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10 Best and (Almost) Free Tools to Create Mind Maps for Your Nonprofit

A mind map is a visual representation of keynote thoughts centered around the main idea. It helps us stay organized in the informational chaos.


Operations Professionals, You Are Awesome AF!

Last week, I sat down with a public notary to sign some papers to open new bank accounts for partner organizations in Rainier Valley Corps’s operations support program, where we handle the back-office tasks for partner orgs so they can focus on delivering vital programs and services. We were on a time crunch, and our bank’s new rules required signatories be notarized, which has been a huge hassle. It took days of RVC’s Operations Support Program Manager, Kristine, and me running around, sending endless emails, and strategically deploying chocolate: “So ... maybe this half-eaten bar of Theo sea salt almond 70% cacao might convince you shave a day or two off the paperwork turnaround time, wink ...”

In the middle of all this paperwork and failed attempts at bribery, I realized that we really do not appreciate our operations staff as much as we should.


3 Reasons Your Nonprofit Should Invest in Professional Development

Does your nonprofit support staff through continuing education? Do you even have a line item in your budget for professional development? Or are you asking yourself, “What does ‘professional development’ even mean, anyway?”


New Bridgespan Group Study on Nonprofit Founder Transitions Counters Conventional Wisdom That “Clean Break” Is Best

Is a clean break really the best way to ensure a successful nonprofit founder succession? While conventional wisdom suggests that it is, new research from The Bridgespan Group finds that the answer is often no. 


A Call to Inaction: Nonprofits, Give Your Staff a Break

Hi everyone. Once a while, I do a call to action. For example, if you haven’t written a review of a foundation on Grant Advisor lately, or encourage your grantees to do so, please do it! Grant Advisor is like a Yelp for foundations, and everyone who writes a review gets a basket of gluten-free mini muffins*! (*By gluten-free mini muffins, I mean the joy of advancing our sector by increasing transparency and decreasing power imbalance).

This time, though, I am making a call to inaction. I am giving my team and myself the entire week of Christmas off. If your organization can do it, I strongly recommend you to do that as well (or some alternatives to that, as discussed below). Here are several reasons why:


Five Fails You Need to Make to Be a Strong Nonprofit

Most of us are afraid of failure.

And with good reason! Failure as a nonprofit leader can have massive repercussions, impacting the lives of thousands, if not millions, across the globe. And so we take every precaution to ensure that we don’t fail, keeping things small and avoiding risk.

But no matter how careful or how meticulous the plans, you are going to experience failure. And if you’re sitting there reading this and congratulating yourself on the fact you’ve never failed at anything, you’re doing something very, very wrong.


Hiring a Consultant? How to Be a Savvy Consumer

Do you need help?

Silly question ... who doesn’t?

As the gig economy expands, many nonprofits and businesses are turning to consultants and contractors to help with a variety of tasks, and to supplement staff capacity.


Checklists! A Killer Time Saver

In 2007 the New Yorker magazine ran an article called “The Checklist” written by Atul Gawande. The article was about the importance of having checklists for emergency services and how these checklists have saved people’s lives over and over. I remembered that article, which I read over a decade ago now, when I was starting to write this article because it carried a real one-two punch. The tagline for the article said: “If something so simple can transform intensive care, what else can it do?”


19 Tips for Making Your Job Posting So Amazing, Unicorns Will Weep Tears of Joy

We need to talk about a serious problem that’s been ignored for a long time. No, not the lack of gel pens given out by vendors during conferences. (Seriously, vendors, get better pens! Ballpoint is so cliché!) I’m talking about job postings—they suck. They have sucked for a long time. I bet when aliens dig up remnants of the human race, they’ll encounter our job postings and go, “……” which is alien telepathic language for “these documents suck; no wonder their civilization collapsed.”

We’ve been using the same format, the same tired language, and the same archaic requirements. We need to do better.