From April 18–24, the country celebrated Volunteer Appreciation Week. During this week, I saw many social media posts and received quite a few emails expressing gratitude for the volunteers at various nonprofits.

I couldn’t help but wonder how nonprofit organizations appreciate their volunteers the rest of the year.

In the nonprofit sector, we talk a great deal about donor appreciation and recognition. Even to the point that this “donor-centric” approach is being challenged by the voices from the community-centric fundraising movement. Two of the 10 principles of community-centric fundraising are:

4. All who engage in strengthening the community are equally…

I’m not sure who said it first — and I don’t think it was in the context of fundraising, but the phrase “Your lack of planning does not constitute an emergency on my part” certainly seems to apply.

Your budget, fiscal year-end, the December 31st calendar year-end, or your fundraising goal is not a REASON for a donor to make a gift to your organization. …

Profitability is a relative term that considers an organization’s efficiency in making a profit relative to its resources. Like “return on investment,” profitability in a for-profit entity calculates how much money it takes to raise a dollar.

Distinguishing between profit and profitability is vital because a nonprofit’s purpose is not making a profit for shareholders but impacting society. If you make a difference with a few resources, you demonstrate you’ll have a more significant impact with more resources. This speaks to your profitability.

The question is, can you articulate for a potential donor how their gift will make an impact…

A few days ago, a memory of a 2015 Facebook post popped up on my timeline — and unlike many other memories that I ignore — I took a look at this one and decided to share. The topic was “The Front Porch.”

To narrate is to provide a spoken or written account of an event or series of events.

As do-gooders, as those looking to have a positive impact on the world, and as nonprofit fundraisers — it is our responsibility to provide a spoken or written account of the situation, the problem, the programs or productions — the who, what, when, where, why and how of our mission.

The trick, though, is to ensure that — as narrator — we don’t drown out the voices of the active characters involved. Let’s not be afraid to let individuals narrate their own stories…

Folx in the nonprofit sector often reject the notion that they “should operate more like a business.” The problem with the assertion to be “more like” a business is that it fundamentally ignores the reality that a nonprofit IS a business. You can’t be “more like” something you already are! A nonprofit is a business that operates differently than a for-profit business — that’s all. And, for that matter, not all for-profit businesses operate alike!

To successfully achieve your vision and fulfill your mission, to avoid mission creep, and to exist with purpose, you need to manage your mission. Remember…

“The world is filled with people living their backup plans.”

I don’t remember when or where I heard this line in the last year or so — but I remember feeling like it was meant to be both a judgment and a motivating call to action. I couldn’t help wondering — Am I? Am I living my backup plan?

My earliest “plan” — of memory — was “going to heaven.”

I have vague memories from early childhood, when arguing with my 7 siblings, of shouting, “You’re just mad because I have to go to heaven and you don’t.” …

A few months ago, I realized “Narcissa,” whom I’d considered a friend, did just that. Each time we got together, she shared story after story about her life and why she knew more than those around her. When I first noticed, I thought maybe it was a fluke. The last time we got together, I took closer note. During our two hours together, I barely spoke, and never once did she initiate interest in what was happening in my life. Of course, we all lend a listening ear when a friend is in need or simply needs a sounding board…

Janet Mary Cobb

holistic living; diversity & inclusion; parenting; cooking; women; midlife; challenging the status quo — author, editor

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