Hey job applicants, stop doing these dumbass things

chihuahua-puppy-958203_960_720Hi everyone. I went to get my tattoo touched up today, and holy hummus, it hurt like a federal contract! Luckily, Game of Thrones is back. Watching GOT with a sleeping newborn on your chest while imbibing one or more bottles of hard apple cider to blunt the pain of your tattoo touchup is one of the joys of life.

All of that to say, I am not sure how coherent this post is going to be. Last week, we talked how to treat job candidates nicer. See “Hey, can we be a little nicer to job applicants and stop treating them like crap?” I remember how stressful and even existentially horrifying it was to find a job. A moment that I will always remember was an interview I bombed. So tell us about some of your strengths, the interview panel asked, to which I replied, “I, uh, um, well, I am, you see—uh, um, I have excellent communication skills.” Did not get that job.

So I have a lot of sympathy and empathy for our colleagues who are trying to find work. This week, I asked the NWB Facebook Community as well as ED Happy Hour’s Facebook group to name mistakes that job candidates frequently make. I got nearly 350 comments. I’ve combed out a few key ones into a list of not just dumbass things you should avoid, but also some things you should do. This list is by no means comprehensive, or groundbreaking. Please add other advice, or argue any of the points, in the comment section. Continue Reading…

Hey, can we be a little nicer to job applicants and stop treating them like crap?

red-panda-1194504_960_720Hi everyone. I am in Washington DC giving a keynote at the Nonprofit Talent and Culture Summit on the importance of our sector’s investment in our most valuable resource: Sticky dots. No, just kidding: our professionals. So this post may be kind of hastily written, since I must find and put pictures of cute baby animals on my PowerPoint deck. (An entire post will be written later on the strategic deployment of cute baby animal pictures).

Today, I want to talk about being nice to job applicants. After doing lots of hiring, talking to friends who are applying for jobs, and having applied to jobs before (#OxfordCommaForever!), I realize just how demoralizing it can be out there for job candidates. A colleague told me he had three interviews with a panel of grumpy-ass people, got berated for asking a question “out of turn,” and didn’t hear from them for weeks. This was for a half-time entry-level position. WTF.

There are tons of tips out there for job applicants about how to stand out and improve their chances of securing that dream job. Today, let’s bring some balance. We in the nonprofit sector pride ourselves on equity, community, and social justice. And yet we still have some terrible habits that we need to break. For some reason, probably because of the power dynamics between employers and job applicants, otherwise-awesome organizations sometimes treat candidates like crap, like “others” instead of potential partners in our shared quest to create a better world. This often mirrors the injustice we nonprofits feel when treated like “others” by funders due to the power dynamics in funding. Continue Reading…

15 poems about nonprofit that will move, anger, and inspire you

road-1226873_960_720Hi everyone. Thank you to all who participated in NWB’s first-ever nonprofit poetry contest. This weekend, the two other judges (Nate Thomas of Rainier Beach Action Coalition, and Rainier Valley Corps Fellow, and Jody Schreffler of Nonstop Wellness, the contest’s sponsor, who is providing the cash prizes) and I spent hours reading through the 260 entries we received. We had no idea what to expect, but we all left this experience feeling grateful and inspired, even moved.

Some of the poems were hilarious. Some were bitter. Some were hilarious and bitter. Others were touching. A few were hysterically crass or vulgar. Many poems taught us a something new, made us think. Clearly we have a lot of talented poets in our sector, with many of us sublimating our artistic talents so we can keep our organizations and programs running.

This was an incredibly difficult task to choose 3 winners among the 260. At the end, we chose poems that revealed a glimpse into our sector, that made us think and feel some sort of emotion, that haunted us, even if we don’t agree with the content. They are below, after a list of honorable mentions. Nate, Jody, and I admit that our system is not perfect, and that if we reread the entries again, our reactions to the poems may change completely. That’s the wonderful nature of poetry though, in that different poems affect us differently in different times and circumstances. So if you don’t see your poem below, please know that this is not a reflection on how awesome you are. There were many beautiful poems that are not included here. It was a tough and painful decision, and the judges didn’t agree on everything. What we all did agree on, though, was how grateful we are that you took time from your work of making the world better to share your art with us. Continue Reading…

The role of the Oxford Comma in nonprofit communications

cat-and-dog-975023_960_720Hi everyone, today we must address an issue that has been causing much tension, grief, and consternation in our sector, as well as in other fields. This is an issue that has ruined friendships, pitted family members against each other, and caused numerous heartbreaking divorces. Normally, this would refer to restricted funding. But today, I am actually talking about the Oxford Comma.

The Oxford Comma, or serial comma, is the last comma in a sentence like this: “Please get hummus, broccoli, baby carrots, and pita chips for the finance meeting.” It is used when listing out a bunch of things, and always comes before the word “and” or “or.” Some people have been advocating for us all to do away with this comma altogether, while others have been vociferously defending it. Both sides have created t-shirts, a sign of unyielding conviction in our society.

In light of this contentiousness, I would like to initiate an objective, balanced discussion on the Oxford Comma by saying: ALL Y’ALL WHO WANT TO GET RID OF THE OXFORD COMMA ARE WRONG, WRONG, AND WRONG!!! Continue Reading…

Alarmists, disruptors, weasels, and 9 other annoying types of people in nonprofit

opossum-309264_960_720Hi everyone, life with a newborn has been going well. The baby has all these cute and amusing facial expressions, and he smells really nice, like general operating funds. In my sleep-deprived state, however, my memory is terrible, and I’ve been having more vivid and terrifying dreams. For instance, the other day I dreamed I was attacked by this aggressive possum who kept biting my pant legs and I kept trying to kick at it in futility. I woke up in cold sweat and remembered it was time to plan our annual gala.

So anyway, there’s no deep analysis in today’s post. Instead, I want to continue my belated birthday tradition of poorly edited ranting about people who get on my nerves. Last year, I ranted about board members who don’t give, people who suck at designing forms, the reply-all people, volunteers who only want to do stuff around the holidays, people who don’t respond to Doodle polls, the chronically late, gossipers, whiners, people who don’t follow through and are sucky team players, automatic naysayers, people who should work for for-profits, and those who don’t wash their damn dishes.

Thanks to the NWB Facebook Community, we can add to the list. Now, 95% of people in our sector are awesome. But we can all certainly improve. Check these out below, and if you’re guilty of any of them, stop it right now: Continue Reading…