the money
  • Adam’s book recommendations for the social sector
  • The importance of asking for help and the Reciprocity Ring

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Ep 134: An Alternative to Strategic Planning (with Lindsay Hoffman)

nonprofits are messyStrategic planning, as a traditional process, can be costly, stressful, and deeply draining for everyone involved … and you’re often left with a very long document that sits on a shelf – or these days, in a forgotten folder in “the cloud”.

But you want your org to succeed, so what choice do you have? Lindsay Hoffman, a nonprofit consultant whose practice combines organizational development, strategic visioning and planning, program design, and fundraising strategy, for a wide range of organizations joins us to talk about Strategic Visioning – the alternative to strategic planning.

We talk about how to think expansively so you can create a process that will be energizing, not draining, for you and your team. In fact, it will leave your organization more aligned, more ambitious, and more ready to thrive in achieving your mission.

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My Amazing Book Launch Team!

I am so grateful to the following group of wonderful nonprofit superheroes who have volunteered their time and energy to help me get my new book in front of as many nonprofit leaders as possible. I truly believe this book has the potential to help so many leaders build thriving nonprofits, all with my signature sense of humor.

A huge thank you and shout out to…

Andrea Abramowitz, Kayla Cares 4 Kids

Anna Aiken, Eden Christian Academy

Melissa Amarello, Advocates for Snake Preservation

Donna Ambrose, The Neighbors’ Place

Pam Anderson, Compacity

Christie Arlotta, Karma Cat + Zen Dog Rescue Society

J.W. Arnold, Broward Navy Days, Inc.

Jacquie Atchison, Arts Council for Monterey County

Judith Baker, From Houses to Homes-Guatemala, Inc

Felice Miller Baritz, Project Music

June Barnard, The Driskill Foundation

Pamela Beckford, United Way of Wells County

Lynnette Bengtson, Safe Hands Rescue

Robyn Wimberley Blackwell, Autism Society Acadiana

Kate Blair, Savannah/Chatham CASA

Wendy Blair, Arbor School of Central Florida

Kristen Bloom, Refugee Assistance Alliance

Kate Bousum, Child’s Voice

Karrie Brown, Family Network of Wyoming

Lynda Brown, Fuller Center Macon

Tishylinda Bunk, Global Ocean Network

Kirsten Burkhart, AIDS Resource Alliance, Inc.

Kathy Butler, Girls on the Run Piedmont

Kevin Cartee, Fellowship Camp and Conference Center

Dina Chon, The Aneurysm and AVM Foundation

Emily Cicchini, BookSpring

Kate Conrad, Community Coalition for Haiti

Carol Dale, National Flute Association

Barbara Domingue, Community Autism Resources

Jennifer Dow-Rowell, SAVE (Safe Alternatives to Violent Enviroments)

Anne Dresen, Friends of Saint Paul College Foundation

Alexandra Engelhardt, Fox Valley Special Recreation Association

Kim Eppehimer, Friendship House, Inc.

Sam Filler, New York Wine And Grape Foundation

Alice Finley, Upper Arlington Education Foundation 31-1156964

Kathy Fiscus, Sunrise Village

Kathy Flaherty, Connecticut Legal Rights Project

Karrie Fletcher, Free Mom Hugs, Inc

Greg Forrester, National VOAD

Cynthia Foster, Hillsborough Schools Foundation

Cara Gerdiman, Kids’ Harbor, Inc.

Stacey Gimbert, Friends of Homeless Animals

Melinda Giovengo, YouthCare – Seattle, WA

Jay Goldinger, Food on Foot

Juliet Gray, The Performing Arts Project

Mindy Gulden Crawford, Preservation Pennsylvania

Megan Hallahan, African Middle Eastern Leadership Institute

Laurel Hanscom, Global Footprint Network

Beth Harrington, Suicide Prevention and Crisis Service of Tompkins County

Maureen Hartin, Volunteers in Medicine – San Diego, Inc.

Trish Hegeman, Mane Stream

David Heitstuman, Sacramento LGBT Community Center

Young Lee Hertig, ISAAC Innovative Space for Asian American Christianity

Don Hirst, Chamber Music Amici

Christine Holland, Rebuilding Together Houston

Danielle Hovenga, New Hope Oklahoma

Meagan Iverson, Sunriver Music Festival

Teresa Jackson, Sharing Life Community Outreach, Inc

Jessica Johnson, SAGE

Ginger Johnson, Abigail’s Arms Cooke County Family Crisis Center

Cindy Joyce, Pillar Search & HR Consulting

Lisa Joyce, Pentacle Theatre

Liz Kanter Groskind, Mazon

Marcia Kasieta, Badger Prairie Needs Network

Lara Kehle, KidSCope

Tracy Keibler, START Senior Solutions

Amber Kelleher, United Way Retirees Association

Danielle Kempe, Get Fully Funded – Nonprofit Fundraising Solutions

Dawn Kemper, Young at Heart Senior Pet Adoptions

Laurie Kroll, Village2Village Project

Christine Lines, Holistic Centers Network

Sara Loud, Accelerated Cure Project

Larry Mabrey, Santa Cruz Shakespeare

Anna Marx, Jewish Learning Venture

April Mastroluca, ALS Association Nevada Chapter

Karen McElhaney, Center for Abuse and Rape Emergencies (C.A.R.E.)

Cory McRae, Alamo City Performing Arts

Clark Merkley, BootUp PD, Inc.

Gray Miller, Worldbuilders

Lisa Miller, Washington Student Cycling League

Gwynne Morrissey, Cutchins Programs for Children and Families

Julie Murphy, Partners for Women and Justice

Heena Musabji, Pro Bono Network

Marilyn Neece, South Asian Helpline and Referral Agency

Meredith Noble, Learn Grant Writing

Jill Orr, With Love Oregon

Tara Pacht, Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains

Natasha Paradeshi, The Landing

Constance Paras, Humane Society, Tennessee Valley

Tracy Barron Phillips, Hussey-Mayfield Memorial Public Library Foundation

Kristen Putnam-Walkerly, Putnam Consulting Group

Marguerite Pyron, Broad Reach Foundation for Youth Leaders

Marci Reed, Architects Foundation

Robin Ringland, Foundation for Academic Endeavors

KellyAnn Romanych, Veterans Legal Institute

Tanya Ryder, NAMI

John Sagos, Third Coast Baroque

Julia Salamonski, ENC, Inc Everyone Needs a Community

Jennifer Satterlee, 29:11 inc.

Pennie Saum, Brave and Unbroken Project

Claire Smallwood, SheJumps

Angela Young Smucker, Third Coast Baroque

Linda Sorensen, National Fragile X Foundation

Jeane Spada-Allgood, LEAD with Horses

Meleah Spencer, The Kitchen, Inc.

Shaney Starr, CASA of Marion County, Inc.

Cheryl Tarantino, Northeast Ohio Adoption Services

Jim Vetter, Social Emotional Learning Alliance for the United States

Cynthia Wade,

Dawn Whalen, Norfolk Foundation, Inc

Jennifer Williams, Bluebonnet Equine Humane Society

Kim Woodruff, Under One Roof

I’m exhausted working in development for organizations who don’t hire to fill in their fundraising…

I’m exhausted working in development for organizations who don’t hire to fill in their fundraising team but expect a robust individual giving, grants, and events program. I was brought in as a PT consultant to help build the individual giving program but was given a major database build, some grant writing, and organizational development work. And I’m the one whose anxious because projects are behind. Staff management is the backbone of a healthy org and I’m considering leaving nursing.

How Even Workaholic Bosses Can Promote Workplace Self Care

workplace self care

I woke up this Monday morning and thought to myself: “Awesome! I got a lot done this weekend because we didn’t have any company.

Seriously Joan?

We are now well into the first summer after a terrifying pandemic in which seeing friends and family—typically an antidote for terror—was actually risky.

Now fully vaxxed, my house on the Jersey shore has been filled with the sounds of laughter, kids splashing in the pool, sandy feet, and corn on the cob.

In fact, here’s a picture of the remaining Garry originals after a hearty 4th of July dinner:

How great to be with people again!

With this image in mind, how could not having company be something to celebrate?

Well, when you’re a workaholic, having company interferes with your weekend activities. I know many of you will actually know exactly what I mean.

After all, I coach clients all the time on how their workaholic tendencies create cultures of stress in their organizations. Say all you want about how you promote workplace self care, but if you have ever sent an email at 5:55am on a Saturday, you have obliterated your credibility on the topic.

But I also know that you are overworked and that there might be reasons why you work odd hours. That’s why I’m writing this post. (I’m also writing it to remind myself to SNAP OUT OF IT!)

I have the simplest of tricks for you to try that I learned from my nephew during our wonderful 4th of July weekend together. This quick tip will help you encourage a culture of understanding and promote self care in your workplace.

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Ep 121: Creating a 5-Star Board Retreat (with Dolph Goldenburg)

nonprofits are messyWhile I believe deeply in board retreats, I also believe they are often a big fat missed opportunity. How come? For starters, lack of clarity about the why. Lack of understanding about how outside support can help bring out the best in the group. No clear action items. And when there are action items, often the retreat ends with a list of things that should happen but no accountability mechanism for how to make them happen. Leaving you with the same retreat agenda next time around.

Struggling nonprofits rely on boards more than ever for expertise, growing reach, and influence so it’s really important to build strong boards.

Today’s guest, Dolph Goldenburg, helps do just that. He and I discuss our views on why boards matter, when to have a retreat, how retreats have gone virtual, and what it takes to make a retreat a home run.

Dolph Goldenburg has experience as a nonprofit CEO, interim CEO, he has years of fundraising experience and he has written a bunch of grants resulting in millions of dollars. His consulting practice focuses on board development, strategic planning and executive transitions.

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What If Your Board Just Disappeared?

board disappeared

I have always been a sporty person. As a kid, softball and basketball (yes, even though I stand at a towering 5 foot 2 inches tall).

In the last decade I have been more strategic. I picked up racquetball a while back – only needs two people, can play regardless of the weather and heavy cardio. Next up for me will be pickleball and platform tennis.

I do love a good sport. Great for socializing and not gonna lie. I have a competitive streak.

I’ve learned that nonprofit leaders love sports too.

And I’ve learned they have a favorite – Board Bashing!

Executive Directors consider it sport to blame the board for lots of things – not responding to emails, not reading board reports, focusing on the trees rather than the forest. And oh yes, then there is the sport of nagging board members to raise money and getting nowhere.

Executive Directors seem to really enjoy complaining about their boards. It’s like they would like the board to just go away and leave them alone.

So today, let’s play that game.

What if after a lengthy nagging session at a board meeting, your board members stood up and never returned.

Or if one day you sat at your desk and said, “I wish my board would disappear.”

And they did.

What would your E.D. life look like without a board?Continue Reading

Ep 114: What If Fundraising De-Emphasized the Donor? (with Vu Le and Michelle Muri)

nonprofits are messyThere are those who believe that the donor-centric fundraising model may be perpetuating the very inequity we seek to address in the nonprofit sector.

One such person is Vu Le, writer, speaker, and former Executive Director of Rainier Valley Corps, a nonprofit in Seattle that promotes social justice. He believes there’s a better way – community-centric fundraising.

Vu is joined on today’s podcast by Michelle Shireen Muri, strategic advisor and consulting coach who co-chairs The Council for Community-Centric Fundraising, a movement founded on the belief that fundraising should be first and foremost grounded in race, equity and social justice.

This podcast will challenge you to examine and think deeply about your relationship with donors and will define and elaborate on the principles of community-centric fundraising.

About Vu Le

Vu Le (“voo lay”) is a writer, speaker, vegan, Pisces, and was the Executive Director of Rainier Valley Corps, a nonprofit in Seattle that promotes social justice by developing leaders of color, strengthening organizations led by communities of color, and fostering collaboration between diverse communities. Known for his no-BS approach, irreverent sense of humor, and love of unicorns, Vu has been featured in dozens, if not hundreds, of his own blog posts at, formerly Vu does keynotes, panels, and other speaking gigs and can talk about a variety of subjects: funding dynamics, cultural competency, self-care, unicorns, and what Game of Thrones can teach us about the nonprofit field. Has a spouse and 2 kids. Stepped down from Rainier Valley Corps to focus on writing. Stepped down as ED in December because of burnout and desire to spend more time with family and other endeavors. Maintains an active blog at Nonprofit AF.

About Michelle Shireen Muri

Michelle Shireen Muri is a strategic advisor, collaborator, fundraiser and coach at Freedom Conspiracy, Co-Chair of The Council for Community-Centric Fundraising and host of The Ethical Rainmaker, a new podcast, coming soon!

Ignited by a beautiful volunteer experience, Michelle has crafted her career through 15 years of resource generation through social justice movements. Her successes and tenure at Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, now the largest immigrant rights org in the nation, gave her a critical lens towards fundraising and a deep love of community solidarity.

She believes there is deep power and personal healing in the work of generating resources from a values-aligned space.

Credentials: Board Member, Sexual Violence Law Center, Fellow, Sergeant Shriver National Center on Poverty Law, Washington Equal Justice Community Leadership Academy, Fellow, NYU Wagner School of Public Service Women of Color Lead The Way Fellowship

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The Key to Making a Big Decision

big decision

In my last blog post, I told you the story of an organization that decided to apply for PPP funding, secured the approval of the executive committee, and then the full board balked and insisted that the monies be returned.

Today’s blog post is an update and a diagnosis – or Joan’s game of “Coulda Woulda Shoulda”. In order to fully appreciate this diagnosis, it might be a good idea for you to have a quick read and then come back.

I’ll wait for you.

OK, glad you’re back.

I asked readers to review the situation – perhaps as a case study with your board – and to look at two pieces of the puzzle.

For sure, I was interested in folks’ observations about the decision itself – should they have applied for the funding, should they have accepted it, and now, based on board sentiment, should they have returned it?

But even more than that, I was interested in the decision making process itself. Was it spot on or should they have done something differently?

Comments on the post and emails I received were overwhelmingly in favor of accepting the money. One writer wondered why there was any fuss at all.

I actually get the fuss and believe it was a function of the decision making process.

Time for me to offer you my two cents. I’ll also tell you what this organization ultimately decided.

You may not agree. That’s why blogs invented comments. So you can tell me why I’m wrong. I hope you will.

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The Key to a Successful Performance Review Process

performance review

We all know this person. Let’s call him Jeff.

At a glance, Jeff appears to be a high performing staff member. Yes, his ego is out the wazoo (what exactly is a “wazoo?”). But he cares about his department and his own success. Jeff is super smart, maybe the smartest person in the room.

But also… Jeff is not a team player. He gets away with behavior that is intolerable by any standards because he delivers. And he does deliver. But Jeff also seems to enjoy crushing his co-workers like bugs.

So riddle me this…

Is Jeff a high performer? Without a formal and effective performance review process, how would he know? I bet he thinks he is a high performer. But truly, he is probably more trouble than he’s worth.

Maybe your nonprofit already does a performance review for each and every staff member. If so, great! But maybe you think they’re not super effective and could be handled better.

Or maybe you’re just not doing them at all for whatever reason.

Either way, I have some critical tips on how to give a performance review the right way.Continue Reading