Sustainable School Fundraising

Imagine this: you’re at home, relaxing, and you get a knock on the door from adorable3rd graders selling unhealthy foods like cookies and candy. The 3rd graders are so cute and you want to contribute help but you pause and wonder, “Do I really want to buy what they are selling?” I find myself in this situation very often and I donate money without taking the product that is being sold.

Recently, I analyzed the rate of return from my children’s school fundraiser and was very surprised. Joe Corbi’s fundraiser kit has a 50% return of profit and it …read more

7 Deadly Habits of the Holidays

Can I hang a 'Closed for the Holidays' sign around my neck? Too obvious?

It’s that time of year again, when budget and reporting deadlines are down to the wire and holiday party invitations are flying at you faster than you can whip up a batch of eggnog.

Now is the time to remember that your most important resource is YOU!

So take a deep breath, silence your phone and you may just keep your sanity for 2014.

Accommodation. It’s time to make peace with saying ‘No’. Friends and co-workers will understand if you can’t participate in every project or activity. Bowing out of some things sets reasonable expectations for everyone. Saying you won’t …read more

Will you be ready if a disaster hits your neighborhood?

September is National Preparedness Month; will you be ready in a time of disaster? 2012 had a variety of disasters, including Hurricane Sandy and the California Wildfires. How would you have dealt with these events? Federal and local government can only do so much to prepare us; they are the most proactive after the event has occurred. As a community it is important that we take collective action when disaster strikes.

Below are some steps to being ready:

1) Get the training you need for disaster. Disaster Ready.Org provides online training in being prepared. Their training is geared towards …read more

Is Your Website Sustaining Your Organization?

While social media is changing the web, your organization’s website can still be the corner stone for getting people engaged, telling your story, and supporting the mission of your organization. You want a website that attracts and keeps visitors returning as well as inspire them to get involved.

How do you build a website with a clear case for support for your organization? Make sure a visitor to your website can easily

1. Understand immediately the urgency of the problem for which your organization exists

People generally only stay on websites for 2-3 minutes. In that time you need to …read more

The Delicate Dance Between Minutiae and The Big Picture

Objective (Photo credit: Pedro J. Ferreira)

One of the biggest problems that I have with most organizational development tips is that they focus too much on tactics and not enough on strategy. Or they focus too much on strategy and not enough on tactics. While you don’t want to get mired in a marsh of minutiae, you also don’t want to drift unfocused in a big picture sea.

As entrepreneurs and social change agents we all have work responsibilities that require us to dive deep in the minutiae to get stuff done, but in order to be achieve organizational …read more

Community Asset Mapping

Do you know all of the resources that your community has to make it stronger? Every community contains resources that can be harnessed to make it a more sustainable, vibrant place to live. But many of these resources are undiscovered and untapped.

While most communities have leaders and associations that meet on a regular basis to address community needs, traditionally conversations have focused on the external resources that the community lacks, or any number of the things that aren’t going well. Unsurprisingly, this approach rarely leaves residents feeling empowered and motivated to address these problems.

A better approach is …read more

Doing Good Goes to the Movies

How much would it cost to eliminate poverty? According to Lant Pritchett of the Harvard Kennedy School, “the world could eliminate extreme poverty for about $45 billion a year, or roughly the amount spent on movie tickets annually worldwide.” At first this quote seems depressing, how can we live in the world where more people are willing to shell out money to go see Transformers 3 then give to help change a fellow human’s life?

However as an entrepreneur I ask a different question: how do you make solving poverty as appealing as buying a movie ticket? This quote smells …read more

Co-Creating Community


As a newcomer to Charm City, it’s managed to quickly capture my heart with its quirky neighborhoods and rich history. Being a transplant from the Midwest, Baltimore’s industrial past has easily made me feel at home. Like other metropolitan areas, Baltimore has been struggling during the economic crisis of the past few years and is turning to development to raise its profile. This neighborhood reinvestment is especially needed here as Baltimore City’s population has been declining since the 50’s. A loss of almost 35% of city residents has left Baltimore with numerous vacant homes and near-abandoned blocks.

Reinvestment to the …read more

The Service Bowl Comes to Baltimore

Mayor Edwin Lee will join us in Baltimore next week to fulfill his end of the Super Bowl wager with Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. Sure, he’ll be forsaking his Dungeness for our Chesapeake Blue with a trip down to Lexington Market for Baltimore’s world famous crab cakes. Yet his trip is about more than crabs, Mayor Lee is here for a higher purpose: service. He and Mayor Rawlings-Blake will be joining 200 AmeriCorps and local volunteers for a day of volunteering.

So how does the Charm City fare against the City by the Bay when it comes to service? Baltimore’s volunteer …read more

New Year’s Fundraising Resolution Tips from Dr. Phil!

It’s New Year’s resolution time and although we all mean well, it difficult to keep those resolutions going throughout the year. TV personality and psychologist Dr. Phil recently did a show on New Year’s resolutions where he identified 7 key steps to making effective resolutions and keeping them. According to Dr. Phil, the 7 steps are: 1. Be specific about your goal. 2. Set a goal that is measurable. 3. Set a timeline. 4. Be sure your resolution is something that you control. 5. Integrate it into your lifestyle. 6. Make a step by step plan. 7. Be accountable.

By …read more