Well hey there, folks! It’s been quite some time – but I’m happy to say I’m back at the keyboard once more, ready to deliver the finest (or at least most intriguing) nonprofit news from across the Web.  Just a quick update on my life (and perhaps an explanation as to why you haven’t heard from me recently) – I am back at in school in lovely Harrisonburg, Virginia. I’ve been on the Graduate Assistant grind and in the library more than I would ever care to admit (I’ll take this time to give a quick shout out to Starbuck’s for their uncanny brewing abilities).

TostanAs I said, it’s been a while since my last post but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been reading. This one is from a couple weeks ago, but I feel like its message is timeless, so I decided to throw it in the mix. Molly Melching, the founder of Tostan, an African-based nonprofit working on community development projects in Africa, talks about the disconnect between passion and change. She elaborates on the role of empathy and the ideal of systematic change. This article is both compelling and eye-opening. Often, it seems, we lose sight of our passion or we are totally overcome by it. Melching talks about finding the happy, productive medium and harnessing it into transformational action

This article takes a bit of a different tone than the last one. While the previous one appealed to the more emotional side of our brain, this one touches on the logical parts – so hopefully I’ve incorporated something for everyone. In this article, by Ananda Roberts of nFocus Solutions, she discusses the use of logical models in planning nonprofit structure and procedure. The purpose, Roberts says, is to remind participants of the many details involved in any step and the various implications unintentional oversight can have on an organization. Logical models act like flowcharts in organization management, dictating procedural outlines and structural framework. They can offer an easy way to manage accountability and measure success and are ideal for any organization. This is definitely a worthwhile read on something we sometimes overlook.

This one is pretty cool, and I thought it would be an interesting way to tie together the two articles above. Like I said, both appeal to different parts of the brain; but which ones specifically? This article, on Inspiring Generosity literally draws it out for you – giving you a visual perspective on which parts of the brain you are influencing with various methods of outreach.

No blog post would be complete without a marketing-based suggestion; after all, who doesn’t want to increase donor engagement? This short article on Ann Green’s Nonprofit Blog reminds us that all of our members are different. For whatever reason, we get caught in the habit of treating our members as a uniform group; we treat them as if they have the same needs, the same interests and the same sort of involvement with the organization. This article implores us to categorically subdivide these members and tailor marketing strategies to fit those interests/needs. Take a look, I have no doubt every organization could benefit.

listenThe goal of the nonprofit sector and the donor or volunteer is to lose themselves in the service of others – “others” being the key word. This article on Nonprofit Quarterly emphasizes the importance of listening in the nonprofit world. We are driven by those who have never personally experienced that which we fight for, so how can we place ourselves in that frame of reference? The honest truth – we can’t. What we can do, however, is listen to those who have. We can learn from their struggles, understand their pain, listen to their suggestions, put that all together and manifest it into a productive and influential solution. Have a look at this article, if anything else, it is thought-provoking and honest.

That’s about it for this week, everybody. Have a safe and fun weekend! Take it easy, you deserve it.