Resource Library

October 17, 2017

From the Inside Out: An Autobiography

“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.” — Benjamin Franklin The phrase “from the inside out” is popular these days, more so that I realized when I chose the title for my book on nonprofit strategy. Books have been written under this heading on such diverse topics as parenting, leadership, student grading, […]

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August 29, 2017

Strategy Made Simple

There is a certain elegance in the simple presentation of a complex idea. From science, we know that E equals MC squared. And from the Old Testament were are instructed to love kindness, seek justice, and walk humbly. Easy to understand in both cases, but equally profound in their implications. When it comes to strategic planning, I doubt […]

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August 01, 2017

The Most Misunderstood Word in the Nonprofit Sector

Okay, I’ll spare you the drama. The word is STRATEGY. Too many nonprofit boards and executives do not know what it is, why it matters, or how it works in the nonprofit sector. Consequently, the terms strategy, along with its adjective cousin strategic, lack the fixed meaning that prevents them from being employed as a […]

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February 17, 2017

Book Announcement

I am pleased – and relieved – to announce that my book, Strategy from the Inside Out, will be available soon. After several years of writing, months of simmering, and several rounds of edits, I have what I believe is an alternative approach to strategy that is sensitive to the unique characteristics of the nonprofit […]

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August 07, 2016

Vulnerability: A Deeper Dive Into the Nonprofit Funding Challenge

Sustainability is understood generally as a measure of the ability of an organization to create mission impact without depleting its human and financial resources. As noted by Masaoka and her colleagues, sustainability is not a destination, but an orientation. In other words, there is no finish line in the journey toward financial viability. To appreciate […]

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June 28, 2016

“I Don’t Know Quite How to Say This”: The Language of Strategy

Words matter. More specifically, the meaning that we attach to words matter. The psychologist Lev Vygotsky, in a seminal work in the area of cognitive science, first introduced the idea that language – the words we use to communicate – shapes the form and scope of our internal thoughts. While there have been variations on […]

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April 13, 2016

The Sociological Imagination: How to Build a Culture of Board Governance

Sometimes, we need a wider lens to get a fuller view of the landscape. If we want to capture the vastness of the forest, for example, a close-up image of a single tree will not provide the proper perspective. Whatever the object, if we zoom in too tightly, we have no context for understanding the […]

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February 20, 2015

How Nonprofit Strategy is Different

Nonprofits are bombarded with books (and consultants!) presenting a range of approaches to strategy development, many of them in the form of boilerplate templates imported from the for-profit sector. But lest we throw out the baby with the bathwater, let’s acknowledge the value to nonprofits of the traditional for-profit approaches to strategy. For-profit strategy reminds […]

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April 17, 2013

Beyond the Obvious: What a “Funding Problem” May Reveal about a Nonprofit

Note: This article was published on the CausePlanet website on March 31, 2013. Ask any nonprofit board member or executive director what poses the greatest challenge to their organization and you are likely to hear this: “our greatest challenge is lack of adequate funding.” While they may not be able to offer a complex analysis […]

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February 08, 2013

Preaching to the Choir: Reaching the Right People with the Right Message

The prevailing wisdom among nonprofits when it comes to fundraising goes something like this: “If more people know about us, we will raise more money.” The reality, however, is more nuanced and goes something like this: If the right people know the right things about you, there is a greater likelihood that you will raise […]

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