Category Archives: Random stuff

Leadership styles, part 2: Have you flipped your iceberg lately?

pegacorn_stickerHappy Monday, everyone. Due to requests, here is some new NWB merchandise based on the mythical creatures leadership styles I wrote about. Now you can proudly proclaim that you are a Dragon, Phoenix, Pegacorn, or Griffin. I changed unicorn to Pegacorn to distinguish from the general nonprofit unicorn, and Lion-Turtle to Griffin because I didn’t want Nickelodeon to sue me. Thanks to the ever-brilliant Stacy, who designs this website, for creating these mugs and t-shirts.

Just to recap, Dragons are decisive and action-oriented and would rather run into traffic than talk about their feelings. Phoenixes have lots of energy and vision and are great communicators, but they’re easily distracted. Pegacorns bring harmony and consensus and are great listeners but are often indecisive. And Griffins ground everyone in processes and data and are great analyzers but can be too perfectionistic and slow to action. Continue reading

17 irritating jargon phrases, and awesome new sayings we should use instead

bunny-1567479_960_720Hi everyone. Since the last few posts have been somewhat serious—boo!—this one is going to be a little lighter. A few months ago, I wrote 21 irritating jargon phrases and what we should replace them with. Well, we barely peeled the butternut on annoying cliches. So, based on readers’ requests, here are 17 more, and the awesome new sayings we should replace them with. Thanks to my colleagues for your contributions. 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

21 irritating jargon phrases, and new clichés you should replace them with

mallard-ducklings-938666_960_720Hi everyone. Thanks for buying NWB merchandise this past week (it pays for the hosting of this blog. And also grant-rejection tequila). Sorry if you’ve emailed me or left a voicemail, tweet, or Facebook message and never got a response from me. I am going to blame having a two-month-old. I’m pretty much in a constant state of hallucination. I’ll get back to you, but it may be a while, especially if these pterodactyls keep dropping 990 forms on me. Get away from me; you’re extinct!

Let’s talk about jargon. We have so many clichéd phrases and concepts in our sector. Many of them we’ve adopted from the for-profit sector; and some of them, we invented. More people are talking about jargon and how to avoid them, like this article, and this great infographic. But no one offers alternatives to jargon. And it is my philosophy to never offer a critique without offering potential solutions, unless I’m lazy. So I made up new jargon that you can use as alternatives. Try them out. Hopefully, these new clichés will catch on so that we can make charts to complain about them later: 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