Friday, December 19, 2008

What are the downsides to using social media?

I received a thoughtful e-mail from Thom Jeavons Executive Director of ARNOVA with his questions about the downsides of using social media. He, like many people, is concerned that social media provides "fragmentation and superficialization of our lives and culture."

I am an advocate of social media, however, I appreciated his correspondence because it provided me an opportunity to think about and research this topic further. There is little empirical evidence about the downsides of using social media as well as the benefits of using social media, so I decided to conduct a social experiment in order to respond to his questions in the most informed way.

First, I discussed these questions offline with my co-workers. Then I went online and twittered these questions to my online social network. I also sent an e-mail and asked all time Social Media maven-Beth Kanter to respond to these questions. Here are his questions along with the responses from my social network. How would you respond?

1. Do electronic and virtual forms of communication and discussion actually create real communities and build true social capital?
  • Mark Hager from ASU responded by saying "Yes, community, but different kind of community. Yes, social capital, with evidence that you and I connected to discuss it."He also told me about a book "The Different Drum" and the author Scott Peck's definition of community.
  • Beth Kanter said, "That's the 500 million dollar question." She told me to read Lucy Bernholz's blog and to check out Ashoka. She also told me about the MacArthur Foundation's work with Digital Media and Learning. I went to their website and saw they just released a study about teens and their use of digital media. This study shows that "America’s youth are developing important social and technical skills online — often in ways adults do not understand or value."
  • Beth also told me about how people who "meet" on twitter then decide to meet in person. That has happened to me with my Next Gen blogging friends whom I met online and then had the opportunity to blog with at the IS conference.
  • Then Michael Cayley found me on twitter. He wrote the book Social Capital Value Add.
  • I found the study: Social Capital and College Students Use of Online Social Network Sites
2. Is the cost for the speed and breadth these communications attain a likely loss in the care and depth of the communications (and relationships) that result?
  • From my personal experience this depends on the person. Beth Kanter responded by saying it depends on how people build their network.
  • A few years ago I admit I used e-mail in situations when I should have picked up the phone instead and I know other people struggle with this as well. Sometimes we need to turn off the texting or e-mail and use in person forms of communication. The key is balance and knowing what is the best method of communication for the situation. I've learned this the hard way.
  • However, there is also a cost and loss of people not being able to use social media. See Beth Kanter's post about the American Red Cross. Beth also told me about Liz Strauss's blog.
  • My colleague Lindsey McDougle told me about the study from Scientific American and how scientists are discussing the positives and downsides to social media.
3. Given that time is a finite resource, when people are spending huge amounts of their time in the “virtual world” of social networks, blogs, text messages and such, what are they giving up?

(For instance, reading substantial pieces of literature; spending time in the kinds of conversations in person with friends or colleagues that generate new depths of personal or intellectual understanding; attending an actual meeting with people where hearing tone of voice and watching body language make it possible to work through hard issues with insight and compassion.)

  • I'd like to present the argument--people can do both. Technology has given me the opportunity to be more productive during my day. I read more substantial pieces of literature online, I value substantial in person conversations with my fellow doctoral students and professors, however, I also value the conversations I have on twitter and facebook. I also wrote a paper about how blogging accelerated the careers of several emerging leaders in the sector.
  • When I posted this question on facebook, people did respond by saying when they are online they are giving up naps, face-to-face interaction, fresh air and exercise. So, people do acknowledge they are giving up something when they are online.
4. What is happening to people’s capacities for sustained attention, deep listening, and integrative understanding as our media for communication increasingly utilize forms of communications that are brief, fragmented, and often part of a multi-tasking environment?
  • Again I can only speak about my own experience on this. I love attending conferences. I can sit for hours and hours in sessions, in fact, I feel guilty if I even miss one session. I and I love the networking part of conferences. So I have a hard time when I hear skeptics say we are loosing capacity for "sustained attention and deep listening."
  • However, I am sure that some people that use technology all the time need to learn how to better engage in deep listening.
In conclusion, this social experiment shows the huge value of online social networking. I learned about a lot of studies including Wave 3 which shows the millions and millions of people that are online and participating in blogs, wikis, and online social networking. However, there is still a lot of empirical research that needs to be done on this topic, especially to explore the downsides of social media.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Are we asking too much of our Executive Directors?

Sadly, Darian Rodriguez Heyman Executive Director of the Craigslist Foundation is moving on. For those of you that don't know about the Craigslist Foundation--it is an amazing organization that "creates community in the nonprofit arena by 'helping people help', regardless of cause or sector." Craigslist Foundation serves many people entering the sector by "educating and empowering nonprofit leaders and connecting them with their peers, potential supporters and valuable industry resources." Darian has created awesome programs like their annual Nonprofit Bootcamp and spearheaded the development of an entry point website for all the resources and links in the nonprofit sector, a "craigslist for nonprofits".

I am sad about Darian leaving his position, not because Darian is one of the most amazing entrepreneurs I know (ok maybe that has a little to with it) but I am sad about his departure for another reason, because I believe the nonprofit sector expects too much of Executive Directors and causes them to leave their positions and in many cases the sector.

Let me explain:

If you look at a typical job description of an Executive Director we expect them to be visionary, strategic, the face in the community, raise a lot of money as well as manage the staff, and make sure everything is running smoothly within the organization. There are competing responsibilities of Executive Directors to be all they can be both as internal managers and external visionaries. For example Darian is an awesome entrepreneur, he is a visionary and has created amazing programs that reach thousands of people each year entering the nonprofit sector. However, he admits that he is still developing as an internal manager.

So I want to ask the question, are we asking too much of our Executive Director's to be as amazing leading the organization externally as they are managing it internally? It seems to me that is asking too much.

As a sector we should work harder to support the strengths of our Executive Directors rather than asking them to be all things to all people. One might say the solution is to train Executive Directors like Darian to be better at internal management, but I can speak from experience that is possible but difficult. For example, my strengths are in internal management and operations but it is taking years to develop my external visionary and fundraising skills. We can't expect someone to just change overnight. As a sector, we must be willing to meet our Executive Directors where they are at especially when they are superstars like Darian.

Another thing I am disappointed about is the fact that many amazing Executive Directors that leave their positions end up leaving the sector. I don't have statistics on this, but let me explain. Darian assures me that he will not leave the sector. Thank goodness. But he is leaving for six months to travel the world. I am happy for Darian and his travels but this will be six months without his voice being part of crucial conversations about the nonprofit sector. See Darian is on a variety of committees and doing work to better the nonprofit sector. He like many Executive Directors that leave their positions don't realize how important their voice is in the coalitions and committees they serve on. So they not only leave their organizations, they leave their voices out of crucial conversations in the sector. Don't get me wrong, I think turnover in some cases is healthy but not all instances.

Note: The thoughts and comments in this blog post do not reflect the thoughts of Darian nor the Craigslist Foundation in fact they do not know I am writing this post.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Top 50+ Nonprofit Academics and Researchers You Should Know and Read

One of the reasons why I love going to ARNOVA conferences each year is because I get the opportunity to meet "famous" nonprofit researchers. Well they may not be famous to the general public, however they are well known in the world of nonprofit academia and research.

Since many readers of this blog and my colleague's blog (Lindsey McDougle) are considering a career in nonprofit academia, we decided to create our own Top 50+ list of nonprofit academics whom we really respect and admire because of their research contributions to the field.

* Sal Alaimo, IUPUI (Evaluation)
* Alan R Andreasen, Georgetown University (Marketing, Nonprofit Economics)
* Helmut K. Anheier, UCLA (Nonprofit Workforce, Nonprofit Sector)
* Robert Ashcraft, Arizona State University (Nonprofit Management)
* Carol Barbeito, Consultant (Nonprofit HR)
* Jeanne Bell, CompassPoint (Nonprofit Leadership, Nonprofit Finance)
* Avner Ben-Ner, University of Minnesota (Mixed Economy and Nonprofit Organizations)
* Wolfgang Bielefeld, IUPUI (Faith Based Services, Nonprofit Management, Nonprofit Sector)
* Angela Bies, Texas A & M (Training and Organizational Development, Nonprofit Management, Capacity Building)
* Elizabeth T. Boris, Urban Institute (Nonprofit Sector, Philanthropy, Nonprofit Advocacy)
* Woods Bowman, DePaul University (Nonprofit Accountability)
* Evelyn Brody, Chicago Kent College of Law (Nonprofit Law)
* Jeff Brudney, Cleveland State University (Volunteers, Nonprofit Management)
* Dwight Burlingame, IUPUI (Philanthropy)
* Joanne Carman, University of North Carolina Charlotte (Evaluation)
* Marla Cornelius, CompassPoint (Nonprofit Leadership)
* Christopher Cornforth, Open University (Governance)
* Michael Cortez, University of Denver (Nonprofit Technology)
* Shelly Cryer, American Humanics (Nonprofit Careers, Nonprofit Leadership)
* Ray Dart, Trent University (Nonprofit Strategy and Program Effectiveness)
* Carol De Vita, Urban Institute (Nonprofit Sector, Faith Based Organizations, Capacity Building)
* Peter Dobkin Hall, Harvard University (History of the Nonprofit Sector)
* Joe Galaskiewicz, University of Arizona, (Philanthropy)
* Beth Gazley, Indiana University Bloomington (Volunteers, Service-learning)
* Kirsten Gronbjerg, Indiana University (Nonprofit Sector, Indiana Nonprofits)
* Kyle Farmbry, Rutgers University (Intersectoral Relations, Nonprofit Management)
* Kathleen Fletcher, University of San Francisco (Nonprofit Education)
* Joel Fleishman, Duke University (Nonprofit Law, Philanthropy)
* Mark Hager, Arizona State University (Nonprofit Management, Nonprofit Sector)
* John J. Havens, Boston College (Philanthropy)
* Robert D. Herman, University of Missouri, Kansas City (Governance, Organizational Behavior)
* David Horton Smith, Boston College (Grassroot Nonprofits, Deviance Studies)
* Thomas Jevons, ARNOVA (Ethics, Religious Nonprofits)
* Laura Leete, University of Oregon (Nonprofit Workforce, Nonprofit Economics)
* Pat Libby, University of San Diego (Ethics, Advocacy)
* Paul Light, New York University (Nonprofit Confidence, Nonprofit Workforce, Nonprofit Performance)
* Wes Lindahl, North Park University (Fundraising, Philanthropy)
* Roger Lohmann, West Virginia University (Nonprofit Management, Philanthropy)
* Mary McDonald, University of San Diego (Evaluation, Nonprofit Sector, Nonprofit Education)
* Nancy Macduff, Consultant (Volunteers)
* Debra Mesch, Indiana University Bloomington (Nonprofit HR, Governance, Executive Compensation)
* John McNutt, University of Delaware (Nonprofit Technology, Nonprofit Management)
* Judith Millesen, Ohio University (Nonprofit Management, Capacity Building)
* Debra Minkoff, Barnard College (Social Movements)
* Rosanne Mirabella, Seton Hall University (Nonprofit Education)
* Michael O'Neill, University of San Francisco (Nonprofit Education, Nonprofit Management, Nonprofit Sector)
* Francie Ostrower, Urban Institute (Governance)
* Laurie Paarlberg, University of North Carolina, Wilmington (Nonprofit Management)
* Tom Pollak, Urban Institute (Nonprofit Sector)
* Susan Raymond, OnPhilanthropy (Philanthropy, Civil Society)
* Kevin Rafter, James Irvine Foundation (Nonprofit Technology, GIS, California Nonprofits)
* David Renz, University of Missouri, Kansas City (Nonprofit Management, Governance, Nonprofit Performance)
* Judith R Saidel, University of Albany (Governance, Nonprofit Management)
* Lester M Salamon, John Hopkins University (Nonprofit Workforce, Nonprofit Sector)
* Gregory Saxton, SUNY Buffalo (Social Capital, Nonprofit Technology)
* Tomas Silk, Silk, Adler, Cohen (Nonprofit Law)
*Mark Schlesinger, Yale University (Ownership Related Differences in Healthcare)
* Steven Rathgeb Smith, University of Washington (Nonprofit Management, Nonprofit and Government Relations)
* Carol Silverman, University of San Francisco (Diversity, Nonprofit Sector)
* Richard Steinberg, IUPUI (Nonprofit Economics, Philanthropy)
* Mary Tschirhart, North Carolina State University (Membership)
* Eugene Tempel, Indiana University Foundation (Philanthropy)
* Burton A. Weisbrod, Northwestern University (Nonprofit Workforce, Nonprofit Economics)
* Naomi Wish, Seton Hall University (Nonprofit Education)
* David W. Young, Boston University (Nonprofit Finance)
* Dennis Young, Georgia State University (Nonprofit & Govt. Relations)

Disclaimer: We are still new to the world of nonprofit academia so there are researchers we don't know or haven't read their works yet that are not on this list. So if there is a researcher we should read their work please let us know.

We realize there isn't much diversity to this list. This will change soon because younger scholars coming into the field tend to be more diverse than older generations in nonprofit academia.

On another note, here are four more fabulous nonprofit researchers serving on my dissertation committee.
  • Chair: Robert Donmoyer, PhD, Professor of Leadership Studies and Co-Director of the Caster Family Center for Nonprofit Research at USD. He earned his PhD in Education from Stanford University and he was awarded the prestigious University professorship last year.
  • Paula Krist, PhD, Director of Assessment for the School of Leadership and Education Sciences at USD. She is formerly Director of Assessment at Central Florida University.
  • Mary McDonald, PhD, Assistant Professor of Nonprofit Leadership and Management at USD. She is our first tenure-track nonprofit faculty member and formerly Director of Research at the Johnson Center at Grand Valley State University and former Executive Director of several nonprofit organizations in Michigan.
  • Roseanne Mirabella, PhD Associate Professor at Seton Hall University. She is the top nonprofit management education researcher in the field.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Questions from a Millennial

Why is change so hard? Why do we constantly disagree about what is the best operating methods for nonprofits? Why are we complaining about how organizations are turning to new forms of earned income and new ways of operating to survive?

Some may think I’m naive and young for asking these trivial questions. I know my mentor and advisor thinks I’m too Kumbaya because I want everyone work together. I know one thing is for sure we cannot continue to focus on our individual interests and organizations without ignoring the system around us. Whether people want to admit it or not the system does affect our organizations, just like a disgruntled employee affects our organizations. And naive or not, I believe we can come together as a nonprofit sector to create social change. We need to focus on the individual, organization, and sector.

Nonprofits are creative, they are trying to find way to sustain themselves and survive. So why are we surprised these new forms of organizations are popping up? Donor and public expectations and perceptions have put too much strain on nonprofits. The systems thinking approach says if you push the system it will push back. The nonprofit sector is pushing back.

I’m really active in the Nonprofit Sector Workforce coalition, a coalition of over 75 national organization with the mission to "(a) connect talented, skilled, and diverse young people to nonprofit sector careers, and (b) help nonprofit organizations recruit, retain, and cultivate the diverse leadership they will need in the decades ahead." Right now we are working on a campaign to promote Nonprofit Sector Careers. I’m also involved with the Nonprofit Congress an initiative of the National Council of Nonprofit Associations that has the mission to bring about change in the nonprofit sector. I’m also part of the Next Generation Leadership Forum that is collecting all the nonprofit leadership research and resources in an effort to address the leadership gap in the sector. These three groups are taking a big picture approach to social change in the sector. We are addressing the challenging issues within the sector, like increasing diversity in the sector, recruiting and retain new people to work in the sector, raise public awareness of the sector and so much more.

But we are having trouble--were having trouble keeping the momentum going, keeping people’s commitment level up when they all have their own day to day jobs and organizations to focus on. Evaluations of these programs show these are important issues but we struggle with how to get our message across in a clear and concise manner. We know what the research says, we know people are crying out for change and more professionalization of the sector, but its easier to have the same conversations that to actually do the change. What if we all worked a little harder to think of the big picture? What would the nonprofit sector really look like if we could truly balance our individual and organizational interests with the interests of the nonprofit sector and truly be “nonprofit citizens”?

Pre Mid-life Crisis the Technology Divide

Next week I turn 30 and I’m having a pre mid-life crisis. As much as I enjoyed working for Aspiration (the technology) nonprofit that taught me about blogs, wikis and social media, I feel this new technology is connecting me more with millennial's and distancing me from many of my older colleagues that aren't as technology savvy.

I am constantly using new forms of technology and information. I just got a new MacBook and set up my firefox browser with awesome add ons that allow me to see my delicious bookmarks, twitter updates, facebook account, and my new favorite thing is tag and cite research through zotero without having to go to those individual sites.

I am not trying to separate myself from my non-technology savvy colleagues, but I am really enjoying social networking and staying connected to my friends and colleagues online. I don’t want to tell my colleagues you should be using these social media tools, however I wish there was some way the generations can stop our assumptions of one another and appreciate what we all bring to the table. For example, the ARNOVA keynote asked the audience what advice would you give to people in their 20’s and 30’s -- and someone said pay attention, get off your blackberry. I happened to be on my handheld at the time--live blogging and laughed out loud when I heard this (I’ve done that a lot this conference) because I thought to myself --I am paying attention its just in a different way than older generations are used too.

This also came up in another session about about creating online communities for American Humanics students, one of the presenters said that millennials need to listen to the ED's in what culture they create for the organzation and if it isn't a culture of twittering and facebooking than get used to it. A colleague of mine told me how she got frustraited because her staff member was on facebook and when she told that particular staff member to get off facebook, they replied, but I just got a new donor for the organization. We must appreciate the work that has happend before us but also realize "These times are a changing" and technology is opening up new opportunities. I like many millenials receive updates from the Chronicle of Philanthropy and other nonprofits hrough Twitter as well as updates from friends and colleagues. These forms of media are providing new opportunities for nonprofits to raise money and connect with their constituents in a new way.

Last night some ARNOVA members mostly senior leaders well known for their scholarly work engaged in several performances as a humorous and fun talent show. I particularly enjoyed Dennis Young perform Bob Dylan’s song These Times are a Changing. He was totally off key, however this song (released in 1963) is particularly important for the boomer generation and the movements that ensued in the 60’s. Then I thought about a song that really resonates with me and my generation by John Mayer, Waiting on the World to Change. Gen X and Y may not have the same type of movements that the boomers had in the 60’s but we certainly have a movement going on -- a movement of the use of technology.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Predicting the Future of the Nonprofit Sector

The Independent Sector hosted a session yesterday discussing predictions of the future of the nonprofit sector. I could not attend this session because I was also presenting at that time, however this morning I attended a great session where Gary Grobman from Indiana University of Pennsylvania presented his predictions of the nonprofit sector. Actually it was a follow up from his presentation four years ago when he made 7 specific predictions of the nonprofit sector. He expressed if these predictions came true (in parenthesis below).

2004 predictions of the nonprofit sector

1. More internal activities due to terrorism or fear of terrorism (not true)
One of these internal activities was using the web more. This prediction came true even without the fear of terrorism.

2. Demographics change (sort of true)
This includes but not limited to diversity of the workforce, less time for leisure and the aging of the workforce. We still have a ways to go with the diversity in the nonprofit sector.

3. New Technology (true)
This includes one stop centers, online education, online fundraising and online advocacy.

4. More govt regulation of nonprofits (somewhat true)
The IRS has cracked down on nonprofits, however due to the change in the senate nonprofits have become less of a focus at the senate level.

5. Government funding down and service demand up (true)

6. Donor attitude changes (true)
Donors are more involved in organizations, they have more control over the use of donations, are more results oriented, there is donor fatigue and more sophisticated asks.

7. Convergence of the sector (true)
This includes nonprofits more reliant on fee for service, generic employee responsibilities, and attitudes of governance.

Gary also added one more trend to this presentation -- the positive trend of nonprofit management education and the professionalization of the nonprofit sector.

Do you have any additional predictions to add to this list? What will the future of the nonprofit sector look like in four years, ten years or twenty years?

(References to follow -- when I receive a copy of Gary's paper)

Nonprofit Leadership revisited

I am getting cynical, it must be the jet lag.

I'm feeling like a broken record at this conference. I am raising my hand in each session to presenters saying helllo are you aware of this piece of research or that regarding nonprofit leadership and nonprofit workforce? I'm not trying to be a snooty but don't people use the internet -- google reader? There is research in the nonprofit sector not just in the academic research databases. Many argue this practitioner based research must be critically reviewed, that is true, however practitioner research cannot be ignored either.

I attended the plenary session this evening where Michael Useem author of several leadership books spoke about nonprofit leadership. At least I think he was trying to talk about nonprofit leadership--I couldn't really tell becuase he is talking about corporations and CEOs and large corporate meetings. Will someone please tell him the majority of the nonprofit sector has organizations with budgets under $500k and we don't have the same issues with leadership as corporations?

He, like many people associate leadership as something that is trait based and stems from the CEO or ED. Well in large corporations that might work, however nonprofits are crying out for something different--collective leadership or participatory leadership or leadership that involves more than a one leader solution. Not to be corney, but enough with power to the leaders, power to the people!

I am really looking forward to writing my dissertation because my research shows that nonprofit staffers want more than just technical training they want interpersonal training to lead at all levels within the organization.

While I'm ranting, my colleague (to remain nameless) said that in one session she attended people will still saying there is going to be a leadership gap in the sector--to reiterate, there is no leadership gap, it is all in our heads.

Please read the research report Next Shift: Beyond the Leadership Crisis. Boomers are not 65 yet and they don't have real retirement plans in the nonprofit sector, they are not going to leave, nor will there be so many open positions that people are predicting. People are coming into the sector in the same amount they are leaving. The younger generations are coming into the sector with excellence education and training and we are starting to address the interpersonal training needs they need to have in order to stay in the workplace.

I believe the bigger issue at stake with nonprofit leadership is for the sector to revitalize itselves like the 60's and acknowledge that in order to run an affective nonprofits one must provide support and training to nonprofit employees and support nonprofit capacity building efforts.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Keeping the Excitement Going - ARNOVA plenary

The plenary at ARNOVA sounded a lot like the plenary at IS. Everyone is excited about Obama's campaign and to leverage this excitement. Ruth McCambridge Editor of the Nonprofit Quarterly spoke about how we need to come together as a sector to address key issues like the economic crisis. She brought up a great new resource released by the Nonprofit Congress the Nonprofit Economic Vitality Center.

Someone also asked the key question about mobilizing younger people in the nonprofit sector. I am laughing because people are suggesting ways to mobilize us younger folks--no offense--but ARNOVA has a long ways to go to mobilize younger people in the sector. This was the first year ARNOVA stopped using overhead projectors and when I mentioned the word blog to the ED of ARNOVA I received a blank stare.

The younger workers are already starting to mobilize ourselves about issues important within the sector--just look on twitter and facebook see all the campaigns and causes. The problem is we are not mobalizing in the way that the older generations are used to. We can continue to mobalize through technology but we can do more by providing feedback and opinions on this new site Nonprofit Economic Vitality Site too.

Live Blogging from ARNOVA - Employee Retention in the Nonprofit Sector

I'm live blogging from ARNOVA -- the main conference for nonprofit researchers and academics. I've presented twice this morning once about the Nonprofit Congress as a new social movement and another time about the results from a study of American Humanics alumni and their career paths and their perceptions of the AH program.

I am attending a change management session right now with three great presenters. One presenter I particularly resonated with Karabi Bezboruah from University of Texas at Dallas provided results from a study about nonprofit retention. Her literature review found that nonprofits have 24 percent turnover (reference), with the highest level of turnover with lower level employees. But the highest turnover of all she explained was with child welfare organizations, they have 200 percent turnover (reference). Yikes!!

In order to address these issues with retention she proposed applying the public service motivation model (PSM) (reference). The psm model works when a leader can fit employees job with an employees intrinsic and intrinsic factors. Some of these factors include staff's position, life interests and satisfaction. This model is a really inward approach to address retention issues within nonprofit organization and in order to work needs a willingness for nonprofit leaders to explore the change management process.

I remember seeing a poster today at lunch that looked at the organizational downsides and costs to loosing employees. So, assessing employees various intrinsic and extrinsic factors sounds simple enough but has the potential to have a profound affect in saving an organization money.

*references to come follow after I receive the paper from this presenter

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

IS Conference Wrap Up: Using our voice effectively

I appreciated the opportunity voice my opinions and perspectives of the nonprofit sector during each of the IS conference sessions, however as I reflect back on these voice opportunities I am questioning if I utilized my voice in the most effective matter.

Several of the sessions I attended had so many people raising their hands that not everyone could ask their questions which caused my anxiety level to rise to the point that when the session was over I immediately went up to the speaker and blurted out what I wanted to say. This provided for some awkwardness between the speaker and I because of the intensity of the passion in which I speak about sector issues. As I discussed this passion and intensity with other next gen conference attendees, some of us wondered if the seasoned leaders were ready for what we had to say.

I know I don't have to comment on every session but I'm so passionate I'm struggling with when to speak and when I need to just shut up and listen. I know I am not alone in this, often next geners have this passion that makes us really good at what we do but at times we are difficult to work with because we don't know when to back down.

A good example of this is at one of the sessions the president of National Council de La Raza was on a panel with a particularly enthusiastic millennial Maya Enista, CEO of and said wouldn't you like a millennial like Maya work for you -- she'll certainly keep you on your toes. Yes we do keep our colleagues and bosses on their toes but the question is -- how can next geners best utilize our voice in an effective manner for change in the sector while still showing respect and appreciation for the elders that have gone before us?

During one of the next gen sessions Carolyn McAndrews of the Building Movement Project had something important to say but she was unable to be heard because the session got so wrapped up in the passionate pleas of millennial and gen xers frustrations of working with one another. Carolyn told me afterwords she wanted to say (parapharasing) that we are never going to solve the next gen issues if we continue to rant and rave about our own individual issues with one another. We must come together to address next gen issues at the sector level.

Then at a later session Trish Tchume, also of the Building Movement Project said, as next geners we often get too wrapped up in explaining next gen issues and we need to take a different approach. Let's come together as next geners and take a stance about issues that are important to the entire sector. And I'll add -- present our stance on these issues in a language and manner that seasoned leaders and the general public will understand.

I really like this solution of next geners taking a stance on sector-wide issues. I truly believe organizations like the Independent Sector's Ngen program, NP2020, YNPN, EPIP, FLIP, Council on Foundations Generational Leadership Program and other national organizations that serve the next generation should start and advocacy arm and take a stance, write opeds, present on a panels about the next generations stances on: the financial crisis, organizational and funder accountability, racial diversity, general operating support, promoting nonprofit careers, the image of nonprofits and much more.

If we do this, our cohesive next gen voices will be heard and better received than just our individual voice advocating for something in our organization. And as a result, we will improve our individual next gen issues!

Shall we start? I'd like to take a collective stance on the financial crisis, what would you like to take a stand on?

National Philanthropy Day San Diego

I'm here at National Philanthropy Day in San Diego with over 900 people in attendance. It is that time of year to recognize local philanthropists and volunteers that have impacted the San Diego nonprofit community.

I am here because my friend Emily Davis of EDA Consulting and Board Chair of YNPN San Diego sponsored a table for YNPN San Diego. One of the honorees is Target Corporation. They donate 5% of their revenues which equals out to 3 million dollars a week. Wow. Another honoree is Suzy Spafford creator of Suzy Zoo. I love her art work.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

IS Conference - Nonprofit Effectiveness

What would a nonprofit conference be without a session about nonprofit effectiveness. The panelists provided suggestions and recommendations for nonprofits to be more effective. For example, Perla Ni was there and recommended her new website as an opportunity for nonprofits to share their stories and message so donors and foundations can see their effectiveness. Sounds great. We just did this study at USD and found that the most well known nonprofits are the ones that are in the media. So nonprofits need to share their stories on to get their message heard, however many grassroots nonprofits that are doing amazing work in the sector will not be on the great nonprofits website. They are great at getting their message to constituents but they need help from foundations and the media to get their stories out to the general public and on So I urge whoever is reading this to not forget the grassroot nonprofits that are doing amazing work but not being heard on a national level.

Monday, November 10, 2008

IS Conference: Our Voices are being Heard!!

This is the first conference that I have been to that truly has an NGen voice. We are participating in sessions and speaking up about issues that are important in the sector including the work/life balance issue, creating and maintaining social movements, reaching out through social media, and so much more! And we are meeting key leaders in the NP sector -- people that are so amazing and have built the sector. Tonight IS honored Robert Greenstein, Founder and Executive Director of Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. He is responsible for creating the Earned Income Tax Credit and providing improvements to help low-income families with food stamps, TANF and more!

It is sooo much fun to hang out, live blog, and tweet with my peeps -- fellow emerging leader bloggers including:

Trista Harris -- New Voices of Philanthropy
Tera Wozinak -- Social Citizen
Rosetta Thurman -- Perspectives from the Pipleline
Katya Andresen -- Robin Hood Marketing
& my brand new friend and blogger Kathrin Ivonovic -- Diversity Projekt

Read how blogging has accelerated Trista and Rosetta's career in my paper -- Perspectives on Blogging in the Nonprofit and Philanthropic Sector.

IS Conference -- Work/Life Balance

I am starting to shift my thinking about the work/life balance issue in the sector. If you read my blog you know I tend to have a big picture approach to the sector. I believe there is a systemic problem in the sector -- there is too much presure from the public and funders to keep nonprofits' overhead expenses low but still produce high outcomes. These pressures cause nonprofit to be overworked and in crisis!! Well trained ED's can challenge the system and provide support to their staff. However, there are still many nonprofits with capacity issues that do not provide the needed support to their staff. For those staff members the work/life balance issue must happen on an individual basis. There is a book I just learned about-- Total Leadership which provides an individual approach/solution to the work/life balance issue. Rosetta Thurman is working with next gen leaders in DC using the Total Leadership book to help them create their own work/life balance. Through this process NGen's can be fulfilled which in turn impacts their organizations and then the sector as a whole. Instead of the usual top down approach -- its a bottom up approach for creating change in the sector.

IS Conference -- Future predictions from the IRS Commissioner

The economy is on everyone's mind. Nonprofits are worried. IRS created 5 year teaching plan. It includes outreach and guidance to NPs, ongoing transparency and identifying and stopping misuse or abuse of charity funds. Watch out -- the IRS will start to pay particular attention to Universities and Hospitals. The Commissioner's one piece of really good advice was don't do a business deal if it doesn't feel right.

IS Conference -- media that matters

Ok, let me set the record straight. I really like the IS conference, it is not at all what I thought it would be like. The presenters are talking about important issues that are relavant to all nonprofits. For example, I'm in a session right now that is similar to sessions offered at the NTC Conference about new social media for nonprofits. I just learned about an awesome new website that privides a guide for creating an online video -- See 3 communications -- this website makes it easy and affordable for nonprofits to make videos relevant to their issues. U tube also has a program that specifically works with nonprofits and helps increase branding, a google check out button and there is a nonprofits and activism section on Utube. Using video helps empower volunteer supporters and is an organizing tool to target the people you want to target. Nonprofits can post trainings on Utube and get responses or questions from the videos. Warning, in order to use Utube for the benefit of your members, nonprofits must connect with the Utube community and subscribe to other Utube videos to get subscribers and viewers of their own videos. Other awesome video websites 1000 voices, Grantmakers in Film and Electronic Media, Media that Matters, Scribe Video Center.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Live Blogging at IS Conference - Election Focus and change in the Sector

I'm at the IS conference blogging and twittering. It is clear the election is the most important topic of this conference. I'm not surprised, but how can we use this information to change the sector? Obama did an amazing job in his campaign and he did things differently, he created a successful community organizing campaign. Obama got his message across in his campaign!

How are we doing with our messaging in the sector? I'm sorry folks, but not that good. Let's use Obama's methods and strategies with messaging in our 'movements' that are already happening in the sector like the Nonprofit Congress and the Nonprofit Workforce Coalition and then our voices will be heard!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Independent Sector Conference here I come!

I am flying to Philadelphia this weekend to the Independent Sector Conference and I am super excited. I have wanted to attend this conference for as long as I have been working in the NP sector but could never afford it.

The nonprofit research center where I work just joined IS so this conference will be a great opportunity for me to learn about all the member benefits and resources. I love collecting and sharing resources!!

I do have several hesitations about this conference, this is not the usual crowd I hang out with. The majority of IS attendees work for big name, top 50 nonprofits. Considering the majority of nonprofits in the sector earn under $1mil a year, the IS conference is a gathering of the elite in the sector and they like to keep it that way with their $1,000 registration fee. So, its a bit intimidating and I'm wondering if my voice will even be heard at this event. I'm pretty vocal but I'm not sure if the issues I care about in the sector are the same as the issues the majority of IS attendees care about. My mom always told me...there just the same as you...but I wonder if this is true. Do IS attendees really want to talk about the flawed system of the nonprofit sector when they are buddies with top funders and receive plenty of funding for operations.

I'm beginning to sound like us versus them. I know large nonprofit have issues and challenges, however it seems like more and more funders are calling for outcomes and show the results but the majority of nonprofits are crying out I need more funding for capacity and support for my staff!! The system is not working, many nonprofits are getting out of traditional funding competitions and turning to fee for service or other form of earned income to stay afloat. Ok, I'll stop my rant.

I am excited about attending the conference...really! I am attending the IS conference this year because I applied to and received a scholarship to attend the NGEN program, a new program at the IS conference. To tell you the truth I didn't think I would be able to get in, I'm not the traditional target market for this conference because I'm an academic although I used to run a nonprofit (one of those nonprofits with under $1mil budget).

The scholarship application process was tough, in fact it was as rigorous as applying to my PhD program. I had to provide two letters of recommendation in and by request of IS staff I had to rewrite my application (I didn't sell myself enough the first time). I definitely wouldn't have been accepted if it wasn't for Steve Bauer's letter of recommendation-- thanks Steve!

So, I did get accepted afterall and I am appreciative of this opportunity even though it doesn't sound like it and I hope I still have my scholarship after this blog post.

So, while I'm at it--I wonder if this conference be different and open doors, insights and opportunities for change? I just don't know. I am getting tired of discussing the same issues over and over again and not seeing results -- I'm really passionate about researching:
  • nonprofit leadership;
  • nonprofit workforce issues;
  • capacity building for nonprofits;
  • service-learning, and;
  • nonprofit education.
But I'm even more passionate about turning ideas and discussions into action to create long lasting change in the nonprofit sector.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

My Vision for the Nonprofit Sector Accomplished Through my Dissertation

I want challenge the norms of doing a traditional dissertation. My professors have advised me that my dissertation does not have to be grand or change the world. However, like many doctoral students, I don't want to listen to my professors on that particular point. I want my dissertation to impact the entire nonprofit sector!

I want to read my favorite subjects which will inform my study. I want to continue to read literature about nonprofit leadership issues, workforce issues, capacity building, nonprofit education and service-learning/experiential education.

Then with advisement from my professors and Director of Assessment I want to complete a mixed methods study of the experiential non-traditional social sector leadership certificate program I am developing at John F. Kennedy University in the Bay Area.

This program isn't like any other leadership development or educational program you have ever seen. Really...I've completed market research on nonprofit specific leadership and education programs and the results are -- there are many amazing nonprofit education programs out there but the majority of them provide technical (how to run a nonprofit) training* not the interpersonal training or systems understanding that is needed to run a social sector organization today. Plus, other leadership programs that are out there don't address social sector specific dilemmas and challenges (yes our sector is different than other sectors and we have unique issues).

(*with the exception of USD which is an amazing nonprofit leadership and management education program.)

This certificate program is in early development stages right now and is being created by a group of managers from the for profit, nonprofit and govt. sectors who all have the goal to create a learning hub for social sector managers and leaders, a place where they will learn and address interpersonal and organizational problems and issues in a experiential and hands on manner.

I want to create a mixed method study for my dissertation that would consist of entrance and exit surveys of the students, qualitative interviews of organizations where the students work, and action research so the students can be researchers studying the program itself. All these items especially the action research would allow the program to make mid-course corrections and shift based on the needs of the students and their organizations.

End result -- create an experiential hands on leadership program model for the social sector that attempts to address current nonprofit leadership and workforce issues.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Learning to write all over again...

This month was really tough academically. I am taking three courses this semester and the intensity of these courses hit me all at once. I received several graded assignments from my professors at the same time all with the same critiques -- the content of my assignments were fine but my writing was wordy, lacked clarity, and ultimately deterred my professors from understanding what I was trying to say.

I had trouble receiving this feedback for several reasons. First, I did really well in the first year of my doctoral program and wondered why now was my writing an issue? Second, I am a perfectionist and I wanted my writing to be perfect. Last, I got defensive because this was not the first time I received critiques about my writing.

I flashed back to when I worked in the NP sector and wrote grant proposals and communication pieces. Several Executive Directors did not like my writing style. So, I asked myself is this a conspiracy, first my ED's, now my professors, am I really a bad writer? I excelled in my Masters program, I write this blog, why can't I write clearly in academic papers? (Sounds winey...but wait).

Then one class our assignment was to read the book Writing Up Qualitative Research by Henry Wolcott and write a memo about it. This book was amazing, it was a how to guide for writing and editing and it opened my eyes and eased my anxiety about my writing. I had an ah ha moment while reading the book I wanted to share. Here is an excerpt from my class assignment that describes that moment.

The Writing up Qualitative Research monograph met me where I was at in the writing process. I was struggling to handle feedback I had received about my writing and how to improve my writing. However, this monograph taught me that I am not a bad writer and I need to spend more time editing my writing and listening to the feedback I receive about my writing. Wolcott expressed writing does not come naturally or easily to him and he quoted other authors that have the same issue. They all work at their writing and edit draft after draft until they get to a point where they are comfortable with sending their work to their editors.

The section on getting feedback was especially helpful because it emphasized the importance of using reviewers for your writing. I liked the tips Wolcott provided on having a colleague read the paper aloud to check for errors. My favorite quote of that section was something that I want to put on my wall to remind me to not take the review process so personally because “even the most gracious and gentle among your critics are far more likely to fault weaknesses in a manuscript than to applaud strengths” (Wolcott, 2001, p. 62). These critiques will make me a stronger and better writer.

So as I continue through the rest of my semester, I have less anxiety and frustraitions about my writing and the feedback I receive about my writing. I am also spending a lot more time editing my writing...

Quick Stats about Millennials and Volunteers

I'm Teachers Assistant for an undergraduate nonprofit class this semester and a few weeks ago a panel of volunteer managers from Dovia spoke to our class. The panel provided great statistics about millennials.
  • Millennials will have 10-14 jobs by the time they are 38.
  • 1 in 4 millennials have been in a job less than 1 year.
  • Millennials are 1/3 of the US population.
  • They spend 170 billion a year.
  • They appreciate family values and volunteer.
  • 28% author a blog.
  • 30.4% volunteer.
The panel also provided volunteering statstics and helpful tips about recruiting, managing, and retaining volunterrs.
  • 25% of San Diegans Volunteer
  • 28% of the US population volunteers
  • 1 in 3 nonprofits do not do background checks of their volunteers.
  • 1 in 8 nonprofits do not screen their volunteers or check references.
The Dovia panel said it is important for nonprofits to create policies and procedures to recruit, train, and retain volunteers. Nonprofits should assign a point person, a liaison between staff and volunteers, be clear with volunteers what is expected of them, and provide appropriate, timely and personal recongition of volunteer efforts. Nonprofits should be transparent with volunteers and share with them how money is spent in the organization, the volunteer's time is valued and help volunteers understand where they fit into the big picture of the organization.

Dovia has chapters around the country and provides ongoing training for nonprofits on best practices for volunteer management. Volunteer management is often avoided and overlooked by many nonprofits, however volunteers keep nonprofits thriving and surviving so it is important to invest in creating and maintaining a healthy volunteer program.

I thought these statistics and tips were very helpful -- do you have any interesting tips for managing volunteers that aren't listed here?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Confessions of a second year doctoral student

I am now into the second year of my PhD program and attended a wonderful seminar last weekend about how to be a successful doctoral student and I thought I'd share my notes from that seminar -- the indoctrination process:

Roles and Tasks of Doctoral Students
  • Don't begin to write until you understand conversations going on in the field.
  • Develop own sense of authority and raise questions if things don't make sense.
  • Don't justify things on the basis of authority.
  • Justify things on the basis of the quality of question or evidence.
  • We need to follow our intellectual path and challenge ourselves and assumptions.
  • We need to make an enormous amount of effort to do high quality scholarly work.
  • Be open to reading materials from other fields -- its from other fields that new insights come.
  • Be open to see connections.
Academic Writing
  • Take and use feedback.
  • Get beyond our own ego.
  • Speak to various faculty members to hear their different perspectives.
  • Good writing includes these four principles. PACT
    1. Point First--see what you are accomplishing.
    2. Active Voice--put subject first in writing.
    3. Concise--use less words.
    4. Topic Sentences--tell a story.
  • Keep reading notes in a word document that includes summary, quotes, and page #'s in a word file. Also, keep and excel file tracking works cited by the author.
  • Reading notes will help you not to read something more than once.
  • Literature review is the hardest writing for students.
  • Start by conceptualizing three main topics.
  • When you can't find literature on something acknowledge that in the literature review.
  • Trying to fill the gap with current research -- don't be discouraged when you find a gap.
  • Stick to the APA manual.
Committee Selection
  • Select people who have knowledge of your field and can direct you to key sources of literature.
  • Show your committee chair you know how to get into the literature.
  • Inform your committee about your progress and the path you are taking.
  • If you choose a committee member from outside the university be clear with them about their role and your expectations.
That's it for now...on the road to becoming a scholar.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

If I were a Foundation Officer

I was speaking to a recent graduate of the University of San Diego who wants to land a job in the Foundation world -- the challenge is she hasn't had much luck landing her first job. She's super talented, already has interned in a nonprofit along with earning her Certificate in Nonprofit Leadership from American Humanics...the only problem is, few foundations are hiring entry level positions.

It was great to see her excitement in wanting to change the world. Then I thought back to the 7 long years I have been working in the nonprofit sector :) and what would I do if took a different route in my career. What would I do if I worked in foundations and what I would do if I were a Foundation officer?

If I were a Foundation officer I (and my staff) would do needs assessments within nonprofits to identify which capacity issues were present to maintain the nonprofits' current programs. Then I would fund each nonprofit for 5 years (at least $100k or more per year) in order for them to hire, train, and support staff to maintain their current programs. I would also fund operations and any other administrative and support needs to run the current programs. Then I (and my staff) would do more consulting within the organizations on management and leadership issues along with overseeing the strategic planning process. Furthermore, after 5 years the nonprofits may be eligible for additional funding for program expansion based on the results of the strategic plan and the progress made during the previous 5 years they spent building their capacity to do their current programs. If the organization received additional money for program expansion, I would also fund program evaluations.

So I'm not a program officer -- However, I have completed numerous grant applications and proposals to keep organizations running as well as I consult start up nonprofits on setting up their operations, so I'm quite biased on building capacity within nonprofits, but I'm curious...what would you do if you were a Foundation officer?

For more information on general operating support and capacity building funding. Check out Grantmakers for Effective Organizations.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Can we strive to create learning organizations?

One of the courses I am taking this semester is Organizational Theory. We are looking at organizations through the lenses of various metaphors. One of these metaphors is learning organizations. This fitting because one of the themes of Nonprofit day this year was learning organizations.

The key note speakers of the conference Leslie and Heather, authors of Forces for Good: Six practices of High Impact Nonprofits, stipulate in their book that high impact does not correlate with budget size, however the 12 nonprofits they selected for their book are ginormous compared to the majority of nonprofits out there that have budgets less than $1mil.

These 12 nonprofits can be classified as learning organizations, among the other 5 high impact practices they describe in their book, in articles, on their speaking tour (they are amazing at marketing book and are clearly on a whirlwind book tour). However, I laugh because the 12 organizations they describe are the few elite that have achieved success the majority of nonprofits can only dream of.

So, what's so special about learning organizations? How can we strive to create learning organizations? Here are a few strategies of learning organizations that I "learned" from one of the seminars I attended at nonprofit day.
  • Organizations ask questions about their own work
  • People throughout the organization feel like they are in control--they are empowered
  • Leadership reinforces learning
  • Learning systems and practices are in place
  • Organizational culture supports learning
  • Differences are welcomed
  • People can speak up
  • The organization shares information with others
  • Learning goes beyond the organization
  • Leaders listen and invite feedback
  • Learning is built into the job description
  • Evaluation is a priority
  • Organization looks at impact over outcomes
  • Shared leadership

Wow, sounds wonderful, I'd definitely would like to work in a learning organization -- wouldn't you? But is it really possible? I'm being cynical again, playing devil's advocate. Show me a list of 100 normal size (with budgets under $1mil) nonprofits that are learning organizations and I'll stop this tirade.

Let's change the system and create a place for nonprofits to strive, thrive, and create learning organizations!

Annual Planning for Nonprofits

Fall is here -- and so is the annual planning process for nonprofits whose fiscal year ends in December. Attached is my latest free resource -- an annual planning calendar for operations -- thanks to the students in my nonprofit finance course whose suggestions made this annual calendar more complete.

Monday, September 8, 2008

My Theory on Nonprofit Leadership

Now that I have been studying nonprofit leadership for the past year -- can I claim to be an expert in the subject? Well no -- but I do have a theory.

The system of the Nonprofit Sector does not allow for collaborative leadership to occur, unless the Executive Director is strong enough to challenge the system.

Here's an excerpt from a paper I wrote this summer:
Some researchers argue that traditional models of leadership are not working within nonprofit organizations. They found younger leaders want participatory models of leadership and leadership sharing to occur (Keunrether & Corvington, 2007). A potential new model of leadership, relational leadership, has the potential to meet the participatory desires of younger leaders and nonprofit researchers alike. Relational leadership involves “a relational and ethical process of people working together attempting to accomplish positive change [or make a different to benefit the common good]” (Komives, Lucas & McMahon, p 74, 2007). However, is the system nonprofit sector ready for relational leadership?

Most nonprofit organizations are charities, and are required by law to be in business for the public benefit. Funders, donors, and the general public require nonprofits to do good at the lowest possible cost. This puts a strain on the internal cultures of many nonprofit organizations, so at times the culture does not provide adequate space for staff development, or time to make collaborative decisions, creating a crisis mode. Many organizations work from one funding source to another and focus solely on programs and may ignore staff and operations. In addition, many staff members in nonprofit organizations do not understand the complexities that are involved in running a nonprofit organization, so they may question or challenge why their organizations are run in a certain way. This is when the Executive Director must step in and decide how they are going to exercise leadership with their staff.

As stated above, the relational leadership model involves people working together to accomplish common good (Komives, Lucas & McMahon, 2007). Originally the relational leadership model was developed for college students; however it can be used in nonprofit organizations under specific circumstances. Also mentioned above, scholars and practitioners alike are advocating for a more collaborative style of leadership, like relational leadership, and, most nonprofits are in the business to benefit the common good which fits with the definition of relational leadership. Yet, because of a variety of factors, including the system of the nonprofit sector, it is challenging for people in organizations to actually agree on the “common good.”

Successful relational leadership allows for five components:

1. Inclusive of people and diverse points of view;
2. Empowering of others who are involved;
3. Purposeful—individual committee and common purpose;
4. Ethical—driven by moral leadership, and;
5. Process-Oriented—how the organization goes about being a group and accomplishing the group’s purpose (Komives, Lucas & McMahon, p 74, 2007).

If all five steps are met, then a group can agree on the common good. Unfortunately, the system is set up so that many nonprofit organizations do not have the time to follow these steps and the Executive Director ends up dictating the common good which creates further disagreement among staff. However, under the right circumstances if staff are ready, and the Executive Director is strong enough, the Executive Director can challenge the system and provide a space for relational leadership to occur.

Kunreuther, F., & Corvington, P.A. (2007). Next shift: Beyond the nonprofit leadership crisis. Baltimore, MD: Annie E. Casey Foundation.

Komives, S.R., Lucas N., & McMahon, T.R. (2007). Exploring leadership: For college students who want to make a difference. San Francisco, CA: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

What do you think? Do you agree or disagree with my theory?

For further theories on nonprofit leadership check out:

Improving Leadership in Nonprofit Organizations by Kravis Leadership Institute (Author), Jack Shakely (Foreword), Ronald E. Riggio (Editor), Sarah Smith Orr (Editor) -
My review: This book is specifically written by Leadership Studies scholars, heavily focused on the transformational leadership theory.

The Jossey-Bass Handbook of Nonprofit Leadership and Management, 2nd Edition Robert D. Herman, & Associates
My review: This book is more management versus leadership and when it talks about leadership it discusses more trait based view of leadership which seems to be a very popular theory amoung scholars studying leadership in the nonprofit sector.
We can debate about this later...

The Nature of Leadership by John Antonakis (Editor), Anna T. Cianciolo (Editor), Robert J. Sternberg (Editor)
My review: This book provides a great overview of leadership theories (not nonprofit specific, but relevant).

Also, my colleague Emily Davis has compiled a list of the latest nonprofit leadership and emerging leadership research studies published in the sector.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

My NP Times Top 50: The Next Generation of Nonprofit Leaders You Should Know

About a month ago the Nonprofit Times came out with its top 50 most powerful and influential people in the nonprofit sector. I was thankful that the CEO of the American Red Cross was not included in this year's list--after what happen with Mark Everson last year. I was also happy to see some familiar faces of CEO's like Marnie Webb of Tech Soup, Melanie Herman of the Nonprofit Risk Management Center, Gavin Clabaugh of the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation and more!

However I do kind of cringe every year when I see the list because it is made up of CEOs and leaders of very large and very well known nonprofits. Don't get me wrong, these large nonprofits are great and help many people across the US, however the majority of nonprofits in the sector have budgets under $1mil.
Let me reiterate the 2008 Nonprofit Almanac states that 77% of all nonprofits have under $1mil in expenditures. So my question is -- Where's the list with the other 77% of nonprofit leaders?

I really like to connect people together in the nonprofit sector, so I decided to create my own Top 50+ list--the next tier of leaders in the sector. Here is list of people and organizations in my
network I think you should know in the nonprofit sector. They are all amazing individuals with a passion for what they do and a desire to create a sustainable nonprofit sector.

The Next Generation of Nonprofit Leaders You Should Know
(There are a few people on this list that may not consider themselves the next generation, however I decided to include them because they haven't made it on the NP Times Top 50 List yet.

Alan Strand, Interim CEO, California Association of Nonprofits
Allen Gunn, Executive Director, Aspiration
Alexis Terry, Client Manager Business Development, BoardSource
Amanda Hickman, Director of Technology at Gotham Gazette and Citizens

Ariana Speigler, CEO, Nonprofit Suite
Bao Vang, Leadership Program Coordinator ,Minnesota Council on
Beth Kanter, Nonprofit Blogger and Social Media Expert
Brit Bravo, Blogger and Consultant
Caroline McAndrews, Director of Leadership and Communications, Building
Movement Project
Darian Rodriguez Heymen, Executive Director, Craigslist Foundation
Deborah Elizabeth Finn, Consultant and Blogger
Elissa Perry, Leadership Consultant
Eliza Ortiz, Coordinator of Outreach and Special Initiatives, NCNA
Emily Davis, President, EDA Consulting and Blogger
Emily Weinberg, Creator of Nonprofit Blog Exchange
Eric Leland, Consultant
Erica Greely, Director of Strategic Initiatives, Independent Sector
Erin Nemenoff, Doctoral Student and Nonprofit Researcher
Gene Takagi, Nonprofit Lawyer
Heather Carpenter, Doctoral Student and Blogger (added per request
of other members of this list)
Holly Ross, Executive Director, Nonprofit Technology Enterprise Network
James Segal, Vice President of Nonprofit Programs, Independent Sector
James Weinberg, CEO, CommonGood Careers
Jeanne Bell, CEO, CompassPoint
Jeff Brooks, Donor Power Blog
Jennifer Crystal Chien, Change Consultant
John Kenyon, Nonprofit Technology Strategist
Joseph Mouzon, Executive Director of Nonprofit Services, Network for
Josh Solomon, Managing Director of Alumni Engagement, Teach for

Kala Stroup, President, American Humanics
Kathleen Enright, Executive Director, Grantmakers for Effective
Katya Andresen, Vice President Marketing, Network for Good
Kivi Miller, President, EcoScribe Communications & Creator of the
Nonprofit Blog Carnival of Consultants

Lindsey McDougle, Doctoral Student and Blogger
Laura Gassner Otting, CEO, Nonprofit Professionals Advisory Group
Laura Quinn, Founder and Director, Idealware
Leonor Alfonso, Program Associate, Independent Sector
Lisa Morton, CEO, Nonprofit HR
Lynne Norton, Director of Marketing, Opportunity Knocks
Maria Gajewski, Author, NP2020, Issues and Answers from the
Next Generation
Marion Conway, Consultant and Blogger
Marla Cornelius, Projects Director, CompassPoint
Meg Busse, Director, Nonprofit Career Transitions Program
and Author of Idealist's Guide to Nonprofit Sector Careers, Idealist
Michelle Martin, Consultant and Blogger
Nancy Schwartz, CEO, Nancy Schwartz and Company
Pamela Hawley, CEO, Universal Giving
Peter Brinkerhoff, Consultant and Author of Generations: The
Challenge of a Lifetime for Your Nonprofit
Richard Cohen, Membership and Technology Specialist, NCNA
Robert Weiner, Database Expert
Rosetta Thurman, Blogger and Development Director, DC
Russ Finkelstein, Associate Director, Idealist
Rusty Stahl, Executive Director, Emerging Practitioners in
Ryan Ozimek, CEO, PicNet
Sean Stannard Stockton, Blogger and Director of Tactical
Philanthropy, Ensemble Capital Management
Shelly Cryer, Consultant and Author of the Nonprofit Career Guide
Stephanie Roth, Editor, Grassroots Fundraising Journal (I am
really surprised that Kim Klein has not made the NP Times Top
50 list yet)
Steve Bauer, Director, Nonprofit Sector Workforce Coalition at
American Humanics
Steve Lew, Senior Projects Director, CompassPoint
Tera Wozinak, Blogger and Program Assistant, Johnson Center
for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership at Grand Valley
State University
Trish Tschume, Director of Civic Engagement, Building Movement
Trista Harris, Executive Director, Headwaters Foundation for Justice
Vini Bhansali, Chief Operating Officer, Juma Ventures
Yarrow Sandahl, Operations Manager, Bridgespan Group

Several caveats to this list. I created this list from memory and I don't have my business cards binder in front of me so I know I have left off some amazing people from this list. Second, this is my opinion so you are free to agree or disagree about who is listed here. So, my apologizes to these folks I left out, please comment if there are people you think should be included on this list.

Who would be on your top 50 np times list?

For those of you who ae wondering why there are only a few academics on this list -- I am planning to create a separate list -- the top 50 Nonprofit Academics I think you should know and read their research if you are planning a career a nonprofit academia.