When intuition fails

As an aspiring storyteller I love the Flannery O’Connor quote “I find everyone thinks they know what a story is until they sit down to write one.” It’s hard and there’s so much more to it than you think. And much of it is not intuitively obvious. I’ve come to realize that the same can… Read more

Data Shmata

Maybe I am the only one who feels this, but the hyper obsession with data – big, small, hairy, long-limbed – seems a bit over the top. I’ve been listening to Dan Goleman’s Primal Leadership on tape, and he raises some big questions about the limit of data-driven anything. What about intuition? What about heart?… Read more

Do you have a great relationship with your CEO or ED?

We’re about to release a study that we hope will get tongues wagging. The thesis? That in most organizations fundraising is limited more by internal structural and cultural issues than by lack of strategic or tactical know-how. Inspired by studies by the Haas Jr. Foundation,  we aim to solve this problem by helping organizations build a culture… Read more

The symptoms of “too many meetings” syndrome

Have you ever experienced “too many meetings syndrome?” The symptoms: Exhaustion due to back-to-back scheduling Straying attention span Anxiety over when you’ll get your real work done Confusion over who called this meeting and why Non profit staff are in too many meetings and it’s hurting productivity and impact. Every meeting you attend or lead… Read more

Surprise and wow

I spent the weekend at MD Anderson in Houston. My dad has cancer and my mom and I spent some sleepless hours in the waiting room while the surgeon removed his tumorous prostate and several equally tumorous lymph nodes. As she and I were on our last legs, this cheerful group of volunteers passed through… Read more

Navel Gazing and the Art of Content Creation

Navel gazing is defined as the excessive absorption in the self. Just like those people at the party who only talk about themselves, non profits are notorious navel gazers. And just like those people at the party who only talk about themselves, non profits have trouble making long-lasting friends (AKA donors). Are we truly narcissistic?… Read more

Don’t educate your donors

Don’t try to educate your donors. The refrain of “we have to educate the donors” typically comes from a perfectly reasonable but utterly flawed notion: That if you, the donor, knew what I knew, you’d care about the things I care about. So instead of caring about furry animals with big eyes, I’m going to… Read more