Leadership

February 13, 2017

Truth. Facts. Whatever.

Have you ever fought with your boss or board about the fundraising body of knowledge and research? Do you ever get frustrated when non-fundraisers tell you, the professional, that you’re wrong?

Your boss and board don’t do that to the accountant. Darn few people question the building contractor about the size of wall studs.

But in the nonprofit sector, opinions (especially from that really powerful board member or your boss) win too often over body of knowledge and research and expertise.

And this happens in the regular world, too. The world of climate change and evolution and….

One of my favorite articles of all times is Chris Mooney’s “The Science of Why We Don’t Believe Science.”  I know I’ve told you to read this before.

There are actually true truths in this world. And facts not opinions. Rembrandt did exist. That’s a fact. Evolution is true. It’s been proven.

We can’t disagree with these facts. We can’t claim that there are differences of opinion.

Then there are personal truths. He might believe in god. She doesn’t.

We get in big trouble by denying facts and truths. Sadly, we’re wired to do so. Just read Mooney’s article again.

If you’re a professional, then you learn the body of knowledge. You follow research. You distinguish between facts and professional opinion…facts and personal opinion… And you fight to make sure that the others learn and behave accordingly.

We’ve got lots of fighting to do, people. In the fundraising profession, in the nonprofit sector…and in our world. Don’t get confused about the distinctions. Check out this article, “Truth, truthiness, triangulation: A news literacy toolkit for a ‘post-truth’ world,” Joyce Valenza.

And here’s another thing to have at your side all the time, The Miniature Guide to Critical ThinkingIt costs $4. You can read it in 30 minutes or less. Get the whole real thing. Not just the short limited free version.

 

Filed under: Leadership, Research, Resources

February 9, 2017

Refuse to acknowledge…

Elizabeth Warren was told to be quiet. Women often are.

Boys are told not to ask questions and not to cry. Only women do that.

Sexism… Against women and, yes, against men, too.

Conscious and unconscious bias. Racism. Sexism. Homophobia. Bathroom laws. And on and on. Alive and well. And thriving now.

But we continue to deny. We continue to ignore research. We continue – as a society, as communities, as governments, as president – to acknowledge our own unearned privilege. We continue to deny all our “isms.”

“She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.” Senator Elizabeth Warren was certainly not the first – nor will she be the last.

An endless list of those fighting for basic human rights. Endless – both so sad (not enough progress) and so great (continuing to fight). Martin Luther King, Jr. Mahatma Gandhi. Black Lives Matter. Gloria Steinem. William Wilberforce. Hillary Clinton. Malala Yousafzai. Betty Friedan. Shirley Chisolm. Jessie de la Cruz. Just a few that I think of.

Feminism is not a female thing. Feminism is an equity thing. Civil rights isn’t a people of color thing. Civil rights is an equity thing. Same with homophobia and and and and and and…

I’m so tired and so sad and so angry and so disappointed. But not surprised, I guess.

Look in the mirror. Grab hold of your conscious mind. Fight to overcome your own unconscious bias. Make it conscious and fight it!

February 6, 2017

Periodic video postings

A new series… Videos that are particularly special to me. Compelling. Perhaps useful. Meaningful. Whatever.

I wept at this one. About trust and love and peace…

To help inspire you and me as we start a day, a week, a month. To help us understand the meaning of trust and its importance in life and work and fundraising and organizational development.

I weep a bit each time. As I think of the world.

Filed under: Leadership

February 1, 2017

Do you read 101fundraising?

You should. International crowdblog on fundraising.

Check out Matthew Sherrington’s “12 insights from the crystal ball: Get your fundraising ready for the future.” 

Share with your boss and your board.

I responded by saying that I particularly #6, #9, and #11. That was my feeling yesterday when I read the blog. Of course, I actually like them all.

But #6, #9, and #11 are particularly special to me. Because fundraising is not that icky thing shoved off into a corner… Fundraising is not a means to our organization’s so very important end. Fundraising – and the philanthropy it generates – is meaningful and special and essential in its own right. Fundraising – the resulting philanthropy – represent the donor’s aspirations. Your NGO is a means to fulfill that donor’s aspirations.

So read. Share. Think. And fix your organization!!

By the way, check out Monsieur Sherrington’s twitter feed… Sharing cool historical facts.

January 4, 2017

Articles of meaning

Do you know the phrase “rest and rise”? It means not responding immediately…reflecting…then proposing.

I do that with readings. So a couple months later…I’m sharing some favorites from the Nonprofit Quarterly.

Surviving the Inclusion Delusion.” So much talk about inclusion. Now read Jill Barker’s article about her son.

New Research: American Dream is Mostly a Fantasy – Class Matters More.” How many more times must we hear that the American dream doesn’t work so well. When will we every change?

Do you ever host conversations with your staff and your board about these kinds of issues? Maybe this is the way to start the new year? Reading and talking together. And exploring the implications for your beneficiaries, your cause, your fundraising, your organization, your….

Filed under: Leadership, Resources

December 5, 2016

Building the best organizations

What don’t we know?

How do we recognize that there’s stuff we don’t know — and we don’t know that we don’t know?

How do we confront that we don’t even know that we don’t know stuff?

How do we build into an NGO the concept of regularly exploring / discovering what we don’t know?

And this can happen in every or any part of our work anywhere.

[A conversation I had with Michael Campbell at HFPG‘s consultant workshop that I delivered in early December.]

November 21, 2016

More ethics in fundraising

Visit the Hartsook Centre for Sustainable Philanthropy.

Read about Ian MacQuillin‘s  “foundational theory of normative ethics” for fundraising and fundraisers.

Visit Rogare, the think tank at the Centre, to learn more about the ethical theory to support the fundraising profession.

And read the Critical Thinking blog, too.

November 14, 2016

Yes. There are ethics in fundraising.

If you’re a board member, ask if your organization subscribes to a code of ethics in fundraising. Your board should talk about the ethical code and be familiar with the general content and areas of compliance. All your staff should know, too, that your organization follows such codes.

Your fundraising staff and board fund development committee could present an annual report on your organization’s compliance with the code. (And, of course, your board should adopt the fundraising code of ethics as a policy – just like your board should adopt the Donor Bill of Rights as a policy.)

Review this Code of Ethical Standards. The code includes things like: Public trust, transparent and conflicts of interest. Solicitation and stewardship. Treatment of confidential and proprietary information. Compensation, bonuses, and finders fees.

Here are some of my favorite parts of the AFP Code of Ethical Standards for Fundraising:

#14: Ensure that contributions are used in accordance with donors’ intentions.

#16: Obtain explicit consent by donors before altering the conditions of financial transactions.

#21: Not accept compensation or enter into a contract that is based on a percentage of contributions; nor…accept finder’s fees or contingent fees.

#22: Be permitted to accept performance-based compensation, such as bonuses, only if such bonuses are in accord with prevailing practices within the..organization and are not based on a percentage of contributions.

Unethical performance harms all other NGOs and harms the nonprofit sector. Beware! Hold your own organization and its people accountable. And demand that other NGOs do the same. Call them out if need be.

October 31, 2016

Are you bored with CRQs?

I hope not. Because asking and talking and (sometimes but not always) deciding is the business of business. This is your work. And the work of your colleagues and boss and board and …

More CRQs…especially focused on boards and governance:

  1. How can we create a board environment that is hostile to apathy and the rejection of diverse opinions? (Cohort 15)
  2. How do we create a culture that allows us to question whether we’re doing governance or management at board meetings?
  3. To what degree – in what ways – might program and services be affected when a board lacks diversity? (Pleasance, Cohort 23)
  4. What are the red flags that the board needs to be aware of? (Cohort 20)
  5. How does an organization make sure that not only is the community represented in the organization’s deliberations – but that the community is actually heard? (Brenda Brown, Cohort 23)
  6. How can boards know what they don’t know? (Cohort 23)

These are the kinds of cage-rattling questions we ask in my classes at SMUMN. And these are the kinds of CRQs that we strive to begin answering. Join us. We have lots of fun and learns lots more.

October 24, 2016

More CRQs…those cage-rattling questions…

There is an infinite number of CRQs for any organization. Identifying, asking, talking, and learning together is what produces meaningful change. All this is the work of staff and board.

Is your organization using these CRQs?

  1. How do we bring people to consciousness about sensitive and potentially offensive topics? (Cohort 20)
  2. What is our role – as leaders – in the organization’s ecosystem? How can we make the greatest possible impact? (Cohort 17)
  3. How can we partner with others? (Cohort 17)
  4. What role does “experiencing life differently” play in the health and effectiveness of a corporation? (Cohort 23)

Thank you to so many cohorts at SMUMN for recognizing the value of CRQs and conversation.

Simone Joyaux, ACFRE, Adv Dip, is an internationally recognized expert in fund development, board and organizational development, strategic planning, and management.

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