I’m so proud to have been a part of LIFT-Boston in its nascent stages. The name, logo, volunteers, and offices may have changed, but the work ethic, commitment, and community have only strengthened over time. Watch to learn more about this anti-poverty nonprofit’s model and impact.
For the nonprofit data nerd in all of us, there are many productive ways to slice and dice the data from this year’s survey. The Nonprofit Finance Fund and Bank of America surveyed more than 6000 nonprofits and derived a few key learnings. One that stood out to me:
Under these challenging [financial] conditions, many nonprofits are unable to meet growing need in their communities:
- For the first time in the five years of the survey, more than half (52%) of respondents were unable to meet demand over the last year; 54% say they won’t be able to meet demand this year.
- This represents a worrying trend; in 2009, 44% of nonprofits said they were unable to meet demand.
- Jobs (59%) and housing (51%) continue to be top concerns for those in low-income communities.
- 90% of respondents say financial conditions are as hard or harder than last year for their clients; this is actually a slight improvement from prior years’ outlook.
For me, the survey re-highlighted to (the cynic in) me how struggling nonprofits need to humble/smart enough to fold or merge. While I certainly don’t want to see their constituencies’ needs completely unaddressed, I do want to see more collaborative and stable approaches to tackling concerns like jobs and housing. Right now, segmentation is huge, creating a greater-than-necessary competition for resources, which means nobody can do their job and address needs quite as well.
I think strategic pro bono work is a hugely untapped resource for nonprofits, so I was delighted to recently learn about this tool. It’s certainly in a beta stage, but it has a lot of potential and already evident functionality.
Keynote Speaker: Youth Philanthropy Connect Conference
I’m very excited to announce that I will be the keynote speaker at
Step back into your 8-21 year old selves (probably a few different versions, I know!). What might resonate well with you on topics of VALUES, RECOGNIZING NEED, GIVING, and UNLEASHING YOUR POTENTIAL? Don’t be shy; I want to hear from you!
Looking forward to hearing your thoughts, mindsets, and ideas!
I went to an incredible risotto and wine dinner party last month prepared by chef Michelle Lawton of joyful plate. The dinner was an auction item at the West Side Campaign Against Hunger’s 2012 benefit dinner that new friend Marianne won and graciously invited me to share in. You should read more and look at the photos, especially if you’re hungry for some risotto!
Social media has chipped away at the foundation of traditional donor-engagement models. A new study highlights the realities of donor behavior and how organizations can redesign their outreach strategies to be more effective.
Fantastic article. Nonprofits and those involved with fundraising, please take the time to read and reflect on how you can reshape strategies for helping your cause.
An excerpt that I really like is the below graphic and accompanying explanation. Organizations on whole need to move towards a vortex model to maximize internal resources and outward impact, but they can’t forget the pyramid model, either.
Chris has been watching math videos (huh?!), so I tuned in for a few, including this video introducing differential equations. They’re really easy to watch, follow, and learn from, and the instructor is an absolute delight. It’s impressive to see lessons that are considered ‘upper level’ math presented with such ease and in such manageable chunks. I am sad that my last math class was 8 years ago; these mini-lessons are just enough to fill that void for awhile longer!
Even if you’re not a math person, there are videos for you! The Khan Academy is an online-based nonprofit with a mission to make quality education available to everyone. They have nearly 4,000 videos on topics from biology, to animation, to finance, to history. I love the mission and the execution; two thumbs up. Now go learn about differential equations!
“It is a community cafe of shared responsibility. One of the goals of this charitable program is to help ensure that everyone who needs a meal gets one and to raise the level of awareness about food insecurity in the country.” -Kate Antonacci, project manager of Panera Cares
Lucy Bernholz, a leading philanthropy scholar who writes one of my favorite philanthropy-related blogs, has released her fourth annual industry forecast through GrantCraft. And, for the first time, it’s free to download!
Her predictions for 2013 are intriguing; I agree with most and can’t wait to see how they play out. I really love being a part of the philanthropy sector as technology is increasing its role and the government is making it just a little bit tougher for nonprofits to be successful. There’s so much opportunity for thoughtful strategies and impact, and I am optimistic about the ability of most foundations to capitalize on this exciting time.
Applicants need to be at least 18 years of age, have a deep sense of purpose, willingness to build and maintain healthy relationships, the capacity for self-reflection and ability to trust. They must be resilient, adaptable, curious, creative and resourceful.
Mars One is not seeking specific skill sets such as medical doctors, pilots or geologists. Rather, candidates will receive a minimum of eight years extensive training while employed by Mars One. While any formal education or real-world experience can be an asset, all skills required on Mars will be learned while in training.
Resolutions: checking in and checking out (reprisal)
Here’s how this went last year.
And now, checking in on those resolutions made for 2012:
Do awesome photo projects
Started the Brooklyn Bathroom Blog and have been going on fun photo outings. Also bartered grantwriting help with a photography lesson. Definitely giving space for photography exploration, though I’d like to enjoy what I do in physical form instead of just digital, too.
Maintain strong connections with important friends and family
Very much so! I was proud of doing a better job than ever making space for people I wanted to spend more time with and spending that time in what I felt were meaningful ways. CARRY FORWARD the goal to continue this!
Continue to explore professional and personal growth opportunities
Did a lot of informational interviewing (aka chatting with people who do cool things about what they do), so that was exciting. Big victory too was developing and teaching four courses at the Brooklyn Brainery that have been successful as professional classes and also for me personally. I went to a few workshops and conferences to build professional skill sets, and jumped on various consulting opportunities that came my way. Oh, and I think getting a blogger profile with Huffington Post is a positive thing!
Function better in unplanned, last-minute scenarios or blips in plans
Yes. I like that this was a goal, and I think I overall executed. I got a bit less crazy when people were late, and went with the flow more in general. Accountability buddy Sam was a key part of this, and I hope to keep that partnership in place in the coming year.
Make this blog or another writing venture something more public, as long as I keep enjoy doing it
See two bullets up. Also, I think more people read this blog than I think, because people randomly mention a post that stood out to them in conversations. Also, on the point of “as long as I keep enjoy doing it,” I am 1) aware that this was not an example of good editing and 2) still very much enjoying writing, and have realized that I love it because I can write in the exact style I’d like and about the exact content that strikes me. For now at least, this is the primary type of writing that excites me. I will CARRY FORWARD a more polished version of this goal!
Wear makeup a little bit more, but never spend more than 120 seconds on it.
Fail. And fine with it. Though I have taken more time to put together ‘a look’, which accomplishes a similar thing.
Take more improv classes, and continue to formulate what I want to do with it as it relates to longterm goals
I took Level 3 at Magnet and was also on a team this Fall. I continued to guest on PreRecorded.com as it worked with my schedule. I think the aspects of improv that are most appealing to me are groupwork, listening skills, creativity, and sincere fun. I’d love to integrate improv that truly embodies each of those elements into my life this year. Also, I took a storytelling class this year, which was profoundly impactful both because of the people I met and the power of the craft. I want to grow stronger roots in that this year.
Become a member of a nonprofit board
Sadly, no. Silver lining #1: wouldn’t have had the fair amount of energy to give to it this year. I’m currently on my last planned year of co-chairing Young Friends of Tufts Advancement, which will hopefully free up some time for board membership. Silver lining #2: I spent a lot of time thinking about what my ideal role on a board would be, and what sort of organization that would work best at. CARRY FORWARD!
Cook more in cost effective, healthy, and fun ways
Embarrassed to say no. I think I didn’t accomplish it because I had no real driver and truly didn’t make the time for it. Chalk it up to city living?
Work on building a sustainable skillshare of some sort among friends
Didn’t end up doing, but mostly because of the wonderful community I found at the Brainery.
Get Anderson Cooper to come for dinner
Let’s just leave this one alone.
- Maintain strong connections with important friends and family
- Explore and activate professional and personal growth opportunities
- Continue writing, publicly and privately, with enjoyment and while pushing limits of what I think I can do
- Be more vulnerable
- Seek out improv and storytelling opportunities that capitalize on personal creativity and fun, or that allow for meaningful group work
- Send more snail mail to friends
- Become a member of a nonprofit board
- Travel at least once for me (and not just for four incredible weddings)
- Read books in time that is otherwise wasted online
- Exercise regularly while pushing myself a little bit harder
- Learn to fix a bike if something simple goes wrong
Cheers! Happy New Year!
My latest article on Huffington Post highlights an amazing group of bartenders making a huge impact in their local communities. It was a privilege for me to hear their stories and be able to write this piece.