Published Articles

Searching For My Father

Searching For My Father

Belonging has always been a fundamental driver of humankind. – Brian Chesky   Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would ever find my father, or even discover his name. Of course, I wanted to know, but since I had absolutely no information about him, I never gave...

The Power of Resilience

The Power of Resilience

 She stood in the storm and when the wind did not blow her way, she adjusted her sails. ― Elizabeth Edwards   Cross country treks, multiple school changes and always being the “new kid” characterize my childhood. On one hand, it was character building; on the other...

In Service to Others

In Service to Others

Go to the people. Live with them. Learn from them. Love them. Start with what they know. Build with what they have. But with the best leaders, when the work is done, the task accomplished, the people will say 'We have done this ourselves.’ ― Lao Tzu   The idea...

Nonprofit Expert on Alzheimer’s Reveals Unique Approaches to Care

Nonprofit Expert on Alzheimer’s Reveals Unique Approaches to Care

Sam’s mother helped him blow out the candles on his birthday cake. He just turned 33 years old and was diagnosed with a form of dementia two years ago. Sam laughed and clapped his hands as his friends sang him the birthday song. Alma danced an Irish jig to lively...

Winter Escapades in Banff Canada

Winter Escapades in Banff Canada

I bolted off the chairlift at the Top of the World ski run so I wouldn’t get my ski caught with one of the other five people on our chair.  I moved out of the path of skiers coming up behind me as I focused intently on putting my gloved hands through the straps on my...

Richard Haass Elaborates on Things That Matter

Richard Haass Elaborates on Things That Matter

Over 500 people filled the Santa Barbara Hilton Ballroom a rainy March morning, each one still a little sleepy from rising so early to get a good parking place and be inspired by the Westmont President’s Breakfast speaker, Richard Haass. As Westmont President, Gayle...

Six Questions Donors Can Ask Before Donating to a Nonprofit

Six Questions Donors Can Ask Before Donating to a Nonprofit

This is the time of the year donors decide which organizations will receive their charitable gifts. Many give to the same nonprofits each year. Others switch it up. Some are in a quandary. The head and heart are both involved. Each plays an important role. The heart...

East Berlin Prepared Eric Friedman for His Career in Public Service

East Berlin Prepared Eric Friedman for His Career in Public Service

Holding back tears, he tried to blend in with the other kids and act like he belonged. But he was the only American and didn’t know the language. Surrounded by kids from countries he was taught to hate and fear, he wondered if he would survive his first day of Junior...

Cycling Without Age Puts a Smile on Everyone’s Face

Cycling Without Age Puts a Smile on Everyone’s Face

Edna donned her fanciest blouse and a bright blazer in anticipation of her favorite activity. Perched on the half-wall to await her chariot she kept her eyes glued to the entryway. At 89, she felt giddy as a schoolgirl. She heard the trishaw before she saw it....

Time to Get Ready for Giving Tuesday

Time to Get Ready for Giving Tuesday

Giving Tuesday— the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving and the internationally recognized day to contribute to charity — is upon us. Unlike Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday invites us to improve our community by donating to causes that resonate with us. “I...

Time to Assess Your Nonprofit’s Year and Set New Intentions

Time to Assess Your Nonprofit’s 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...

My Journey Through Overwhelming Grief

My Journey Through Overwhelming Grief

The following story is taken from a chapter in my book, My Wild and Precious Life: A Memoir of Joy, Grief & Adventure. This story describes my son’s dying process from cancer, the grief journey of a complex family and the aftermath of this powerful experience....

Your Nonprofit Should Have a Holistic Approach to Cash

Your Nonprofit Should Have a Holistic Approach to Cash

Diane Wondolowski is the Chief Financial Officer of the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History. She has provided stellar service there since 1999. She has served on boards, finance committees, audit committees, and investment committees of a number of nonprofits over...

Beloved Nonprofit Executive Heidi Holly Steps Down After 38 Years

Beloved Nonprofit Executive Heidi Holly Steps Down After 38 Years

"It has truly been an honor to serve our elder generation and I am eternally grateful to learn from their pearls of wisdom, " said Heidi Holly, Executive Director of Friendship Center. "I never imagined that, when I began working at Friendship Center, how much my life...

Five Must-Do’s To Lead Your Nonprofit Like An Ambassador

Five Must-Do’s To Lead Your Nonprofit Like An Ambassador

By Scott Eblin of the Eblin Group Ideally, everyone who works for a company would act as an ambassador for that organization to the public at large. In the rare cases where you see that, it’s a triumph of a highly aligned corporate culture. And, as is true with any...

2023 Promises to be a Powerful Year for Nonprofit’s Earth Day

2023 Promises to be a Powerful Year for Nonprofit’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...

Nonprofit Audit: Best Practices for Preparation and Compliance

Nonprofit Audit: Best Practices for Preparation and Compliance

By Joseph Scarano, CEO of Araize, Inc. A nonprofit audit is an independent examination of a nonprofit organization’s financial statements and records to ensure compliance. An audit can also provide insight into the organization’s financial health and help identify...

How You Start Your Day Is How You Start (And End) Your Year

How You Start Your Day Is How You Start (And End) Your Year

Article written by Scott Eblin of the Eblin Group How you start your day is predictive of how your day is going to end. And a consecutive series of good starts is predictive of not just how your year is going to start but also how it ends. Over the weekend, I saw a...

Nonprofit Pro Ernesto Paredes Explains How To Work A Room

Nonprofit Pro Ernesto Paredes Explains How To Work A Room

When you attend a nonprofit fundraising event, do you notice that some people make a point of speaking with lots of folks, while others talk to the same people for a long time or even just sit at their table? There is an art and a skill to interacting with people in...

Four Components For Successful Nonprofit Board Fundraising

Four Components For Successful Nonprofit Board Fundraising

Are you pleased with your board’s participation in fundraising? Do you wish you could find some way to inspire your board members to advocate more and raise funds for your organization? You aren't alone! Many nonprofits search for ways to help board members become...

Many Nonprofits Are Weighing the Benefits of Hybrid Work Schedules

Many Nonprofits Are Weighing the Benefits of Hybrid Work Schedules

As the pandemic woes fade a bit in our rear-view mirror, many people are left with some uncertainty about the best way to move forward in their work life. Creating the most effective work schedules can be confusing, for executives and employees alike. Should we tell...

Six Questions Donors Can Ask Before Contributing to a Nonprofit

Six Questions Donors Can Ask Before Contributing to a Nonprofit

This time of year, many donors begin contemplating their charitable giving. Some supporters give to their same favorite nonprofits every year. They are very clear about which organizations and causes resonate with their interests and experiences. Others are unsure...

10 Tactics to Keep Your Meeting on Track

10 Tactics to Keep Your Meeting on Track

Discover how to keep your meetings on track. Read this Harvard Business Review article from January 5, 2022 by Joel Schwartzberg Too many meeting leaders think their job ends when the meeting starts orthat they merely serve as note-taker and “agenda police.” But, as...

Our Wild Adventures in the Mediterranean

Our Wild Adventures in the Mediterranean

Our driver, Hakeem, picked us up at 5:00 a.m. on Wednesday, October 5, to whisk us off to our beloved Santa Barbara airport to begin our exciting adventure to the Mediterranean. Our first short flight took us to LAX, and after a two-hour layover we were off to...

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...