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The Nonprofit Learning Test Kitchen

We have some new projects brewing at the back of our stove. Our test kitchen is humming with activity as learning experts and technologists come together to try and find new ways to help nonprofit people do what they need to do. I thought that I would take a moment to let you know someContinue reading “The Nonprofit Learning Test Kitchen”

I got your back.

Robbie Kellman Baxter, in her book The Forever Transaction, poses an interesting question to organizations and associations: what is your forever promise? Think about the people you serve, whether they are clients, partners, members, or people in your community who care about your mission. What is your commitment to them? In other words, if theyContinue reading “I got your back.”

What’s the hard work? Focus on that.

I started work on a new curriculum development project last week. This one is about human trafficking and sexual exploitation—pretty heavy stuff. Our goal is to make sure the staff and partners of this global organization protect vulnerable people. Difficult topic, but at the end of the day, this is a classic outcome-based curriculum. WeContinue reading “What’s the hard work? Focus on that.”

One year in: Reflections

I have officially been working as a consultant for one year. It was not my original plan to start a new consulting practice at the start of a global pandemic. Like the strategic plans of most nonprofits I know, my crisply crafted business plan of February 2020 became scrap paper by, well, March 2020. Nevertheless,Continue reading “One year in: Reflections”

Tools to plan for that next disaster

In April 2021, my colleague Margaret Meps Schulte and I released a new nonprofit resource: Disaster Planning for Nonprofits. Sponsored in Washington State by the Non Profit Insurance Program (NPIP), Disaster Planning outlines what nonprofit people need to know to get ready for the next wildfire, earthquake, tsunami, or whatever may be coming your way.Continue reading “Tools to plan for that next disaster”

Behavioral science: Another set of tools to draw on

Kristine Scott runs Seattle Conflict Resolution. She is focused on how to reduce conflict through a proven non-violent response that works with even the most hostile people. Kristine reduces violence through a robust training program, and she wants to make sure her trainings are effective over time. Recently Kristine shared a challenge with me. AfterContinue reading “Behavioral science: Another set of tools to draw on”

The hard questions a strategy answers

Who has time for a strategy? We are so busy working, pushing out programs, or delivering on our mission. A strategy of any kind is a luxury that we just don’t have energy for now. And what is a strategy anyway? It feels so academic at a time when we are scrambling inside a realityContinue reading “The hard questions a strategy answers”

Online planning: How to engage your whole board when you have to meet online

Sarah Brooks and I co-host the Nonprofit Radio Show, a podcast centered on the topics that matter most to small, rural nonprofits. In early February 2021, we shared an episode on Purposeful Gatherings, a topic that is particularly relevant to nonprofit leaders as they try to make progress in online meetings. This episode led aContinue reading “Online planning: How to engage your whole board when you have to meet online”

Line of conference chairs

3 Ways to Deliver a Learningful Conference

Conference season is about to be upon us again. Associations are busy testing platforms and scheduling speakers. They are devising ways to create connection, whether through an opening day t-shirt contest, care packages of tea and goodies, or that avatar thing where you literally bump into people in a virtual world. People who play videoContinue reading “3 Ways to Deliver a Learningful Conference”

Reinvent the wheel

How unfortunate we see the wheel as our symbol of sticking with the status quo. The wheel has been at the center of innovation gobs of times since first appearing as a potter’s tool in 3500 B.C.E. Its purpose, construction, and cultural relevance has evolved in ways that have fundamentally changed the wheel and theContinue reading “Reinvent the wheel”

What? How? Why it matters.

I recently joined a webinar on an important topic and found myself talking out loud to the very able presenter, who couldn’t hear a word I was saying because of the universal mute button. “Stop telling me what to do,” I said. “This is difficult stuff you are leading us through. Tell us how toContinue reading “What? How? Why it matters.”

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