12 types of people who get on everyone’s nerves in nonprofit

dsc_00571Hi everyone, this Thursday (3/12) is my birthday, and I’m going to use it as an opportunity to shamelessly promote my organization, Rainier Valley Corps, which is trying to bring more leaders of color into the sector while supporting existing leaders. We are a nine-month-old start-up nonprofit that takes nothing for granted; we wept with joy upon finding a working dry-erase marker last week, and I’ve been sneaking into conferences to stock up on pens. If you like this blog, please consider investing in RVC’s work with a donation based on how old you think I am. That’s right, if you think I’m 45, give $45. If you think I’m 36 and a half, give $36.50. If you think I’m 86, why…you genius, that’s exactly how old I am! (And I won’t be offended if you think I’m 1,000 or 5,000 years old).

Also, because it’s my birthday this week, I am going to take a break from serious topics like equity or capacity building or performance reviews, and instead start an annual tradition of poorly-edited ranting about people in the sector who get on everyone’s nerves. Look, we have an awesome field full of smart, very good-looking, and extremely humble people. Still, there is room for improvement. If you are one of these people below, please change your ways before I form a shadow organization that will hunt you down and bring you to justice: Continue Reading…

Waiting for unicorns: The supply and demand of diversity and inclusion

unicorn memeThe question I am asked most frequently—after “Vu, have you tried using Proactiv?”—is “Vu, would you consider joining so-and-so board/committee? If not, can you connect me to other leaders of color who might be interested?” Apparently, everyone is having a hard time finding people of color for their board of directors and 80’s-karaoke-night planning team.

There are tons of reports and articles with depressing statistics about diversity in nonprofit leadership at all levels. Here’s an eye-opening article called “The Nonprofit Sector Has a Ferguson Problem,” which cites several stats that make me want to stay in bed streaming Netflix for the rest of the year:

  • only 8% of board members are people of color,
  • nearly a third of nonprofit boards don’t have a single board member of color
  • only 7% of CEO/EDs are people of color
  • only 18% of nonprofit staff are people of color
  • only 5% of philanthropic orgs are led by people of color

Continue Reading…

“I Can Write the Saddest Grant Proposal Tonight” and other nonprofit love poems

heartsHi everyone. OK, I think I’ve almost recovered from the Seahawks’ Super Bowl defeat. I can now eat Skittles without bursting into tears. All of you were very helpful throughout this grieving process, giving gentle encouragement like “Get over it! It’s a ridiculous football game!” and “Ha ha, your team lost! Go Patriots!” (If you haven’t joined the NWB Facebook community, you’re missing out on daily hilarity and unicorn jokes.)

Valentine’s Day is coming up this week. Last year, I wrote “Nonprofit professionals, you are each a unicorn,” sort of a Valentine to all the dedicated, smart, and highly attractive people in our field. This year, I thought I would try poetry. Below are three love poems dedicated to various people in the sector. I hope they inspire you. Happy Valentine’s Day, you sexy nonprofit muffins, you. Continue Reading…

Ten resolutions for the nonprofit sector for 2015

homerEvery New Year, many of us make resolutions to do things to improve ourselves. Of course, many of us skip doing this, because we are perfect. In fact, in some cultures, beer bellies and love handles are considered attractive, so if people have issues with them, then they’re obviously culturally incompetent and should attend a workshop.

As 2015 starts, it is important for us not to just make resolutions for ourselves, but also for our organizations, and for our field. We, as individuals and as a sector, are constantly busy doing stuff that we often don’t take enough time to gaze into the distance and think strategically. As I write this, I recall some profound words from one of my mentors when we were having lunch a while ago: “I always choose the curried chicken.” Wait, no, that’s not it. She said, “Are you spending enough time on the balcony versus the dance floor?” We are always dancing. We nonprofit professionals need to get on the balcony more often.

So let’s start 2015 off right and make it the most awesome year ever! With the help of the NWB Facebook community, I’m recapping a list of resolutions that I am hoping all of us will seriously adopt sector-wide: Continue Reading…

Nonprofit With Ball’s revolutionary note-taking system

Business man with checkboxesHi everyone. I hope you are still in the middle of your break and are catching up on your favorite shows and spending time with your family. Or just sleeping. Our sector needs it, and you deserve it, you sexy smart hardworking nonprofiteer you. I have been off for a week, and it’s given me a lot of time to have profound and life-changing thoughts. Thoughts like “I should probably clean my fridge. I think the molds are starting to evolve into advanced civilizations.”

Anyway, one of the thoughts is, “Dude, I need to have a better note-taking system!” (Warning: This is probably not going to be the most exciting NWB blog post. Here, make yourself a nonprofit cocktail while you read this.) Continue Reading…