Blog & Newsletter


Past newsletters

July 2020 – storytelling and “best practice”
June 2020 – focus on racial equity
May 2020 – focus on the producer role
April 2020 – focus on teaching online
March 2020 – focus on learning strategy
February 2020 – focus on instructional design

Blog

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A new model for schools that centers every child learning

We shortchange the people we serve when we work in silos. Put another way, we have infinite opportunity to solve hard problems when we draw on everything we know across any discipline. Such is the case with public schools, namely how to deliver quality education in a pandemic. We can ensure that every child learnsContinue reading “A new model for schools that centers every child learning”

A story makes meaning.

If I had a dime for every time I saw “storytelling” mentioned in a nonprofit context, I would be staycationing this summer with a white wine lawn fountain and drone-delivered truffles, and my favorite nonprofits would be returning their PPP money like Shake Shack. Suffice to say, storytelling is a common (and important) topic whenContinue reading “A story makes meaning.”

graphic of cynefin framework

Better ways to think about “best practice”

A quick Google search of “nonprofit best practice” yields collections of resources from our sector’s leading providers of quality resources. When nonprofit board chair or Executive Director calls or attends a training, they regularly ask what “best practice” is on any given topic: leadership, finance, or fundraising. These are questions worth considering, yet the answersContinue reading “Better ways to think about “best practice””

“The future is something we build in the present.”

Brazilian educator and sociologist Paulo Freire wrote in Pedagogy of Hope: “Through the process of reflection, individuals may become conscious of the realities other than the one into which they were socialized.” It takes reflection—deep, sustained, rigorous thought– to discover the myths that deceive us and that help maintain the dehumanizing structures that limit tooContinue reading ““The future is something we build in the present.””

The Producer Role: Ensuring Online Success

Imagine an in-person workshop. The speaker is setting up materials in the front of the room, organizing her props, and making sure she has her crisp opening ready to draw people into what she is planning to teach them. In the back of the room, a trusted partner is welcoming people, getting them a nameContinue reading “The Producer Role: Ensuring Online Success”

Virtual Conference Reflection: How did it go?

Colleagues across the country are thinking about converting their in-person conferences into online learning events. I offer these reflections on how we implemented this shift to help you think about how to move your conference into the virtual space. On March 16, our conference planning committee decided to pivot on how we would implement theContinue reading “Virtual Conference Reflection: How did it go?”

Why have a learning strategy

Change will come when we enlist our research-based, strategically-aligned learning resources in support of the goals we have for our organization and sector. Nonprofits are important. Their success matters to whole communities, states and even countries, yet they struggle to adapt to new needs and conditions. Something has to change. Change, namely cognitive and behaviorContinue reading “Why have a learning strategy”

What is instructional design?

Margaret Schulte and I explain instructional design in our new e-book “How to Design for Action.” We define the term in the introduction, which I share here. Since publishing the book, I turned those dress shirts into an awesome tote bag. Maybe time to re-sort the bins! My university-age daughter needed bins to transport herContinue reading “What is instructional design?”

Push less dirt, Lift more rocks

Two years ago, my family bought land north of the city. Laboring with hand tools quickly proved futile, so we acquired a tractor. The tractor’s job is to push dirt around to flatten the land for a future orchard. The challenge is that the dirt is filled with large rocks, glacial erratic boulders to be precise, so it is hard to push that dirt around. It would be a lot easier if we could grab the boulders from above and pull them up and out of the dirt.

Five Years Later: Lessons from FUN

Finance Unlocked for Nonprofits (FUN) launched five years ago this week at the Washington State Nonprofit Conference. We shared the five buckets of basic nonprofit knowledge every board members should know: how to read a Balance sheet and Income statement, the IRS Form 990, Giving, and Oversight. The buckets spell BINGO, and yes—we played. FUNContinue reading “Five Years Later: Lessons from FUN”

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