November 8, 2020

Gone so long. But returning now.

Hello, again.

Wow. I haven’t written a Simone Uncensored Blog since August 3, 2020. 3 months ago.

But I’m back now.

First: Remember that I do publish my newsyletter monthly. Subscribe on my website. T’is a traditional newsletter – but I call it a newsyletter. Mini articles. Suggested resources. And some stuff just for fun.

Second: You can subscribe to this (mostly) weekly blog, Simone Uncensored on my website, too. Yes, separate subscriptions. Always remember that Simone Uncensored is ME…UNCENSORED. Longer articles. Really candid. Often provocative and maybe even ranting and raving about something.

I’m gonna start easy after my 3-month hiatus. I just want to share some quotations. Quotations that make me hopeful, give me strength, and some level of peace.

I think I’ve told you before that I’ve collected quotations since my high school years. Little notebooks. So many handwritten.

So here goes…In honor of of the US 2020 election and… And to remind us of how much more work there is to do.

• “Hope has two daughters, anger and courage. They are both lovely.” (Saint Augustine)

• “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” (Martin Luther King, Jr.)

• “This is the oldest story in America: the struggle to determine whether ‘we the people’ is a spirtual idea embedded in a political reality – one nation, indivisible – or merely a charade masquerading as piety and manipulated by the powerful and privileged to sustain their own way of life at the expense of others.” (Stated by Bill Moyers in June 2003. At the “Take Back America” Conference.)

And for those of us working and volunteering in the philanthropic sector: From the Greek word “philanthropia” (love of humankind). And my favorite definition of philanthropy…voluntary action for the common good. (That’s from Robert Payton, one of the early greats of philanthropy.)

• “Philanthropy is commendable, but it must not cause the philanthropists to overlook the circumstances of economic injustice that make philanthropy necessary.” (Martin Luther King, Jr.)

• “Charity is good, but supporting and creating social change are about power. Power can infuse lives with purpose and dignity. That opens up the possibility of joy. The life of the giver, as well as that of the receiver, is transformed…No matter who we are, no matter how much money we have, whatever our color, gender, age, religion, or language, we can bring change to the world around us. We can open our minds, rool up our sleeves, and reach out our hands.” (Alfre Woodard – in her preface to the book Robin Hood Was Right, 2000)

SOME WONDERFUL BOOKS TO READ…As we struggle to move forward…

Robin Hood Was Right: A Guide to Giving Your Money for Social Change (Collins, Rogers, Garner)

You Can’t Be Neutral on a Moving Train (Howard Zinn)

The Self-Made Myth (Miller and Lapham)

Make Trouble (Cecile Richards)

Between the World and Me (Ta-Nehisi Coates)

Filed under: Leadership, Stuff

August 3, 2020

Thinking about reading and writing and my frustration/anger/sadness

I’ve always been an avid reader.

When I was young (maybe 9 or 10 or so years old)…My mom kinda yelled at me: “Simone! Put the goddamn book down and go outside and play.” I think maybe I asked her if I could take the book with me. Just imagine her response.

Until my mid teens…every summer I would ride my bike to the library and take out 7 books. Get a glass of lemonade and go to the basement where there was a couch and it was cooler than outside or upstairs – and no one came downstairs to bother me. I’d read a book a day.

What was I reading for fun then? Probably lots of the same stuff I read now for fun : Romance novels but only selected romance novelists. Sci fi fantasy – but that’s new – since I was student teaching and an 8th grade student explained why sci fi was so cool. Spy, thrillers.  That’s my fun time.

What else do I read now? When I’m learning and enhancing my craft and stimulating my brain? Business books. Some of my favorite authors: Business books NOT specific to the nonprofit sector/philanthropy: Seth Godin. Jim Collins. Peter Senge. Malcolm Gladwell. Chip & Dan Heath. Peter Senge. Daniel Goleman. And and and and ….

For the nonprofit sector, I think I might require all staff to read  John Gardner’s monograph Building Community. I’d require all senior staff to add these two monographs: Ken Dayton’s Governance is Governance Is Governance and Jim Collins’ Good to Great and the Social Sectors.

So this blog is recommending just a few of the books that I’ve found most useful/helpful/special/important to me. I think all of these are particularly important to any senior professional in any field – including  the nonprofit sector – especially the CEO and CDO. If I were a CEO or CDO today, I’d insist upon a Book Club for senior staff.

By the way, none of the books recommended below focus on the nonprofit sector, governance or fundraising. But I’ve found all of these useful, helpful, still relevant, hugely meaningful…whatever…to my decades of work in the nonprofit sector.

And here’s more reading for the top-notch professionals. The non-siloed thinkers. The lifelong learners. Those who integrate various schools of thought and fight silos and use conversation as a core business practice and read across disciplines and….

The Hidden Brain: How our Unconscious Minds Elect Presidents, Control Markets, Wage Wars, and Save Our Lives, Shankar Vedantam

Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other, Sherry Turkle

Permission Marketing. The Icarus Deception. Seth Godin (And there are many more! I just picked those 2 for this moment.)

The Fifth Discipline, Peter Senge

Good to Great, Jim Collins

Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates

The Self-Made Myth: And the Truth About How Government Helps Individiuals and Businesses Succeed. Brian Miller & Mike Lapham

You Can’t Be Neutral on a Moving Train: A Personal History of Our Times, Howard Zinn

Robin Hood Was Right: A Guide to Giving Your Money For Social Change, Collins, Rogers, and Garner

And these 2 books by Mike Edwards do focus on the nonprofit sector….. Small Change: Why Business Won’t Save the World and Civil Society.

If you live in the USA, have you read any of these books? And if you live in another country, how does any of this pertain to your country? These books are about society…so they certainly do apply to the nonprofit sector, too.

  • Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America? Barbara Ehrenreich is the author. The book was published in 2001…a New York Times bestseller. And while those 19 years have certainly shown some changes and new stuff and and and… the overall story is pretty much the same…and even worse in some cases. Check out Ehrenreich’s “sequels”. Bait and Switch: The (Futile) Pursuit of the American Dream (2005). And This Land is Your Their Land (2008).
  • And here’s another useful book The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power, Joel Bakan.

Okay. I have to stop now. So many. So much.

I just get so tired of hearing so many people whining about having no time to learn more…read…visit the meaningful and learnful stuff on the Internet. Blah blah blah. If someone isn’t a lifelong learner, how can that someone be a professional?

I believe in lifelong learning – and I don’t see enough of it. I actually read a note somewhere sometime from a consultant who said… “I don’t read books anymore. I’m a consultant now. I know this stuff.” (If I could have found this person, just imagine how I might have responded!!!)

Okey dokey. Enough now.

P.S. Happy birthday and bonne anniversaire, my Tommy…

July 20, 2020

I couldn’t resist…my era…my music

Just for fun? Perhaps for beauty and remembrance and sadness and joy and….

INTRO to Majikat DVD…Earth Tour 1976… That’s Cat Stevens.

Ah the DVD intro…

Concorde is launched.

Students in Soweto, South Africa rise against Apartheid.

Cold war enters its 3rd decade…Bigger and better than ever.

Launch of jelly beans.

Jimmy Carter defeats Gerald Ford.

The internet? What? < 1,000 people enrolled

And Cat Stevens embraks on his Majikat tour….

Get the DVD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

18 months later…Cat quits the music business… And doesn’t perform again for some 30 years.

All the tapes were in files….Not to be seen until the release of Majikat in  2004.

I listen over and over and over to Majikat.

This is so marvelous. Cat Steven was so marvelous. And Yusuf Islam is with us again. Thank you and peace.

P.S. Have you ever heard Peace Train? Or how abour Fathers and Sons?

Filed under: Just for fun

July 13, 2020

AFP Global Town Hall about racism…And my resulting article

On June 15, 2020, AFP Global town hall: Anti-Racism, Inclusion and Fundraising. Speakers were: Marco A. Corona. Michelle T. Edgerton. Kishana Palmer. Ken Miller. And me, too.

I then translated my oral remarks into an article.

Here’s just the start of my remarks and the article…. Check with Bloomerang to see if they published the whole article.

My name is Simone Joyaux. I’m a white, heterosexual, well-educated, affluent woman. HUGE unearned privilege. Except for being female…I’m here today in great anger and sadness … which I’m having trouble managing even though I’m white.I begin by thanking Papa Georges. Even as a child, I knew that different was cool, even if it hurts sometimes. I’m here at this town hall to pose questions. Questions to……..

Filed under: Social Commentary

July 1, 2020

Wandering thru my office shelves

…Where there are funny birthday cards.

Mostly from my sister whose name starts with an “A”. She’s one of the twins. Shit. Twins. My mom’s last pregnancy was twins. And I’m the eldest. Just plain wow!

Anyway, birthday card sister finds the coolest birthday cards….

A cat on the front. Top line: Happy Birthday or Whatever. Next line says: Now make yourself useful and feed me.

Pancakes with a birthday candle on the front. Top line: Ooh, it’s your birthday. Inside of the card says: Big deal. I’ve had plenty of birthdays.

Sketch of an older woman with glasses, skinny tights, and high heels. Text on the front: I have just one word of advice as these birthdays keep pilin’ up on ya’, honey… Inside says: Moisturize.

Another sister. (Remember, I’m the eldest of 6!!!) Another cat sketch on the front. Top ine says: Don’t worry just because it’s your BIRTHDAY and I’m YOUNGER than you! Who cares? I guess what I’m trying to say is… And inside the card says: Nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah.

And one last card from that youngest… On the front: Legs of a mom and a dad. Little short girl with a cowboy hat, a purse, and a balloon. Top line: She didn’t really care what she got for her birthday… Bottom lin below all the feet: …As long as it was a unicorn names princess, with a speckled coat and a braided mane.

Filed under: Just for fun

June 15, 2020

I’m too angry & frustrated. So here’s another thought…

I’m just too angry and frustrated. And this is about boards and bosses and ignorance and… [But there is a P.S. at the bottom about recent happenings in this racist US of A.]

Me (and you) are righteously angry towards board members and bosses who think they know more about fundraising than the fundraising staff. You and I are often appropriately angry towards board members who pay attention to body of knowledge and research expressed by lawyers and accountants and doctors and… But ignore and insult and trespass against resesarch and body of knowledge from fundraisers.

I’ve ranted about this forever and ever and over and over…

But here’s a new thought. A more gracious perspective. I don’t always have to be so angry!!! So here goes. What do you think?

We have to get across to all staff and all board members — everyone in every single nonprofit around the world — that a competent nonprofit organization does NOT need fundraising IDEAS.

Like any profession and professional, there’s academic and practitioner research and multiple bodies of knowledge about what/why/how to do fundraising. Fundraisers don’t seek new ideas. Like any competent professional, fundraisers read and study and learn. Fundraisers are lifelong learners following the international leaders in the field…reading the research. Etc. etc. blah blah blah.

I think that board members (and often bosses, too) are trying to help those poor fundraisers by coming up with new ideas. But why? What’s that about? These bosses and board members don’t suggest ideas to accountants, lawyers, medical doctors, road construction workers, house builders…

Hell…I wouldn’t even offer ideas to tech experts and guitar players or my hair dresser or …. I figure they all studied. Read the research. Followed highly knowledgeable practitioners and researchers. Practiced and learned more!

I think some board members, donors, bosses, whomever… are trying to help by suggesting ideas. Bless their hearts. Bless their hearts? I actually thought that was meant graciously. Until a Southern friend of mind explained to me: “Bless your heart” is actually not a compliment. It’s more like “what the hell you moron?!” (I can’t remember where I read this moron statement. But it sure is cool.)

Where does this not-so-good helping hand come from? Why don’t board members, bosses, whomever realize that fundraising (and governance and management and…) are actually professions with bodies of knowledge. WTF?

I think there’s a whole lot of disrespect for the nonprofit sector. Let’s be honest. If any of us could have gotten a job in a for-profit … you know, a “real job”…we wouldn’t be working in the nonprofit sector. (Surely you’ve experienced that snide reference sometime in your life.)

So the BIG BIG message that we have to get out there to our bosses and board members and and and … The nonprofit sector is different than the for-profit sector. And also similar in some ways. And professionals in the nonprofit sector know the distinctions and similarities.

  • There is a body of knowledge in fundraising and donor-centered communications. Financing is different. Measures are different. (Just read Jim Collins’ monograph Good to Great and the Social Sectors.)
  • Asking for gifts is not totally like selling. And your fundraising staff darn well better start learning about philanthropic psychology.
  • Without a culture of philanthropy, that nonprofit won’t thrive. It’s like Peter Drucker kept trying to teach us all [for-profits and nonprofits]: organizational culture will eat strategy for breakfast, lunch, and probably dinner too.

So back to the very big message that nonprofits and competent fundraisers and top-notch nonprofit leaders must must get out to their board members and others:

  • Fundraising is NOT NOT NOT about coming up with ideas.
  • Fundraising is about learning the body of knowledge…following the research…building the capacity and competency of the nonprofit and its employees and volunteer, including board members.

Thank you kind board members and bosses….The best fundraisers do not need ideas. The best fundraising programs aren’t looking for ideas. Follow the research. Now. Just do it. 

Hire well. And let the top-notch fundraisers do their work. Thank you!

P.S. I wrote this Simone Uncensored blog before George Floyd and yet another need to say that Black Lives Matter. I can’t even write about this “fucking country” although I’ve tweeted some. And unless you really know me and what I’ve done over the decades — not just writing but acting out — don’t you dare tarnish so many of us who you claim aren’t doing enough.

June 6, 2020

Just wandering around in my head…memories…

The other day, I was talking with a woman who had worked with Lee Weiner.

One of my heroes…a member of the Chicago Seven. Do you know them? Abbie Hofman. Jerry Rubin. David Dellinger. Tom Hayden. Rennie Davis. John Roines. And Lee Weiner.

Another star story of USA history:  The Chicago Seven were charged by the federal government with conspiracy, inciting to riot, and a whole bunch of bullshit because of their stance against the Vietnam War. Bobby Seale was one of the original…Chicago Eight. But then his trial was separated from the others – so there were only the Chicago Seven.

Later, Bobby and Huey Newton co-founded the Black Panther Party. Have you read the Ten Point platform for the Black Panther Party? Anything you’re curious about? Anything you disagree with? Why?

  1. We Want Freedom. We Want Power To Determine The Destiny Of Our Black Community.
  2. We Want Full Employment For Our People.
  3. We Want An End To The Robbery By The Capitalists Of Our Black Community.
  4. We Want Decent Housing Fit For The Shelter Of Human Beings.
  5. We Want Education For Our People That Exposes The True Nature Of This Decadent American Society. We Want Education That Teaches Us Our True History And Our Role In The Present-Day Society.
  6. We Want All Black Men To Be Exempt From Military Service.
  7. We Want An Immediate End To Police Brutality And Murder Of Black People.
  8. We Want Freedom For All Black Men Held In Federal, State, County And City Prisons And Jails.
  9. We Want All Black People When Brought To Trial To Be Tried In Court By A Jury Of Their Peer Group Or People From Their Black Communities, As Defined By The Constitution Of The United States.
  10. We Want Land, Bread, Housing, Education, Clothing, Justice And Peace.

But back to the Chicago Seven. Do you know about the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago? The protest activity then? Rallies. Demonstrations. Marches. Attempted marches. Anti-war groups petitioned the city of Chicago for permits to march … but the city mostly said “no.” And yes… tear gas and verbal and physical confrontation and those police batons beating people and protesters retaliating and and and…

My French cousin Fabienne watched it all on TV at our home in East Lansing, Michigan. I was in summer school at MSU ... taking classes and working. My French dad kept asking “Why do you Americans think you can win in Vietnam? The French were there for 20 years and we never won.” (That’s French Indochina if you haven’t heard of that precursor to the USofA’s Vietnam war.)

In the summer of 1970, I married Bill,  who’d just returned from Nam. Ah yes, my war. I’ve written about this. Bill and I lived in Junction City, Kansas, home of the Big Red One, huge military base. Bill wasn’t out of the military yet.

With my teaching degree, I could substitute teach. That’s all I every wanted to be, you know. Teach French and English in middle school and high school. Even with my masters’ degree in 20th century French and American comparative literature…. I still just wanted to teach in middle/high school. (But how my life changed after my divorce and no teaching jobs and meeting up with the nonprofit/philanthropic sector.)

So I substitute taught a little bit in Junction City, Kansas. But only once in the military post school. Because I raised the issue of the Chicago Seven in the high school class. And said that we should always question war. And that maybe Nam hadn’t been such a good idea.

Yes, I realized the risk I was taking. But FUCK ALL AND EVERYONE! I’ll question and speak out and and and…

Thank you Chicago Seven and Eight. Thank you for questioning that war. Thank you all. I’m proud that the military post school didn’t want me there because I was questioning.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if I ended this story now? Ending with the Chicago Seven/Eight and protesting the war in Vietnam.

But that wasn’t the end of the USofA Nam story. Nor was that the end of demonstrations and the killing of demonstrators.

So here goes…More and more… Seemingly forever…

Where were you on May 4, 1970? The Kent State shootings….the May 4 massacre….the Kent State massacre.

T’was a Peace Rally on the Kent State University Green. 

I very strongly urge you to read Jill Lepore’s article in The New Yorker magazine, May 4, 2020…the 50th anniverary of that shooting: “Blood on the Green. Kent State and the war that never ended.”

Read this article as you read all the articles about George Floyd and racism and… and…. and… Right now, I’m ordering Derf Backderf’s graphic nonfiction novel, Kent State: Four Dead in Ohio.

Does anything sound familiar to you? Shooting demonstrators…Police beating and killing protestors… (However, do let’s always remember that all the police and all the National Guard don’t indiscriminately kill.) But something sure as hell is hugely fucked up in this country. And sure, perhaps other countries, too. But this one is kinda my country. So that’s what I’m writing about. My shame and sorrow and anger and on and on and on…Seemginly endless.

And how can we the USofA forget the school shootings? Doesn’t happen in other countries because there’s gun control. Honestly…WTF and don’t you dare say anything about the right to bear arms. That’s just crap. Check out this list of school shootings. Maybe this country’s goal is to partner Black Lives Matter and School Shootings. Quite a pairing, eh?

On and of course…the rights of women are basic human rights…And the USofA ranks #51 (down from #45 a couple years ago) – with the rights of women. And how about gender identity and trans and and and and ….

I give up right now. I have to stop now. My anger and sadness. My apology to all people of color. My wish for justice and speaking out.

P.S. Do you know where the word “lynch” (e.g., to lynch…lynching people) comes from? Read the appalling wikipedia history of lynching.

Filed under: Social Commentary

June 1, 2020

Just some fun and curious stuff… A break from “it all”…….

Filed under: Just for fun, Stuff

May 18, 2020

Keep learning

How about outlining a learning program for yourself? For other key staff? So much to learn. Let’s do it now.

Read SOFII, Showcase of Fundraising Innovation and Inspiration. Some of the great people of our sector…some dead…some still alive…and newbie greats, too.

Do you read The Agitator? Roger Craver is one of our greatest greats. The Agitator is daily, online, free. Read recent issues. But go back. Further back. Read years ago, too. Because there’s lots of stuff we should have already learned.

Do you read Mark Phillips? Across the water at Bluefrog?

Moceanic is an online learning program. From Sean Triner and Christiana Stergiou in Australia. And Jeff Brooks of Seattle is playing there lots and lots. Go there! Learn.

Check out the Veritus Group, Richard Perry and Jeff Schreifels. Read their Passionate Giving blog.

You do know how brilliant Canadian fundraisers are, don’t you? Check out the AFP Toronto Congress presenters…past and next up. Visit some of these greats:

  • Agents of Good: John Lepp and Jen Love. And make sure to read the StarWars series.
  • Blakely.
  • Provocateur Vitreo
May 11, 2020

Such a smart ED!!!!

During the corona virus of 2020, the ED of a client of mine decided to send a query to all his board members and staff. The ED was using some of his time to read – to learn more – to become the best ED he could be.

So he sent this email:

May I suggest a little exercise? Could you ponder the question below – and send me your answers? I will aggregate the responses and let you know what we collectively thoughts.

I believe this will shed some valuable light on what’s important – or should be – to us as we think strategically and as we nurture and expand relationships with our constituents. A future excercise would be to ask previous trustees…and gather a selected group of “other than us” to see what they think.

So here’s the question this so smart ED is sending out: “Let’s pretend our organization and its programs disappeared tonight. Tomorrow, we’re gone. What will the world / the community / individuals regret having lost?”

And where did this ED find this question? In Tom Ahern’s book What Your Donors Want. 

And what I, Simone might add? How about reframing your multi-year strategic planning — and your annual planning to start with Ahern’s question: “Let’s pretend……….”

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