The Small Nonprofit
Summary: You are going to change the world. We can help. Running a small nonprofit is not for the faint of heart. With limited resources and fueled by a combination of caffeine and passion, small charity leaders are unsung heroes. The Small Nonprofit podcast, by CharityVillage and The Good Partnership, gives you down-to-earth, practical and actionable expert guidance on how to run a small nonprofit. From leadership and law to fundraising and finance, we’ve got you covered. Forget comparing your organization to the big shops, we’re creating a community of nonprofit leaders who are going to change the world, one small nonprofit at a time.
Your organization is like your baby. And that is exactly why you have to make sure that it can grow on its own without you. In order to get to that state, the organization needs you to build in some great planning and set up the right culture and systems. On today's podcast, our returning guest Michael Prosserman shares his insight on how to lead an organization from the ground up to planning for succession so that it continues to thrive beyond his tenure. Michael urges us to think and act: succession planning starts today.
Imposter Syndrome - we don't talk about it very often. But when we do, there's so many nodding heads and people in agreement saying “of course, I experienced that too.” Imposter syndrome seems to be more prevalent for people who don't see themselves reflected in the leadership around them. There's no role model so how do I know I'm doing things, right? With representation, diversity and anti-oppression work becoming more prevalent, it can be easy to wonder whether we were hired for our skills or simply to be that “token” employee within your organization. On today’s podcast, I am excited to have Mimosa Kabir share her perspective to help us unpack the conversation. Tune in as we tackle topics like what imposter syndrome looks like in action, imposter syndrome and risk-aversion, how this can actually contribute to relationship-building and much more!
When the pandemic started in March, no one knew what was going to happen.EDs at nonprofits big and small were projecting layoffs and devastating deficits. And that happened. To be sure - the impact of COVID on our sector and all of us has been significant. And mostly awful. People had to quickly adjust their work and lives to adapt. Yes. It's been a rough year. 6 months later, we're still dealing with an ongoing pandemic with no foreseeable end date. So, let's recognize this: our sector has also made some huge wins. Nonprofits have become more nimble than ever. They're shifting long existing programming online, making their workplace remote friendly, communicating to donors in ways they never tried before. Most of these things have been on our bucket lists for years, but we haven’t had the time and space to move forward with these changes. In many ways, the COVID-19 pandemic has been the perfect storm that forced us to change. When our environment forces us to change, we become more resilient than we thought we ever would or could be. We realize that changes are not as scary as we imagined. Can we reverse engineer this process and lead necessary changes with courage? I am so excited to launch the new season of the Small Nonprofit Podcast with a conversation on managing change. Surranna Sandy, the CEO of Skills of Change, shares her philosophy on leading change with people at the centre. She walks us through how to leverage this pandemic to set up the infrastructure that will enable positive changes. Ready for a new season of change and courage?
It seems like on all fronts we are currently engaged in deep unlearning and learning. Whether it’s around anti-racism or new technologies, the world is a changing place and learning has become more routine than ever. Right now, while our learning might be accelerated, it’s a good time to reflect on how we can integrate this type of growth and development into the long-term. Today’s podcast is all about lifelong learning with guest Aaron Sanderson, SVP, Advancement & Chief Development Officer at Kids Help Phone. Give it a listen and start planning your next learning!
As things are slowly opening up, do you have a favourite cafe nearby your home or work that you always visit and can't wait to go back to? If you do, you'll be familiar with this scenario: you go to the cafe a few times, and the barista starts remembering your order. The next time you show up, the barista smiles at you and asks: "americano with oat milk?" (that's my order!) Surprised, right there and then, the barista has fostered a sense of connection. Before you know it, that cafe becomes your favourite spot. A simple gesture of acknowledging "I know you" is so powerful for sparking connection. How can we also make that magical spark happen with our donors? Well, I want to introduce to you one of my favourite tools to foster those connections in today’s digital age and in the absence of having donor phone numbers: Bonjoro, a personalized one-to-one video messaging service. On this week's podcast, I chatted with Bonjoro's founder Matt Barnett. Matt shared with us some really doable tips to build authentic connection with your donors remotely. At The Good Partnership, we started using Bonjoro to send personalized videos to onboard clients and students for Flipside Fundraising, and it’s getting great responses and engagement. We’re also using it with our clients and their donors. As you know, I don’t usually recommend a specific product without context. But we fell in love with Bonjoro, and we know that can be such a great tool for you right now to connect with your donors in a socially distanced world. But, even if it’s not the right tool for you (p.s they have a free version), you can try the tactics in this podcast with other tools too!
This past week, we’ve all been taking the necessary action to support the Black Lives Matter movement and holding space for difficult and necessary conversations both at work and at home. As you likely know, the work for anti-racism and anti-oppression practices has just begun. This is not a one-time effort, but something ongoing. We must address how our organizations are governed. We must talk about who sits on our boards and how the board truly supports different voices to be heard and championed (tokenism is not the answer). On this week's podcast, I had the pleasure to connect with Bailey Greenspon, acting Co-CEO from G(irls)20 and Amal Elmi, a young director of the G(irls)20' Girls on Board program and member of the Community Impact Cabinet at United Way Ottawa. We talked about how to support young and diverse women to sit on nonprofit boards and bring about systemic changes for leadership in our sector. This episode was recorded before last week. In light of the events this past week, relistening Bailey and Amal's insights and stories deeply touched me. I am inspired by their tireless effort to advocate for young and diverse voices and enact real actions towards equity. It reminds me that we can do this. We must do this. Let's do this together.
Do you ever make impulse buys? You know, that online sale that you just can’t say “no” to? Or you are out on a socially distant walk and you see something that catches your eye in the window? And plus, you want to support a local business! Think back to that feeling you get when you make that decision. While there might be rational reasons such as price points and needs, what made us push the “buy” button seems to involve something emotional and intuitive that we can’t always logically explain. How our brain says “yes” is well researched, but we don’t talk about this enough in our sector. If we could understand the science of decision-making better, we would be so much more effective and efficient when crafting communication and designing experiences for our donors. I'm excited to connect with Dana Segal about this topic on today's podcast episode. Give it a listen. Dana shares some amazing tips on tiny changes that you can implement today to effortlessly raise more money and make it easier for your donors to say “yes”!
Having become a parent, I now understand how hard it is for parents to let go of their babies. When my boys are not with me, I worry about them all the time. But I’m also learning that controlling them is not empowering them to carve their own paths. There's a fine line between love and control. That same fine line exists at our workplace. Sometimes, founders and leaders of organizations can't let go of what they created, and they hold onto so much control and end up jeopardizing the long term health of the organization. This is what’s called the founders' syndrome. It's a very tricky problem to resolve and can cause a lot of emotional stress. That's why we are tackling this difficult but necessary topic with Susanna on today's podcast episode. Susanna Kislenko will share with us her insights on how to survive founders’ syndromes if you're an employer, and how to prevent yourself from slipping into patterns of over-controlling if you're a founder. Oh, and by the way, you can have founder's syndrome even if you’re not a founder! If you've dealt with or are actively struggling with founders' syndrome, I want to acknowledge how difficult this is. Be gentle with yourself, and know that there’s the support you can seek.
I took a deep breath. Feeling a bit nervous, excited and scared, I pushed the button and hoped for the best. If you think I’m talking about playing a slot machine, you’re not that far off. Isn’t this how we feel everytime we hit the “submit” button for a grant? Everybody tells you to do it, but there is no guarantee or any indication of certainty that you’ll get it. This was certainly true for me when I started my fundraising career! I’ve had so many clients and friends in the sector ask me whether they should outsource their grant writing. I get it. If someone can just show up and magically lift us off from the burden of writing grants, that would be so wonderful. This is why I'm so excited to share today’s podcast, where grant writer, coach, and community developer Stachen Frederick tells us her secrets on writing successful grants (with a unique spin). Stachen wants you to be writing less grants but getting way more out of every one of them, including the impact of bringing your community together in the process. Give it a listen!
I took a deep breath. Feeling a bit nervous, excited and scared, I pushed the button and hoped for the best. If you think I’m talking about playing a slot machine, you’re not that far off. Isn’t this how we feel every time we hit the “submit” button for a grant? Everybody tells you to do it, but there is no guarantee or any indication of certainty that you’ll get it. This was certainly true for me when I started my fundraising career! I’ve had so many clients and friends in the sector ask me whether they should outsource their grant writing. I get it. If someone can just show up and magically lift us off from the burden of writing grants, that would be so wonderful. This is why I'm so excited to share today’s podcast, where grant writer, coach, and community developer Stachen Frederick tells us her secrets on writing successful grants (with a unique spin). Stachen wants you to be writing less grants but getting way more out of every one of them, including the impact of bringing your community together in the process. Give it a listen!
How we do our work is just as important as what we do. But we don’t talk about this enough at work. We get so busy. But are we productive? I’m so excited to talk to my friend Rachel Bearbower from Small Shop Strategies about this topic on this week’s episode of the podcast. If you are feeling overwhelmed by your long to-dos, or you are looking for a Monday energy boost, take a break and take a listen. You will walk away with some practical tips that you can implement today. And if you enter our special contest, you might win the very special Vault planner Rachel designed to help you maximize your productivity.
I have heard such different stories from clients and friends. Some are having no problem working from home, as they’re able to access all of their files on the cloud. Some, however, are frustrated by databases and other tools that are crashing or are not functioning remotely at all. How organizations can remain relevant and resilient in the digital world is one of the biggest learnings for our sector during this pandemic. This can be an overwhelming topic. Technology is not always easy to use. That’s why our guest on this week’s podcast, Avery Swartz, wrote a book about all things internet for you. Avery wants you to save your energy and time to focus on your important work and mission, and not to lose any sleep worrying about technology or digital marketing. Give a listen and start your week with something refreshing!
Do you remember that icky feeling back in school, when you were assigned a piece of homework that you didn't see the point in doing, but had to do it anyway? Well, I bet that’s the same feeling you get when you’re filling out a program report and are asked to provide evaluation numbers that don’t make sense to you. Impact evaluation is one of those things we are told that is good for us, but often feels so disconnected from our day-to-day work. On today's episode of the Small Nonprofit Podcast, Jeff Coulliard shares with us his journey of helping organizations take back the ownership of their impact data and measure what truly matters.
Do you ever get that nagging feeling that your voice is not heard or that it’s drowned out? Currently, with everything being communicated online, it’s so easy to feel that what you have to say is going to get buried in a conference call or countless social media posts. And when we do share our voices, we don’t love it. I remembered when I started the podcast, I also struggled with listening to my own voice playing back at me. Being able to express ourselves and communicate clearly is so important to our work and our wellbeing. I am more than excited to share with you today’s podcast, where Jam Gamble, coach extraordinaire of Slay the Mic program, tells us how to overcome the fear of self-expression and ace public speaking. Let me let you in on a little secret: memorizing the speech does not do the trick. My whole team is loving this podcast episode so I know you will too! What you have to say is so important. Your voice is unique and beautiful. Share it!
In times like this, it’s so important that we stay connected. The same goes with our donors. They want to hear from you about how you and your organization is doing. I know what you are thinking: donors already have a lot on their plate right now. Why would they want to hear from me? On today’s podcast, David from The Common Good Philanthropy shares a great story about how donors felt so connected to a small nonprofit that they got upset when they were not called to help in a time of crisis. David wants us to think about fundraising as community building, and offers great advice on how to connect with our donors as our authentic selves. Take a listen!