As part of the martyr complex from which so many of them suffer, nonprofit leaders often think that it’s best to push themselves and their organizations harder, faster, farther. Nonprofit leaders are continually faced with new opportunities – new client populations to serve, new demands for program expansion from funders, new partnership opportunities.And while pursuing new opportunities is a critical part of becoming (and staying) a relevant, impactful social change organization, not every opportunity is the right one for you as a leader, for your staff and board, or for your mission.
The beginning of a new year is usually, for me at least, a time of mixed emotions. I’m excited about the new experiences that wait around the corner, but fearful of the unknown that also lurks there. A new year by definition brings change, and that can be exciting, but it can also be scary. But this year I feel differently. As I grow… Read more »
The fact is that a financial glass ceiling exists for nonprofits — a limit, which many nonprofits hit, where the money just won’t grow. They may have a great solution to a social problem, but they are unable to attract the money necessary to deliver on that solution. I see this all the time in my consulting practice. A nonprofit has existed at a certain budget level — let’s say $1.5 million — for years and years, and though they have big ideas for how much more they could be doing, they just can’t seem to get past that $1.5 million mark.
One of the Giving Pledge philanthropists and co-founder of Microsoft, Paul Allen, recently died. But at his death he was worth more than he was when he signed the Giving Pledge, a pledge that 186 of the wealthiest philanthropists have made to give away half of their net worth before they die.
This inspired Alana Semuels, writing in the Atlantic, to ask whether the Giving Pledge is realistic. When Allen signed the Pledge in 2010 he was worth $13.5 billion, when he died he was worth $20 billion. So despite the fact that he made many large donations to nonprofits during that time, he dramatically failed to meet his pledge.
Over the past few weeks I’ve found myself worn down by the state of our country. The divisiveness, the anger, the coming apart instead of coming together is increasingly hard to take. And I know many of you feel the same. It seems that as time marches on we increasingly find ourselves battling the differences between each other, rather than recognizing that there is… Read more »
Something pretty interesting is happening in the world of philanthropy. Anand Giridharadas, journalist and former Aspen Institute fellow, has just written a pretty major indictment of modern philanthropy in his new book, Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World. Giridharadas takes big philanthropists to task for reinforcing the social problems they claim to be solving. He’s creating lots (and lots and lots) of buzz, and adding… Read more »
The 8-hour work day is a construct. In fact, throughout history the most creative and productive among us only worked a few hours a day, as Alex Soojung-Kim Pang explains in his book Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less