Tools for Culture Building: The Case for Support

Image by Patricia Prudente on Unsplash

Recently, I attended an event celebrating my friend Michelle’s 10th anniversary as the development director of Legal Voice, an extraordinary women’s rights advocacy organization. Let’s just say they’re super busy these days with no shortage of alarming issues to respond to. But, as their Executive Director made clear right from hello, everything they do is … read more of Tools for Culture Building: The Case for Support.

Putting Values to Work

When you’re spending a Saturday afternoon, a sunny one, away from family, in a “retreat space,” seated on a plastic folding chair eating Costco snacks, talking about values, it begs a few questions: What are values? Can we go home? What do values have to do with making this an effective social change organization? How … read more of Putting Values to Work.

The Lessons of Burnout

Why do you show up as you do? Why do you engage others to give, volunteer, and lead to make something in your community better? What were the watershed experiences which made that essential to your character? For me, it was bullying. I was always the tallest in my class at Highland Oaks Elementary, hence … read more of The Lessons of Burnout.

The Pitfalls of Choosing Your Organization’s CRM

Donor records are your organization’s relationship institutional memory. When it comes to data systems, I run across two kinds of situations a lot. One is the established community institution with the expensive Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool — like Raiser’s Edge — that has never bothered to maintain its donor records, let alone taken advantage … read more of The Pitfalls of Choosing Your Organization’s CRM.

Choice, Voice, Power, Control: The Power of Vision

Thanks to the wisdom and compassion of Melinda Gates, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has taken a powerful stand for gender equality, making it the centerpiece of their vast global health and development initiatives. This spring, the Foundation unveiled its strategy statement and white paper on gender equality. Acknowledging missed opportunities and harm done … read more of Choice, Voice, Power, Control: The Power of Vision.

Hiring a Consultant

Beware the consultant with all the answers. Beware the consultant who agrees with everything you say. Look for someone who helps you explore your assumptions, what you are seeking, and why. For instance, if you want to raise more money, what will that mean? If you need a strategic plan, what will that plan result … read more of Hiring a Consultant.

The Initial Consult

“We need to [insert the what] in six months.” Raise revenue? Get people aligned and working together? Grow the organization? Hire the perfect new leader? Cultivate a new partner? Whatever “the what” is, you’ve really thought about it. You may have lost sleep over it, fought with your board over it. Your conclusions may be … read more of The Initial Consult.

The Listening Difference

To blather on smartly is human; to listen is humane. When people think of hiring a consultant, they imagine paying for a smart person to get instant answers. Consultants are not cheap, so what could be wrong with that? When I was a “baby consultant,” I thought of myself as an answer vending machine — … read more of The Listening Difference.