Tuesday, November 20, 2007

My Research Projects at the Caster Family Center for Nonprofit Research

I've been blogging a lot about my work as a nonprofit manager, however I wanted to share about the two new exciting research projects I am conducting here at the Caster Family Center for Nonprofit Research. These projects relate to both my passion for the field and my passion for nonprofit management education. In addition, since I am a new PhD student engaging in these projects, I am learning about qualitative and quantitative research methods in real time. I report to the Director of Assessment at the School of Leadership and Education Sciences, she is a great mentor to me on both of these projects.

1. Assessment of the Nonprofit Leadership and Management Program
We are currently in the process of conducting an assessment of the Nonprofit Leadership and Masters Program. In January 2008, will be sending a survey to all alumni. We plan to use the data along with past entrance and exit surveys to create a comprehensive assessment of the program.

2 Applied Projects Assessment
Each Masters student cohort completes an approximately 75 applied projects per year in local nonprofit organizations. We are developing a protocol to assess the impact of students' applied projects in these organizations. This assessment will help us to determine ways to improve the students' and organizations' overall experiences.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Outlook & Trends in the Sector

I recently attended the San Diego Association of Nonprofits (Sandan) 1st Annual Conference. This conference was different from most because it focused on reporting about trends in the nonprofit sector, with speakers representing each subsector-- Heath, Environment, Arts, Human Services ect.

It is easy for us as nonprofit managers to get wrapped up in our programs and operations and not look at the nonprofit sector as a whole. However, Sandan's conference provided nonprofit managers in San Diego a place to learn about other subsectors and establish new networks and collaborations to address sector wide issues in San Diego.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Be my Professor

Are you a nonprofit management professor?

Would you like to live in San Diego?

Then come and be my professor! We're hiring.

I am looking for a professor who is an expert about the nonprofit sector, someone who will challenge my thinking and who will take me under their wings for the next three years. Ok, I don't have a say in the hiring process, but I thought I'd put it out there what type of professor I'm looking for :)

Mentor me in my personal research: the nonprofit congress movement, nonprofit operations, emerging leaders in the nonprofit sector, technology related professional development for nonprofit managers.

Nonprofit Sector Workforce Coalition Meeting

Right before the fire I had the opportunity to represent the Caster Family Center for Nonprofit Research at the Nonprofit Sector Workforce Coalition meeting in Los Angeles during the Independent Sector Conference.

For months I have followed the work of the coalition and wanted to be a fly on the wall at these meetings, however it was so awesome to finally be able to attend and meet all the fabulous people in the coalition!!

The Nonprofit Sector Workforce Coalition was started by American Humanics as a way to promote working in the nonprofit sector. It is membership driven (any organization is welcome to join) and since its inception has created three initiatives.

1. National Campaign for Nonprofit Careers
2. Student Debt Initiative
3. Workforce Diversity Inclusion Initiative

Notes from our meeting can be found here. I found this meeting very beneficial to attend. The coalition has already achieved great strides from passing HR 2669 which forgives student debt for those who work in the nonprofit sector 10 years or longer.

I personally joined the national campaign for nonprofit careers which may break up into two initiatives--one of recruiting people to work in the sector and the other to retain people working in the sector. I think both issues are important, however I'm leaning towards the retention issue because--how can we recruit people into the sector if we can't even get them to stay?

Friday, November 9, 2007

Red Cross is not the only one helping with this disaster.

It is happening again, just like Katrina--people are donating tons of money to the Red Cross for San Diego fire relief, however fire victims will barely see a penny of that money.

In the meantime, very small charities like mine (The Jenna Druck Foundation) are working directly with the fire victims and will continue to do so long after the Red Cross leaves. So, if you want to help out please consider donating to us and the other small charities in San Diego. Even though the disaster is over, there is much more work to be done and these families have a long road ahead.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

What will the Nonprofit Sector look like in 20 years?

A few weeks ago I had an amazing conversation with Susan Raymond of Changing our World, a Philanthropic consulting firm. My initial interaction came from hearing her speak at the Los Angeles Summit onPhilanthropy where she reported on her research about public perception of the US nonprofit sector and international philanthropy.

In our phone conversation, Susan encouraged me and the rest of the nonprofit sector to think outside the box and stop measuring the walls within the box (the sector). She urged us to stop asking uninteresting questions, and really think about how new philanthropic and venture capital efforts are redefining the sector.

For example, she told me about how Goldman Sachs issued bonds for vaccines and AIG insured the weather in Ethopia so when there is a drought, the insurance company pays farmers and less people starve. Companies are finding ways to capitalize on these social issues and aren't doing it through traditional charitable and philanthropic methods.

Although I know the nonprofit and philanthropic sector is constantly changing, this conversation made me realize how much more I need to be aware of what is happening outside our sector because it has a huge impact on how the sector will evolve. So, lets talk about social entrepreneurship, venture philanthropy, and many non-traditional income models nonprofits are choosing to stay alive. If these new revenue models don't affect us now, they certainly will in 20 years.

Susan is author of "Mapping the New World of American Philanthropy: Causes and Consequences of the Transfer of Wealth," and,"The Future of Philanthropy: Economics, Ethics, and Management."