Bonus Episode: Small But Mighty Nonprofits (with Laura Zielke)

nonprofits are messy

Most folks are utterly clueless about the size and scope of the nonprofit sector. In fact it’s not really thought of as a sector. The 2019 report by the Center for Civil Society Studies at Johns Hopkins University reports nonprofits account for roughly one in 10 jobs in the U.S.! 

Remember this includes churches, synagogues homeless shelters, community centers, organizations that advocate for those for whom the playing field is not level. 

Our guest today is Laura Zielke who knows quite a lot about small and mighty nonprofits. As Director of Member Experience for the Nonprofit Leadership Lab, Laura is daily supporting hundreds of founders, executive directors, board members, and senior staff of small to midsize nonprofits worldwide. She shares her perception of their superpowers and kryptonite.

About Laura Zielke:

Laura Zielke is the Director of Member Experience for the Nonprofit Leadership Lab, a membership site specifically designed for Executive Directors, CEOs, Development Directors, Founders, Board Officers, and other senior staff of not-for-profit organizations worldwide. 

Laura is a successful entrepreneur and fierce advocate for small nonprofit organizations. Throughout her adult life, she has volunteered at a variety of nonprofits donating website design/administration, marketing strategy, and communications consultation. For more than 20 years, Laura has worked with for-profit and nonprofit leaders to clarify their message and spread the word about their businesses/organizations both in print and online. Although she has served on nonprofit boards, Laura’s true passion is supporting, encouraging, and caring for leaders of small (but mighty!) nonprofits on a daily basis in the Nonprofit Leadership Lab.

Laura works closely with Joan Garry, the Lab’s founder, to ensure members have regular access to experts in the sector and top-quality training resources—both of which are crucial for leading organizations from messy to thriving. She has privately coached a number of members through tense transitions, sticky situations, and unexpected challenges.

In this podcast

  • Jaw-dropping statistics about the nonprofit sector
  • What are the superpowers of small nonprofits?
  • How does proximity give smaller nonprofits an edge in crisis management?
  • Are close relationships in small nonprofits more of a superpower or kryptonite?
  • How does board member experience factor into the success of a nonprofit? 
  • What does it take to move the mission forward? 
  • What are the vulnerabilities of leaders of small nonprofits? 
  • What are some of the challenges that a smaller organization simply is not equipped to handle? 
  • How does learning what you don’t know and gaining the support of peers transform not only the leader but their organization? 
  • Finding community
  • What does nimbleness have to do with it? 
  • How burnout and loneliness can be kryptonite
  • Lack of money, need for control, misinformation and other stumbling blocks