Published Articles

Nonprofit Boards Seek Out Young Professionals for Diversity

Nonprofit Boards Seek Out Young Professionals for Diversity

“I would really like to serve on a nonprofit board of directors,” Hector said sheepishly. “But do you think anyone would want me?” Hector was a young professional working as a relationship manager in a local bank. He had asked to meet with me to find out if I thought...

Irresponsible Board Destroyed Their Nonprofit

Irresponsible Board Destroyed Their Nonprofit

Many of my articles focus on recommendations for nonprofit board best practices. While it is important for board members to know their roles and responsibilities, it is equally critical that they realize what to avoid. Today’s article will tell you about a board that...

Set Your Nonprofit Up For Success in With This Five-Step Process

Set Your Nonprofit Up For Success in With This Five-Step Process

As each year draws to a close, I encourage organizations look back over the past months and make a list of their accomplishments. Most nonprofits are so focused on projects lying ahead that they forget to reflect on their successes. Yet, acknowledging triumphs can...

Our Trip of a Lifetime to Tahiti on the Paul Gauguin ship

Our Trip of a Lifetime to Tahiti on the Paul Gauguin ship

Originally, we planned to take Dennis’ entire family of 14 on a cruise around Tahiti to celebrate his 80th birthday and graduation for some of his grandkids. However, the pandemic had other plans. We tried to reschedule twice to no avail. Finally, it looked like the...

Our Wildly Active Travels in Wales, Scotland and London

Our Wildly Active Travels in Wales, Scotland and London

It was the beginning of our grand adventure: a week of hiking in Wales, a week of cycling through Scotland, and a visit to London to meet my new sister, Susie. Our driver, Hakim, was scheduled to pick us up to take us to the Santa Barbara airport for a leisurely Noon...

The Relationship Between the Nonprofit Executive and the Board Chair

The Relationship Between the Nonprofit Executive and the Board Chair

The significance of a great executive director/board chair relationship cannot be over-stated. A strong, well-functioning board is one of a nonprofit’s most important assets, and one that is often underutilized.  It’s only when the executive and board chair work in...

6 Steps for Building a More Diverse Nonprofit Board of Directors

6 Steps for Building a More Diverse Nonprofit Board of Directors

When I served as CEO of the tri-counties Girl Scouts, we had a saying. “When I look at you, do I see me?” That question kept us on track for ensuring that people who served on our board of directors reflected the communities we served. Nowadays, that question is more...

How You Can Optimize Your Year-End Giving to Nonprofits

How You Can Optimize Your Year-End Giving to Nonprofits

Now is a good time to start planning your year-end charitable giving, if you haven’t completed it already. It’s time for you to be doing your IRA’s required minimum distribution, preparing for qualified charitable distributions, and updating your charitable giving...

What Type of Nonprofit Leader Are You?

What Type of Nonprofit Leader Are You?

By Catie Taphorn on Dec 06, 2021 in Nonprofit Boards I recently read this article and enjoyed it so much that I wanted to share it with my readers. The article outlines seven types of leadership models patterned after Plato's ideas. Check it out to discover what type...

Our Wild Alaska Adventure

Our Wild Alaska Adventure

Dennis, his son Jeff, and I were off on a grand adventure to visit friends in Alaska. I was so excited about the trip because I had never been to Alaska, and it was at the top of my bucket list. It turned out to be a trip of a lifetime! On Thursday, July 29, 2021, we...

Board Members Are the Best Flag Wavers for Their Nonprofit

Board Members Are the Best Flag Wavers for Their Nonprofit

When is the last time you talked with a friend or acquaintance about your nonprofit’s work? Sometimes such a conversation starts organically or almost by accident, but as a board member you can be intentional about discussing causes you believe in. You don’t have to...

Is it Time for Your Nonprofit to Evaluate its Mission?

Is it Time for Your Nonprofit to Evaluate its Mission?

One board member of a regional organization dedicated to providing guide dogs for the visually impaired suggested that the group branch out to include production of a healthy dog food product. Another board member said he heard of a new grant that would fund provision...

How to Talk to Employees About Reopening

How to Talk to Employees About Reopening

Is your nonprofit planning to reopen soon? Have you planned how the work schedule and environment will be different? Most importantly, have you discussed this with your employees so they know what to expect? This insightful article from Harvard Business Review will...

2021 Promises to be a Powerful Year for Nonprofit CEC’s Earth Day

2021 Promises to be a Powerful Year for Nonprofit CEC’s Earth Day

Senator Gaylord Nelson (D-WI) was outraged when he toured the major oil spill off the coast of Santa Barbara in August of 1969. Nelson also went away that day impressed with the many people who rallied to clean up the mess. Witnessing the miles and miles of beaches...

Is Your Nonprofit Ready for Hybrid Work?

Is Your Nonprofit Ready for Hybrid Work?

At the start of the pandemic, chances are your work life changed. If your role remained, you likely moved from working in the office to working from home. That was a big change for many people to adapt to working apart from each other. From the time we closed offices,...

Leading Boards in a Virtual World

Leading Boards in a Virtual World

Arnold Baker was worried. As board chair of the Davis County Food Bank, he perceived a gradual decline in the sense of connection trustees felt with the organization and between one another over the course of 2020. He suspected it had to do with the board’s move to...

Local Nonprofits Prepare for the Post-Vaccine Reality

Local Nonprofits Prepare for the Post-Vaccine Reality

This article will highlight how some of our local nonprofits are responding to the unknown new reality which will emerge from post-vaccine challenges. One thing is for sure, uncertainty will continue to weave through our every decision and prediction. Let’s begin by...

The Career Path of a Nonprofit Leader

The Career Path of a Nonprofit Leader

Through my work at Leading From Within over the years, I’vehad the good fortune to know many nonprofit leaders. They’re a special group of people that are uniquely called to make the world better than they found it. Many of them sacrifice a great deal in their...

Working with Legislators: A Nonprofit Board Member’s Guide

Working with Legislators: A Nonprofit Board Member’s Guide

BoardSource has published this excellent guide for board members to learn more about how to work with their legislators. One of the most rewarding things about serving as a nonprofit board member is the opportunity it affords to help create positive change. Board...

Help your Nonprofit Prepare for the Post-Vaccine Realities

Help your Nonprofit Prepare for the Post-Vaccine Realities

It appears that in just a few weeks many of our nonprofit staff and board members will have received the COVID-19 vaccine, ushering in a new set of challenges and changes. Here is an important piece of background information to consider. On Dec. 16, 2020, employers...

How COVID May Impact Your Year-End Giving

How COVID May Impact Your Year-End Giving

Most people have a list of their favorite charities that they donate to at year end. But the impact of the coronavirus on our nonprofits might shine a different light on your charitable giving. According to Philanthropy News Digest private donations increased 12...

Nonprofits Have Reason to be Hopeful in the Midst of the Pandemic

Nonprofits Have Reason to be Hopeful in the Midst of the Pandemic

Most nonprofits are scrambling for survival more than ever before. The pandemic restrictions have put the skids on their critical work in the community, raised havoc with their fundraising efforts and left many wondering if they will even be able to endure. Yet two...

Become Aware of How COVID is Impacting Breast Cancer Services

Become Aware of How COVID is Impacting Breast Cancer Services

According to the American Cancer Society breast cancer is the most common cancer in American women, except for skin cancers. Currently the average risk of a woman in the United States developing breast cancer sometime in her life is about 13 percent. Each year, about...

COVID is Endangering Nonprofit Sustainability, Demanding New Skills

COVID is Endangering Nonprofit Sustainability, Demanding New Skills

“The new five-year strategic plan is to stay afloat through 2020,” a local nonprofit leader was recently overheard saying. Many nonprofits agree with him. According to the American Alliance of Museums, more than half of all museums have less than six months of...

Assessing the Financial Health of your Nonprofit during COVID

Assessing the Financial Health of your Nonprofit during COVID

Be sure to read this excellent article from Blue Avocado about assessing the financial health of your nonprofit during COVID. by Suja Amir MPA on August 18, 2020 Covid-19 has created dramatic changes in the financial markets. Nonprofits such as private schools,...

Four Strategies to help your Nonprofit’s COVID Reopening Plans

Four Strategies to help your Nonprofit’s COVID Reopening Plans

As nonprofits and businesses begin to plan to reopen their facilities, there are several aspects to consider. It’s important for leaders to understand where their people are mentally and prepare accordingly. Some will be enthusiastic about returning to the office,...

Book Review: The Motive by Patrick Lencioni

Book Review: The Motive by Patrick Lencioni

Are you the CEO or E.D. of your nonprofit—or even a middle manager? Do you think you are serving in a leadership role because of your mission—for the benefit of your organization—or for your own benefit? Patrick Lencioni says the answer may surprise you. I would...

Use Scenario Planning to Create your Nonprofit’s New Normal

Use Scenario Planning to Create your Nonprofit’s New Normal

Our last article highlighted William Bridges’ work with Transitions. He advised starting at the end rather than at the beginning so that we can let go of the old before we pick up the new. This period is followed by what he calls the neutral zone where “old and...

9 actionable ways to lead with transparency in uncertain times

9 actionable ways to lead with transparency in uncertain times

I think you’ll enjoy this article from Smart Brief by Joel Garfinkle entitled, 9 actionable ways to lead with transparency in uncertain times. He points out that, according to Gallup, only 39% of U.S. employees strongly agree that their employer has communicated a...

Does Your Nonprofit Have a Thank You Policy?

Does Your Nonprofit Have a Thank You Policy?

I was surprised at a local nonprofit fundraising event recently. During the event, three people made a point of thanking me for my financial support. I only knew one of them, the Executive Director, the other two were a staff member and a volunteer. They all knew my...

Scenario Planning: Drive Strategic Action And Real ROI

Scenario Planning: Drive Strategic Action And Real ROI

Scenario planning can help your nonprofit prepare for a range of possible futures. First, by helping leadership understand what those futures may look like and grapple with hard questions about disruption and change. Next, by providing a framework for making small,...

Effective Decision-Making by Nobel Prize Winner

Effective Decision-Making by Nobel Prize Winner

Seven hundred attendees sat transfixed at the Westmont President’s Breakfast as they listened to the wisdom of Dr. Daniel Kahneman. Nobel Prize winner in Economics, recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and bestselling author of Thinking, Fast and Slow, he...

Keep Your Nonprofit Board Out of the Weeds

Keep Your Nonprofit Board Out of the Weeds

Recently I have encountered several nonprofit boards meddling in their organization’s operations rather than using their energies for the real job of governance and building relationships with donors. Some of these boards don’t seem to realize they are neglecting...

The Impact of Great and Terrible Leaders

The Impact of Great and Terrible Leaders

This article republished from Leadership Now. By Jacob Morgan. January 15, 2020 Most people have been around a bad leader at some point. Someone who doesn’t communicate, sets impossible expectations, or is just difficult to be around. You’ve likely experienced the...

Linking Strategy with Planning brings Success to your Nonprofit

Linking Strategy with Planning brings Success to your Nonprofit

In his seminal book, Reinventing Strategy, Willie Pietersen says, “strategic planning is an oxymoron.” Strategy is one thing; planning quite another, claims Pietersen. He explains that strategy begins with divergent thinking, whereas planning is an exercise in...

Is Your Nonprofit Ready for Giving Tuesday?

Is Your Nonprofit Ready for Giving Tuesday?

Still trying to figure out what this Giving Tuesday is all about? Were you an early adopter of this seven year movement? Or have you recently jumped on this fast moving bandwagon? Whichever the case, you will want to be part of it so you don’t get left behind. The...

How to Start a Nonprofit Side Hustle: Know the Basics

First, the bad news. Because of the economy, many nonprofit professionals (in addition to many other professionals) are looking for ways to earn extra money due to being laid off from their jobs or being placed on part-time status by their organizations. But the good...

Dream Big and Plan Strategically for Your Nonprofit in 2019

Dream Big and Plan Strategically for Your Nonprofit in 2019

As we prepare to celebrate Martin Luther King Day, his famous “I have a dream” speech rings in our ears. In 1963, as he stood at the foot of the Lincoln Memorial, his dream seemed impossible to many. And yet, he clearly believed in his goals. He spent the next five...

Reignite Your Nonprofit Board’s Passion with a Powerful Retreat

Reignite Your Nonprofit Board’s Passion with a Powerful Retreat

How long has it been since your nonprofit board held a retreat? Was it productive or a waste of time? Did it leave everyone reenergized or reeling from boredom? Planning is the key to success. A board retreat is an unparalleled opportunity for progress forward. It can...

Assess and Celebrate Your Nonprofits Year and Set New Intentions

Assess and Celebrate Your Nonprofits Year and Set New Intentions

As each year draws to a close, I encourage organizations look back over the past months and make a list of their accomplishments. Most nonprofits are so focused on projects lying ahead that they forget to reflect on their successes. Yet, acknowledging triumphs can...

When Disaster Strikes, Nonprofits Respond to Community Needs

When Disaster Strikes, Nonprofits Respond to Community Needs

Those familiar with the nonprofit sector often remind us of their critical services—for needs not met by government or business. Nonprofits stand in the gap. We have come to depend on their important work. Every day. And when disaster strikes this important work...