Monday, January 28, 2008

Blog Carnival of Nonprofit Consultants January 28th

It has been a while since I hosted the blog carnival of nonprofit consultants, however I am glad to be back and hosting this week. I just started my spring semester and I am happy to post seven intellectually stimulating posts this week.

1. An exciting post from Polar Unlimited discusses about the "Tipping Point for Philanthropy" with the intergenerational transfer of wealth being upon us.

2. What are your opinions of the American Red Cross? Don't tell the Donor explains about the "Red Cross [being] Rocked by Staff Cuts".

3. A new blogger emerges at Sea Change strategies with the post "New Sea Change Voice" and writes about three interesting articles in the Harvard Business Review all which are relevant to nonprofits:
-"The Four Truths of the Storyteller”
-"Breakthrough Thinking from Inside the Box"
-"What Every Leader Needs to Know About Followers"

4. Donor Power Blog post, "You Can't Control the Conversation" provides three tips to enhance the donor experience.

5. Cool People Care and the Remarka blog discusses about what "Intentional Poverty" really means and how important it is for nonprofit professionals to understand poverty if we are going to really fight against it.

6. Jason at a Small-Change Fundraising Blog looks at the future of online giving with his post "A look into the online future interview part 4. "

7. Last, new blogger Lindsey posts about something we all think about in the nonprofit sector, "Learning to Change the World."

Blog Carnival Feed

Accountability and Evaluation are Important

I have seen bloggers comment on my recent post "Do Donors Really Look at these Charity Regulation Sites," and I am feeling like I was misunderstood.

I do believe accountability and evaluation are very important! In addition, I believe nonprofits should constantly be evaluated and have accountability measures in place. However I am frustrated because there are so many different definitions of accountability and websites that are trying to hold charities accountable that it gets overwhelming and challenging for small to mid-sized charities to know what rules or which sites to follow.

Furthermore, there are so many online giving sites, which is great, however I think there should be an evaluation and comparison of all of these sites to tell the nonprofit which one we should register with, or which one we should direct our donors to. Because the reality is, as much as all these different online giving sites want to help nonprofit organizations, they (the online donation sites) still taking a percentage of the donation to cover their costs.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Do donors really look at these charity regulation or donation sites?

I am sitting back and reading the commentary about Holden at GiveWell and I'm thinking to myself why? Why do these websites exist to tell donors what the best charity is to donate to? Do donors even use these websites?

I remember reading research a couple a months ago about how very few people actually donate online to charities. American Express and Indiana University released research stating that 65% of Americans gave to charity last year and out of that 65% only 1 out 10 regularly gives online. So, basically do the small percentage of donors who regularly donate online, actually use these websites?

There are all these standards of accountability that have been created for nonprofits, however which are these standards of the right one? Does Holden or the folks at Charity Navigator or GreatNonprofits really know what it is like to run a nonprofit organization? Here in San Diego we are having an issue with the Better Business Bureau because it is pushing its way into the nonprofit sector and thinks it knows how nonprofits should run, it has its wise giving standards that are sweeping across the United States. It is frustrating that all these different groups think they know the right way a nonprofit should run. I am more apt to follow the standards put out by the Independent Sector or the Nonprofit Congress which is made up of real nonprofit managers like myself who knows what it is like to actually run a nonprofit.

I've been running various nonprofits for the past 7 years all of them with budgets ranging from 500k to 1mil. And, sure, I know the multi-million dollar nonprofit have a department that can fill out all the paperwork requested by the BBB and pass all the standards set by Charity Navigator, GiveWell, ect, however lets not fail the small to mid-sized nonprofits that are working on the grassroots level. Don't just fail us because we don't fit into your accountability standards box. I can tell you my organization is more ethical than the multi-million dollar nonprofit down the street.

I see our work on the ground level, I know we help over 700 grieving families each year. I know what we need to do to pass all those standards, and sure we're not there yet. We are on our way, but my goodness, we are still raising money and a lot of it from people who believe in our mission and see our results. So, a note to all of you who run your wonderful donation sites that want to channel money to my nonprofit, just remember the research, and the fact that I along with many other nonprofit managers, don't have time to figure out what website I need to log on to today to make sure I meet your standards.

Monday, January 14, 2008

The Secret to Having Your Best Year Ever

I am starting to have my best year ever because, the Foundation I work for--The Jenna Druck Foundation--is organizing an event “The Secret To Having Your Best Year Ever” this Saturday (January 19th) at the San Diego Sports Arena. Authors from the Secret, as well as Tony Robbins and Ken Blanchard are donating their time to speak at the event. All the proceeds from the event go to benefit our two programs--Families Helping Families and Young Women's Leadership. This is the largest fundraiser that the Foundation has done in its 11 year history. It has been a crazy last four months and we could not have done this event without our event planners and many volunteers. Our event website is

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

The courage to resign

I took a big step and decided to resign from my position as Director of the Jenna Druck Foundation after January. This was a very tough decision for me because I really thought I could do it all, but I can't. I came to San Diego to pursue my PhD, however my work at the Foundation became all consuming. The hardest thing for me to realize was that I just don't have enough time to do it all.

I am still very committed to the mission and the programs of the Foundation, and will remain on as their part-time Operations Director. I am also looking forward to helping finding someone to take my place who can devote full-time efforts to the Foundation and continue to help it succeed. During my short time as Director, I was humbled and challenged to turn the organization away from what I call the culture of crisis, and help the organization plan for the future.

Like most small nonprofits, the Foundation has award winning programs but struggles with its operations. I'm writing a chapter in the Community Technology Centers Operating manual about operations, and my experience from working at the Foundation has really helped me to refine my views about operations. I still believe that nonprofits by nonprofits prioritizing their operations they will become more effective at achieving their missions, however I now know hard it is to actually prioritize operations while trying to balance securing funding for the organization, managing programs, and keeping things moving forward!!