How My Garden – and Nonprofits – Thrive

Continuing The Conversation: August 2015

I discovered my third calling when I transplanted to the Hudson Valley: gardening. Teaching was my first and working with nonprofits became my second and, of course, still current. Both were very much established in my hometown, New York. Certainly there are community gardens and terrace oases in the city, but they weren’t part of […]

Are You Asking Enough Questions?

Continuing The Conversation: June 2015

I ask a lot of questions. It’s my natural mode of interaction with others. Maybe it’s the teacher in me that lingers: To ask questions as a way of gaining information and to believe – as I used to assure my students – that there’s no such thing as a stupid question. I was prompted […]

If You Got a Million Dollar Donation…

Continuing The Conversation: January 2015

Recently I found a fascinating article online I had missed about a community foundation in Elkhart, Indiana, that received a very lucrative surprise. A Hollywood producer and native son who died suddenly had included the foundation in his will, multiplying the organization’s modest assets overnight with $125 million. This nonprofit version of winning the lottery brings to mind […]

2014 Reflections: Max Out Your Fundraisers

Continuing The Conversation: December 2014

Let’s start with a disclaimer. I know every nonprofit aims to get maximum impact from every fundraiser. But here’s the reality check: too many organizations could make so much more of their fundraising efforts.  I know. As a nonprofit consultant, board member and concerned local citizen, I attend a lot of charity events. What I […]

Board Competence: Putting It All Together

Continuing The Conversation: November 2014

It’s a busy fall of workshops and conferences for me. I’ve been hearing inspiring speakers and meeting accomplished, savvy experts. I’m enjoying a season of learning and networking. About now it’s time to synthesize themes and messages for big ideas that come through. Here are some issues and aims in my sights. Raising the Board […]

Volunteering: Put Why First

Continuing The Conversation: May 2014

I often do presentations for community groups on networking and other topics that fit my expertise. Generally I’m good at estimating a presentation’s timing and flow. Rarely am I really surprised. But it happens – and it did, just recently. It started with the topic of volunteering. From my work with nonprofits, I know that […]

Making the Case for Board Education – With Heavy Hitter Help

Continuing The Conversation: April 2014

Okay, so I don’t mean to be an I-told-you-so, but I cheered at recent news that GuideStar, the respected information source on nonprofits, is collaborating with BoardSource, the expert on all things board-related, to include “essential board leadership practices” in GuideStar’s organizational profiles. Nonprofits will have the option to answer questions about their board orientation […]

Reach Out and Retain a Donor

Continuing The Conversation: January 2014

Remember that old AT&T slogan, reach out and touch someone? It’s come to mind lately as I’ve been making phone calls to donors as a board member of a Hudson Valley nonprofit. Yes, full disclosure for first-time readers: the board practices I recommend are ones I know have merit as a nonprofit strategist and from […]

Making Your Case for Support

Continuing The Conversation: November 2013

When someone you have just met responds with, “Tell me about your organization…” what do you say? Tick … tick … how do you begin? Tick … tick … is your answer clear? Is it memorable? Tick … tick … is there emotion in your words? Tick … tick … does your listener express interest […]