What New Executive Directors Have in Common with a TV Host

Last week, I wrote a bit to encourage new executive directors, especially those following a founder. On Sunday, I read the piece in Sunday’s print Washington Post Arts & Style section on current host of The Daily Show, Trevor Noah (similar but different story by same writer, WaPost online). What jumped out were the observations and[…]

Dear Executive Director Following a Founder

At least a few times a year, I find myself saying that the hardest job in the nonprofit sector is that of the new executive director following the founder. Having been one (with only limited success), having supported some through different consulting engagements, and having worked with founders and executives at every point in the organizational life[…]

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How Many Board Committees Should We Have?

Q: How many board committees should our nonprofit have? A: As few as you need.  Lots of Executive Directors and Board Chairs make what turns out to be a burdensome mistake by setting up a traditional board structure with lots of committees. There’s Finance, Development, the Executive Committee, the Audit Committee, and Board Recruitment and Development, and[…]

Logic Model, How Do I <3 Thee?

  At least three times last week I found myself referencing the basic elements of a logic model (aka theory of change). Once, when a colleague and I were discussing what learning to assess among individual participants in community service programs. And then, when introducing our capable intern to the wild world of grant writing. What could our client[…]

On Grant Funding, Alchemy, and the Funk

Posted last week on LinkedIn: I woke up this morning worrying about the kind of funding problem that at some time or other worries all kinds of leaders involved in community building, social service, opportunity, and various kinds of world-fixing and change-making. Grant funding usually carries with it restrictions of use, of timing, of connections, of this and[…]

A Few Essential Truths About Fundraising

A few weeks back, in the late-night last hours of writing up a fundraising strategy for a client — after having gone back and forth with staff and executives, and earlier in the week with board members of another client — I posted a quick, hot note on LinkedIn: Thinking of drawing up a fresh list of really[…]

Books and Reading List for Social Enterprise Business Writing

I’m co-teaching an undergraduate English class at University of Maryland—professional writing for social entrepreneurship. My colleague and I are putting together a list of optional readings that could help students and communicators in innovative nonprofits and socially-responsible and green businesses. Have we got the right list? What are the best books for social change business[…]

Trip Report: Mississippi Delta

Last week we were in Mississippi, planning the launch of two new farming microenterprise programs and attending the second annual The Future of the Mississippi Delta conference. ChangeMatters is working hand in hand with our trusted Arizona-based partners, DRA Resources (who specialize in Federal grants, compliance, program evaluation, and business planning). This is our second[…]