The Good Counsel Blog


Aug

28

2014
Is this a Good Idea?

Is this a Good Idea?

Do we need yet another group organized to promote nonprofit organizations and defend their good name? Do we need a march to support “the cause of causes?” Dan Pallotta, the controversial special events organizer and TED talk champion of nonprofit organizations’ need for such things as sufficient overhead and competent administration, has just formed the Charity Defense Council. Do we need Defense, or do we really need Offense? The Council purpose is to create better, widespread public understanding of nonprofits’ need for appropriate overhead, for market compensation of workers and for greater public support for increased giving. The CDC’s agenda…

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Jul

14

2014
Creating a Culture of Philanthropy

Creating a Culture of Philanthropy

Everyone these days appears to be using the concept of a “Culture of Philanthropy” to get the point across that nonprofit organizations rely on resources and relationships for their sustenance, if not their existence. When googled, the concept receives 461,000 entries, seemingly mostly from consulting firms seeking business. The phrase is a great summary of what nonprofits are all about, especially in a procedural way. Substantively, we research, we teach, we feed, we exhibit, we heal, we preach, we tinker—we do many things benefitting civil society. Procedurally, we’re being told that our culture—our beliefs, opinions, values, orientations, relationships, and interactions—needs…

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Jun

19

2014
What Does the Village Need?

What Does the Village Need?

Often, in many contexts, we hear the saying about, “It takes a Village to…” But what does the Village itself need these days to be able to do what it is supposed to do? Ultimately, if the Village is that important, we’d better make investments, positive investments, in any way we can. Conventionally, we look to three sources for this investment in the Village, here and abroad: government, private enterprise and philanthropy. Not one can do the job. It seems that two of the three are becoming quite limited in ability to invest. Government investment in infrastructure is at a…

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Jun

12

2014
Work Redux and the Importance of Positive Networks

Work Redux and the Importance of Positive Networks

This morning was the third of three Work Redux breakfasts. For me, this series has been transformative.  For those who were not in attendance, Pollen along with the Bush Foundation, held three breakfast events on Ambition, Power and Influence over the period of a few months. I’ve been to many a “leadership development”and “women’s empowerment” events and “networking breakfast” and none, I repeat none have come close to being as informative, heartfelt, authentic and meaningful as this series was for me. What do I mean by this? I mean I felt vulnerable, but in the best way. I felt as though I…

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Jun

09

2014
Five Inexorable Nonprofit Changes

Five Inexorable Nonprofit Changes

Sometimes change is dramatic, cataclysmic. The volcano in Iceland erupts. This rarely happens in the world of nonprofit organizations, where constant but more subtle change is apparent. The ice shelf in Antarctica is irreversibly melting. Even the iconic, national American pastime has evolved from infielders standing on bases to times when no one is anywhere near third base! The difference is similar to whether a lobster is thrown directly into boiling water, or into a pot of cold water that’s gradually heating up. The result is often the same, one taking a bit longer. The same scenario with the pot…

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Apr

28

2014
Civil Benefit Organizations

Civil Benefit Organizations

We wrote recently about the nonprofit sector’s name as something we’re not, as something that doesn’t say what we do, how we do it or what comes of it. So we concluded that the descriptor “nonprofit” has to go. But what to call ourselves? Response wasn’t overwhelming, although there were some very good ideas generated, really good ones. Unfortunately, like the ten we cited, all suggested names left something out that needed to be there. The idea of “benefit” seemed appropriate in describing the work, so we needed to find the all-embracing element that received the benefit. The more we…

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Apr

21

2014
Guest Post – Train your board. Raise more money.

Guest Post – Train your board. Raise more money.

This post is adapted from the new book, Train Your Board (and Everyone Else) to Raise Money by Andrea Kihlstedt and Andy Robinson, www.trainyourboard.com. No one is born knowing how to raise money, but like many other skills – sewing on a button, mastering a new app, driving a car – it’s a skill we can learn. With effective training and support, pretty much anyone can become a skilled fundraiser. That’s why we assembled our new book. Furthermore, you don’t have to be a professional facilitator to teach your board, volunteers, and staff members. Like fundraising, training others is a…

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Apr

15

2014
The Ten Things Board Members Should Do to Help Nonprofits

The Ten Things Board Members Should Do to Help Nonprofits

co-authored by Dania Miwa & Jim Toscano We’ve written often about boards, board members and relationships in previous posts. See Ten Things Every Board Member Should Know and How Many Board Members Does it Take to Change a Lightbulb? Here’s the list to put up on the refrigerator when you accept a board membership. 1.   Show Up, Follow Up. Lending a name to the Board list alone doesn’t work. Policy, budgets, plans and everything else are made by those who attend meetings regularly. Also remember that much of the thoughtful work happens between meetings. Showing up is part of it,…

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Mar

12

2014
We Call Ourselves Something We’re Not – Ten New Names

We Call Ourselves Something We’re Not – Ten New Names

The name “Nonprofit” has nothing really relevant to what our organizations really do. Clearly, we do not dispense profits to shareholders, but is that the real distinction we wish to make to distinguish ourselves from business? A side excursion to Roget’s under “nonprofit” yields, among others, “worthless” and “unsuccessful.” (Roget’s 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.) Or, more important, is this the name by which we really want to be known? If so, we can go back to the debates as to whether there should be a hyphen somewhere in the name. However, I…

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