|Help 4 NonProfits
Building Community-Driven Organizations
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July is the start of the Monsoon
Season in our desert home - a time when we desert rats rejoice in every drop of
rain we can beg from the clouds. When the storms whip through, you can find us
on our front porches, watching the downpour, screaming, "Isn't this wonderful?"
to our neighbors, who are under their porches, watching and smiling. In
moments, the storm will pass, the sun will be out, and we will wait for the
possibility that tomorrow might just bring some more. We hope the season has
some magic for you as well, in whatever part of the globe you find
We have a lot in store for you this
month - a new article, a recorded version of last month's teleclass, and as
always, announcements of things to come.
Please read and enjoy, and pass these
items along. We know it will help you improve the quality of life in your
community. And isn't that really why we all do the work we
Organizational Sustainability: It's About More than Just "The
These days it seems every new fundraising trend is dubbed
"the road to sustainability." There is the "individual donor" movement. There
is the "entrepreneurial nonprofit" movement. And of course, the old standby -
endowments. The thing these approaches, and all the others, have in common, is
that they focus on financial sustainability, as if money were the only thing
standing between nonprofits and a sustainable future.
A funder friend, talking about the
organization Dimitri and I founded, once told us, "You couldn't kill the Diaper
Bank now if you wanted to. The community wouldn't let you." Now THAT's the
sound of real sustainability!
To What End? Introducing Community-Driven Governance
What's the point of
being accountable for the money, if your board isn't FIRST accountable for your
organization's mission? Listen to the on-demand version of our Community-Driven
Governance Class, and give your board a whole new way of looking at what it
means to be accountable.
This recorded version of our live
teleclass lets you listen at your convenience, as many times as you want. And
because half the learning in any class comes from asking questions (and hearing
what others are asking), we invite you to join the listserv discussion after
the class, to share your thoughts with others who are on the road to becoming
We were blown away by the comments of
an attendee at one of our live workshops, who called the Community-Driven model
"The wave of the future for nonprofit boards." After you've listened to our
teleclass, we think you will agree!
Hildy Tells a
As we continue to focus on sustainability, we find we are using
the Magic Matrix more and more. The reason is simple: while the Matrix takes
the guesswork out of deciding which fundraising activities to choose, it
includes "sustainability" as one of the variables in that decision.
Because the Matrix is on our minds a
lot lately, we thought we would try something new - an audio clip of a real
story, of how a real organization used the matrix, and how that changed their
board's whole approach to fundraising! You can hear that story and learn more
about the Magic Matrix here.
We still have a few copies of the PowerNotes line left. But once
that supply is gone, there will be no more.
If you aren't familiar with Power
Notes, these compact books carry one heck of a punch! From insights into
attracting and retaining employees, to insights into rural economic
development, to insights into - well - insight - the value in these
power-packed little books is incredible. And now they are all only $5.00
Quantities are limited, so check it
Thanks to inspiration from funders all over the country,
we will be launching a new e-newsletter just for funders. We are hoping to get
an issue out every few months, and it will be aptly named Help 4
The newsletter will be starting up in
the fall, so sign up now! (Sorry - subscriptions are limited to funders
A HUGE Thank
You After Our "OOPS!" Last Month
Well, we sure learned a valuable
lesson last month. Ok, we learned 2 lessons. First, check and recheck the links
when you are sending an email to thousands of people, especially if you're
tired. And second, when you mess up, take the hit - apologize and be honest. We
have to wonder how many marriages might still be functioning if folks realized
how powerful an apology can be! And that's what we found out the hard way last
month (then again, most apologies probably come the hard way, don't they?)
those who don't know what we're talking about, last month we had a bit of a
SNAFU with our newsletter. We sent the wrong one. We realized what we did after
the newsletter had already arrived in your mailboxes, and we were
horror-struck. It didn't take us long to know there was only one thing to do -
fess up, apologize, and ask for your forgiveness.
What we didn't count on,
though, was the overwhelming response to that apology! We received so many
wonderful responses that has taken us way too long to answer them all! Notes of
encouragement. Notes to pat us on the back. Notes to commiserate. One friend
referenced Hemingway; another referenced the Tylenol debacle from years ago.
Best of all, folks took the opportunity to share their own mess-ups!
gal told us about the time she forwarded a Spam solicitation to her
organization's entire mailing list. A few told us they had done the same with
A consultant friend shared this
story: "Just last week, I was preparing an email announcement to about 150
recipients. I was fooling with the HTML, getting it all up and running, when
much to my chagrin, it began processing the emails! No amount of screaming at
the computer helped! All 150 of those not-ready announcements went out in a
And so, to all who wrote words of
encouragement, thank you. If anyone ever wonders why we choose to work in this
sector, the answer is what we saw last month. The people who work and volunteer
in the nonprofit sector are compassionate, caring, and yes - they have a great
sense of humor. How else could we do the work we do every day?!
thank you, more than you can know, for showing us the very best of human
nature. You all turned a horrible day into one of the best days we will ever
remember. And how cool is that?!
Stories (And Offering a Reward!)
|How Do You Use Our Stuff?
After hearing all the stories folks
shared with us last month, we are hooked - we want to know more! And so we are
asking all of you who have used our products and our articles and our
workbooks, and all who have attended our workshops: Would you tell us your
stories about how you've used our "stuff"?
Have you used our Board Recruitment
Workbook? What parts worked well for you, and which parts did you have to
tweak? Do you have a story you can share? Perhaps a before and after?
how about the Matrix, or the Speaker Workbook, or the other items we sell at
the site? What about our articles and tips? Our teleclass, our workshops - how
have you used what we've provided? How have they worked for you? What happened?
Tell us a story!
As we rework our
website to focus entirely on the Community-Driven model, we can't imagine there
will be a single page we won't be adjusting, and we would love to add your
stories to the site.
And if we wind up using a story you
have shared, we will send you a gift certificate towards purchasing anything we
have at our site!
So tell us - how do you use what you
have received from Help 4 NonProfits & Tribes?
month, hundreds of new subscribers sign up for our e-newsletter, most of whom
learn about our site from a friend or colleague. Here's one of our favorite
comments this month:
As a consultant, I get so much
benefit out of your website and mailings! In our business, we find we are
talking and thinking about many of the same issues you write about - and wish
we had your gift of description and issue organization. Thank you! K.W.,
Chicago, IllinoisBecause board members so rarely
receive information on how to do their job better, please be sure to pass this
newsletter along to your board. Or better yet, sign them all up to receive a
copy of their own!
The August newsletter will introduce 2 new
teleclasses coming up this fall. The first will take a closer look at the
Capacity Planning aspect of the Community-Driven model. How can your
organization plan to ensure you have the capacity you need?
second teleclass will coincide with the release of our Friend-raising workbook
this fall. That class will be a hands-on look at raising real friends - not
just donors, but all kinds of friends - for your organization's
And we have a new
product we will be announcing in August as well. Like the Magic Matrix, this is
a tool that will make life easier and more productive. (And you'll find a sneak
preview of it in the article on sustainability!)
|Thank you, as
always, for the work you do to make your communities better places to live. We
wish for you all the possibilities life holds.