Nonprofit Radio Show: Sunshine for Small Nonprofits

One of the gifts of a new year is the opportunity to think about what brings us joy. I look forward to most Fridays when Sarah Brooks and I meet over Zoom to record another episode of the Nonprofit Radio Show. Just before the holidays, we shared our thoughts on how to KonMari your nonprofit (tip of the hat to Marie Kondo and her show on Netflix), and we just released Episode 42 entitled “Breaking the Rules.” 

Many of you follow me and this blog because you are interested in adult learning. Others know me from my work leading training and discussions on nonprofit topics. The Nonprofit Radio Show combines both these passions to deliver a resource for rural and small nonprofit leaders who can’t easily access existing workshops or networks. We like to talk about sunshine because, well, Sarah experiences it in Eastern Washington, and I search for it through our many shades of Western Washington gray. We hope our conversations, based on decades of experience working within and with small, rural nonprofits, bring sunshine to the principles, strategies, and values that guide our work.
Often when we are talking about a topic, we fall back on asking about strategy. Whatever we do to raise money, engage our board, or plan for the future, it is important to have a simple strategy that aligns people and purpose. Our learning strategy with the Radio Show is this:

Lift up and celebrate the experiences and advantages of small, rural nonprofits. We talk in our sector about scaling up and building efficiencies in our impact. At the same time, small nonprofits have unique assets as communities working to strengthen community. We want to make sure our small nonprofit colleagues know they are special and see ways to lean into their strengths. We hope to illuminate ways that small nonprofits working together can be just as effective as any large nonprofit “gone to scale.”

Leverage the power of low bandwidth, portable learning. So much online learning depends on reliable high-speed internet, which isn’t a given in many rural homes. People living in rural areas often travel long distances as a regular part of their lives, giving them time in the car to learn. In naming the podcast, we imagined the old time radio shows of the past, and how people would gather around to listen and talk about what they heard. The Nonprofit Radio Show provides discussion questions for each episode to support further conversation.

Center our conversation in a few guiding principles. The body of knowledge contained within the nonprofit sector is vast. How is a volunteer executive director with a family and job expected to stay on top of trends and “best practices”? Start by letting go of the idea of “best practice” because practice exists within the context of the work. Identify a few core principles that serve as an organization’s and leader’s north star. Know your values and live them. Sarah and I named six principles that guide our conversations. As we all work through times defined by ambiguity and the unknown, what are your guiding principles?

Sarah and I warmly invite you to subscribe however you listen to podcasts. Please share the podcast with anyone you know who might be interested. Invite us to your next conference– we love doing live shows! I’ve listed some of our most popular conversations below to help you take a listen to a topic of interest to you.

Recent episodesConversations with guests
Here we go again: Ideas for dealing with burnout
What and how: The difference matters
All things databases
Useful free or low cost resources for nonprofits
Create a culture that people want to be a part of
Fundraising metrics for every small nonprofit
Purposeful gathering
Advocacy: Your voice a little louder
Centering equity (Qallaq Tara Ramos)
Program evaluation (Chari Smith)
Make the most of social media (Tom Lang)
Your website is your front door (Meps Schulte)
Smart HR in small nonprofits (Skye Mercer)
“I’m sitting here stuffing envelopes for our year-end targeted mailing. Your episode on year-end giving inspired an idea that will work really well for our organization. Your advice is always spot on as it is grounded in years of experience. Thanks for sharing your knowledge, ideas, and warmth with the nonprofit world and for putting some sunshine in my day. I want you to know that I appreciate you all at Nonprofit Radio Show!       Shannon Koller, WithinReach

As you move deeper into your 2022, let me quote our closing line on the Nonprofit Radio Show. You got this! 

Published by Nancy

I work at the intersection of learning, nonprofits, and leadership. I am a teacher, instructional designer, and nonprofit person who has worn every hat possible. I regular write, speak, and consult on learning strategy, design, and leadership.

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