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

The Leader You’re Looking For Is You


Today’s anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom has left me feeling…hollow. While I celebrate how far our country has come in the past 50 years, I lament that most remember this as the anniversary of the ‘I Have a Dream’ speech.

In front of 170 W 130 St., March on Washington, l to r, Bayard Rustin, Deputy Director, and Cleveland Robinson, Chairman of Administrative Committee / World Telegram & Sun photo by O. Fernandez. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

America’s preoccupation with leaders and figureheads has done our nation a collective disservice. We remember the singular man …read more

Better Leverage Your Community’s Assets

Asset Map from March Social Innovation Forum (Photo credit: Aaron | Dan)

We’ve spoken in the past about how communities have within them many of the resources it needs to prosper and about how you can uncover these hidden assets through a process called asset mapping. Asset mapping is the process by a community inventories its assets and capabilities. The process can take many forms, but is a positive way of identifying both strengths and gaps and identifying a plan for moving forward. Asset based approaches to building community are not prescriptive, but rather are forms of engagement and …read more

Make That Connection Personal

Facebook, LinkedIn, Skype, smartphones, and other social media tools mean we can pass messages much faster and more frequently. With everyone in a time crunch and trying to cover as much ground as possible, these tools can help us, especially when we need to transmit messages to many people. However, these tools also serve as a wall that protects us from real interactions.

In their book The Generosity Network Jennifer McCrea, Jeffrey C. Walker and Karl Weber show us how person-to-person connections lead to discovery, growth—and often amazing results. Below they give us some tips to make our …read more

Penalties for Charities: Government Oversight or Not

There has been a lot of conversation about charities that are not charitable. This conversation is forcing state governments to create regulations to ensure that charities are doing what they are supposed to be doing. For instance, the state of Oregon’s Governor signed legislation that would penalize charities that spends less than 30% on programs verses fundraising and administrative expenses and California has increased penalties for the misuse of funds by charitable organizations.

I am opening the floor for a spirited debate: Should our state governments provide oversight on charities’ operations or do you think that the …read more

The Merits of Slacktivism

One of the constant criticisms of the internet age is its role in the rise of Slacktivisim, actions that let people feel like they have made a difference, with little positive or even a negative impact. Slacktivists will change their profile picture, sign a petition, or tweet out a statement but are not willing to engage more fully in the cause by volunteering, donating, or getting out in the community.

While I am guilty of being frustrated by people who change their social media profile in lieu of meaningful engagement, I also think Slacktivism has its merits. In the right …read more

Grassroots Fundraising Can Be Personal

Many organizations see grassroots fundraising as scattershot fundraising, where you want to hit as many targets as possible, without too much time spent on perfecting your aim. It’s often used when seeking small donations from unknown, uncultivated donors.

In Community Health Funding Report, Ryan Li Dahlstrom, Grassroots Fundraising Institute Training (GIFT) fundraising director, says grassroots fundraising is more than asking for money. “It can be thought of as giving people a chance to make a difference in something they personally care about, “

Dahlstrom urges fundraisers to build an ongoing relationship based on mutual concerns rather than focusing on obtaining …read more

Expanding National Service, It’s American

FEMA – 42581 – Volunteers in Service to America working in Iowa (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Civic involvement characterizes democracy in America; the French philosopher Alexis de Tocqueville was so struck by it in the 1830s that he praised American’s commitment to voluntary service in his book Democracy in America. Alexis de Tocqueville’s observations on American philanthropy holds true today. In 2011, the number of volunteers reached its highest level in five years, as 64.3 million Americans volunteered through an organization, an increase of 1.5 million from 2010. Americans volunteered a total of almost 8 billion hours, an estimated …read more

Is It Your Head or Is It Your Heart?

A recent exposé detailed the failings of the 50 Worst Charities. The inquiry by the Tampa Bay Times and the Center for Investigative Reporting, joined by CNN, highlighted charities that channel most of the money they raise to professional solicitors, mimic other charities’ names, deceive donors on telemarketing calls, divert money and contracts to people with ties to their organizations, and use accounting tricks to inflate the amount they report spending on their missions.

This report is a hard call for donors to perform due diligence on the organizations they are asked to support.

Of course there are many nonprofits …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