Thursday, December 23, 2004

Fam is all home

Everyone is home, from Ann Arbor & Seattle. While they are here, I'm offline. See you in the New Year.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

A free, online organizational self-assessment

Here's an early holiday gift....the Wilder Organizational Stewardship Self-Assessment, based on my new book Nonprofit Stewardship.

The self-assessment walks you through all the key areas necessary to make sure you are stewarding your organization's resources well, and gives you a score at the end. It's free, so give it a whirl!

Saturday, December 18, 2004

More From Max

Two other quotes to live by from Leading Without Power....

"I always remind myself that discipline among followers mirrors the discipline demonstrated by leaders."

"We need accountability - organizational and personal, to and for others - not blame. Nonprofit groups make themselves accountable to the people they serve, an obligation far beyond a corporations committment to its customers."

Read Max. He's smart....

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Some thoughts to remember...

One of my book clubs just reviewed Leading Without Power, by Max DePree. This is one of my all time favorite books on management, leadership, and relationships. In reviewing the book for the call, I was struck again by DePree's ability to encapsulate important management and nonprofit ideas. Here are a couple to chew on.

On a vital nonprofit:

"The best nonprofits begin with trust and end with a fidelity to their mission."
"Vital organizations have the innocent energy of children and the compassionate wisdom of older people."

There are so many great quotes in here, that one of the book club participants said she had designed a screensaver to scroll through the 25 or so she took from the book.

Check out the book. It's a quick read, and well worth your time.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Find a nonprofit tech group near you...

NTen again. This seems to be my week for them. NTen sponsors a number of what they call 501 tech clubs in a bunch of cities around the U.S. These clubs meet, mostly monthly, and have an email listserve about tech issues relating to nonprofits. Good stuff from peers nationwide.

Check it out. It is featured prominently on the NTen home page. There may well be a group near you. If not, keep checking back...or better yet, get in touch with NTen and see how to get one started!

Tuesday, December 14, 2004


Arnova has posted the summary points of an article entitled "More Theses on Nonprofit Organizational Effectiveness"

I read it twice and said, so? This sounds like common sense from anyone who has worked in the field for more than a year. And we had to have research to tell us this?

Don't get me wrong. I think academic research is crucial to improving the sector, justifying our work, and keeping the public and key funders engaged. But what did we learn from this? That there are no clear answers? That management and boards are important? That stakeholders should be talked to regularly.

Really. Huh. Who would have guessed?

If I'm missing something, will you tell me?

Monday, December 13, 2004

Actions over words...

I tell people all the time that what leaders say matters. What they do matters more.

Here's a very relevant joke posted on my friend Danny Mayer's blog. Cute, but pertinent.

A man was being tailgated by a stressed out woman on a busy boulevard. Suddenly the light turned yellow, just in front of him. He did the right thing, stopping at the crosswalk, even though he could have beaten the red light by accelerating through the intersection. The tailgating woman hit the roof . . . . and the horn, screaming in frustration as she missed her chance to get through the intersection. As she was still ranting & raving, she heard a tap on her window and looked up into the face of a police officer. The officer ordered her to exit her car with both hands in the air. He took her to the police station where she was searched, fingerprinted, photographed, and placed in a cell.

After a couple of hours, a policeman approached the cell and opened the door. She was escorted back to the booking area where the arresting officer was waiting with her personal effects. He said, "I'm very sorry for this mistake ma'am. You see, I pulled up behind your car while you were blowing your horn, flipping the guy off in front of you, and cussing like there was no tomorrow. I noticed the 'Choose Life' license plate holder, the 'What Would Jesus Do' bumper sticker, the 'Follow Me to Sunday School' bumper sticker, and the chrome-plated Christian fish emblem on the trunk. Naturally, I assumed you had stolen the car."

Good reminder....

Saturday, December 11, 2004

NPower is powerful

A couple of days ago, I posted about TechAtlas, a great tech planning tool for nonprofits from NPower. In doing so, it reminded me that I hadn't been to the NPower site in a while so I went back and looked through it carefully this morning.


The site really has gotten richer and deeper and wider and even more useful. If you want to make your tech more useful to your mission, you need to spend some time looking at the resources.

NPower really does help power the sector!

Friday, December 10, 2004

Have you used A9?

A9 is the relatively new search engine from Amazon. I used it about a month ago for the first time late one night in a hotel on the road, and was fascinated by how different the search results are from Google, the net standard in search.

I did a (this is embarrassing) ego search, looking for what the engine came up with for my name, one on Google one on A9. A9 found a copy of my first book, Mission-Based Management, in Chinese! Never showed on Google. A9 also has folders, files, a history that is easier to use than Google, at least for now.

Why am I posting this? Because if you are searching for funds, volunteers, methods, templates, and other stuff to use on the net, use ALL the good resources, and this looks like one of them.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Tech Planning From Gates.....

This is good. The Gates Foundation has announced a $213,ooo grant to improve NPower's online tech planning tool for nonprofits. The tool, called TechAtlas, is a great online way to plan your tech needs. I refer clients to it all the time.

Now it will be better, at least that's the plan! Thanks, Bill and Melinda!

Here's an article about the grant....

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

A great new way of thinking

I love this guy. Pierre Omidyar is already well known on th e net as the guy who thought up EBay and made it work. As he says....I love the idea of hundreds of millions of people being connected and trusting each other.

So he cashed out, went off and thought about philanthropy. The results---bottoms up philanthropy. On DonorsChoose, givers interested in helping students directly can give exactly what they want to exactly who they want--in this case teachers in a variety of US cities, where public education is chronically underfunded.
On, people with ideas, needs and resources can get matched up.

Check out the story on his ideas on giving and conversation with Omidyar in BusinessWeek , and the two sites. This is the kind of new, innovative thinking that can transform the planet. A shoutout!

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Wrong, plain wrong.

Understand, I'm a capitalist. I think capitalism is good for nonprofits. And good IN nonprofits. But on the plane home from NH, I see this in Business Week (December 6, 2004 issue, page 16)...

"1.5: The number of days a U.S. chief executive officer had to work in 2003 to earn the equivalent of a typical employee's yearly salary."

Leaves a bad taste in my mouth.