Some positive feedback and appreciation for funders

heart-1450300_960_720A few months ago, our grantwriter and I dealt with a grant for $4,000 that comprised a five-page narrative and about 10 attachments. Luckily, of course, we have most of those documents ready in our Master Grant folder. The kicker, though, was the unusual requirement for us to print out a document with ten labels, each corresponding to one of the attachments, and literally cut out each of the tabs and paste it on to the attachments. So there I was, handling a glue stick for the first time in years, carefully pasting each tab. I was getting more and more irritated, gritting my teeth and wishing I had listened to that one palm reader in Saigon who told me to go into medicine or maybe law (I think my parents paid her).

I was gluing and fuming and writing a bitter, ranting blog post in my head. But then I realized that I tend to focus on all the irritating things some funders do, that I sometimes neglect all the great things that many funders do. Yeah, there are a lot of sucky, inequitable funding practices. But for the most part, there are lots of great things foundations are doing, and there many amazing program officers who make our work easier. It’s been a while since we provided our funding partners with some positive feedback and encouragement (see “Funders, thanks for doing these 12 awesome things.”) This post is to bring some balance by highlighting some specific things, big and small, funders do that we nonprofits really appreciate. Thanks to the NWB Facebook community, as well as my colleagues in Seattle, for providing input, which I’m quoting below. Continue reading

Let’s make basing pay on salary history illegal in all 50 states

cat-205757_960_720Recently, Massachusetts became the first state ever to make it illegal for employers to ask for job candidates’ salary history before making a job offer. This is so awesome that I ditched work and got some soy ice cream to celebrate.

For a while, I’ve been arguing about how crappy it is for employers to not disclose salary ranges in job posting, and how ridiculously archaic and bizarre that we still base people’s salaries on their previous salaries. Nothing else in our society operates like that. Imagine if someone goes to a restaurant, and at the end of the meal, the waiter comes by and the customer says, “So, can I ask how much the last person who ate here paid? $24? Well, then I’m paying you $26.40 for my meal. That’s a generous 10% increase.” Continue reading

Hey, you got a little racism stuck in your teeth.

toothbrush-685326_960_720Recently, there was a news story claiming there’s no evidence that flossing actually does anything. I fell on the ground weeping with joy. Yes, complete exoneration! Take that, you dentists and dental hygienists, with your judgy eyes above your mouth covers. Now, I just need to find a study that says exercise is completely useless, and I can keep lounging on the couch, watching Veep and gnawing on an ear of corn and not feel any guilt. (What, like your Saturday nights are sooooo much more exciting).

But dang it, snopes.com just ran this fact-checking article that says, nope, the study’s methodology is flawed, and we still need to floss. Apparently, dental professionals consider not flossing so damaging that it would be unethical to subject a control group to several years of it, hence the lack of evidence of flossing’s effectiveness. So, back to the sink for all of us. Continue reading

Why the new overtime rules are good for nonprofits and thus for our community

chihuahua-820085_960_720If you work in nonprofit in the US, you have heard that new federal overtime laws/rules are coming. They affect how we categorize the professionals in our sector—“Exempt” or “Non-Exempt”—and how we pay them, whether through set salaries or through hourly wages that include overtime for hours worked over 40. If reading that sentence makes you want to hyperventilate into a paper bag for a few minutes, you’re not alone. Many people are freaking out about these new laws and how to comply with them, because they take effect this coming December!

By the way, since this post may be long and kind of dry, I’m going to insert more pictures of baby animals than normal to motivate you to keep reading. The baby animals have nothing to do with the content of this post.

The Basics

Basically, to be considered Exempt starting in December, an employee must now be paid $47,476, which is double the current level of $23,660. If an employee is paid less than $47,476, they cannot be considered Exempt and must be paid overtime for any extra hours worked.  

Since I am not an expert on this subject, I checked in with colleagues and organizations who are better versed and will be quoting them heavily. I highly recommend you spend some time on this page, Adjusting to New Overtime Rules, by 501 Commons. It has work duties tests, a workbook to help you calculate whether to pay overtime or increase someone’s salary, a free recorded webinar training hosted by a compensation expert, a list of other resources, and FAQs. Continue reading

9 grammatical mistakes you need to stop making before I throw live scorpions at you

giant-scorpion-1076314_960_720Hi everyone. I was writing a post on the new federal overtime law and how it will affect our sector, when I realized that I needed more time to think about it. Plus, we’ve had a string of posts on serious topics these past few weeks, and I need to give my brain a rest. So that post will appear next Monday. Today, I want to rant about grammar/punctuation/diction.

All of us are highly intelligent, charming, and attractive people (#OxfordCommaForever!) Still, we are not immune to making errors in our speech and writing. Errors such as “I was literally on fire during that evaluation presentation.” Or saying things like, “Between you and I, our equity plan sucks.” (Both are wrong. See “This literally makes my head explode” and “8 grammatical mistakes even smart and sexy people like you are making.”) Continue reading