Author Archives: Elizabeth Ortiz
November 4, 2011, 1:44 pm
The economy’s slow recovery has prompted many nonprofit leaders to wonder how to prepare for what could be an even tougher and longer road out of the recession than anybody expected. While concerns about the possibility of a double-dip recession come and go, it is probably wise to follow the old adage to prepare for the worst and hope for the best.
Here’s what it means to prepare:
Shore up the revenue and find your weak spots
Don’t assume that because you have always received a grant from a particular donor that you will continue to receive one next year. Reach out to your longtime grant makers, arm them today with real information about the value of your work. Do it now even if your annual report is not due until December. Look for reasons to remind them why your work—and hence their money—is essential.
Listen and try to understand how your grant makers are think…
December 16, 2010, 7:24 am
Even though I am nearly a quarter-century beyond my economics degree, I read the many articles in recent months on the possibility of a double-dip recession—or just a long-term shaky economy—with more than a little bit of hyperventilation.
But to avoid real panic, I have learned a few coping mechanisms, and one of the best is to stare down the thing you fear as the first step toward being able to manage it. Here are my three biggest fears–and suggestions for how all us who manage nonprofits can face down these worries:
What will happen to nonprofits? The last two years have been among the most difficult in recent memory. Organizations made difficult choices and hard sacrifices, and some came up with creative ideas—all to keep operating and serving their communities. I fear many have very little powder dry for another assault. Some will fail, and others will have to…
August 26, 2010, 5:00 pm
I was talking with my colleagues today about the “tyranny of language” in our sector.
What does that mean?
In a way, it’s about good intentions gone horribly awry. Think about it—our addiction to high ideals and even loftier aspirations results in grant proposals and mission statements and bold promises that burden even our most creative and charismatic leaders with performance obligations that are impossible to meet. The result: burnout and a sense of failure that is frequently unwarranted.
If it were up to me, I would eliminate the following three words from the nonprofit vocabulary: innovative, transformative, and impactful. Here’s why:
Impactful. For starters, it’s not even a word (even if it is in Wikipedia). It’s not that achieving impact in concrete and measureable terms is unimportant to the nonprofit cause. It is. But defining, measuring, synthesizing, and…