Friday, February 15, 2008


Civil Society, Government, Church - What role do we play?

Ever wonder what the role of nonprofits should be in the mix of government agencies, the business community, churches and other "faith-based" orgs? I have, since April, 2005, ever since I heard Bruce Sievers speak on the topic. It is great grist for the mill.

And so the quest for knowledge continues. Recently, a friend sent me a job opening for an innocuous position for the County of Orange called "Performance Auditor". The job paid well (approx. $90 to $150K) and the job description read like so many others:

This position will report to the Performance Audit Director and be assigned activities such as: management audits, process improvement studies, reorganization studies, cost effectiveness assessments, cost-benefit analysis, best practice analysis, program performance evaluations...

etc. etc. All read normally until...I got to the the requirements section. It read:

The candidate must also understand the role of government in society and how it interrelates with the business community.

Can I have a reality check here folks? Send me your comments. It's essay question time. How many of us can answer that question. What exactly is the role of government in society? But more importantly how is it supposed to interrelate with the business community?

If you get that one correct, try this: compare and contrast the answers posed by a democratic or republican candidate. What would Ronnie say? Should we go with "invisible hand" or do we go Libertarian? Just stay out?

In my day (and that includes the present), job requirements meant "knowledge of a certain software package" or "excellent communication skills".

What about after your first year on the job, at evaluation time? Here's how it might read:

Y.T. has a strong understanding of the role of government in society but needs improvement in the interrelation of government with the business community. We recommend several books on Political Science and perhaps a copy of "Good to Great" on her night stand.

What I'd do to be a fly on the wall for that HR meeting.

File this under: huh?

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Saturday, January 12, 2008


Job Hunting II

A good list of job search sites needs regular maintenance, here are three additions since our earlier post. From here on we'll post the whole updated list (with new items first) bi-monthly.

Bridgestar's mission is to support and strengthen nonprofit organizations by enhancing the flow and Effectiveness of passionate and highly skilled leaders into and within the nonprofit sector.

Commongood Careers - a nonprofit search firm that connects highly skilled, passionate individuals to organizations that are dedicated to creating positive social change. Founded by nonprofit professionals. Offers personalized, engaged support to job seekers and organizations throughout the hiring process, as well as access to a wealth of knowledge about nonprofit careers.

California Only:

Nonprofit Directions is a job listing service for the nonprofit sector, available both in print and on the web.

Nonprofit Directions is a service of the Center for Nonprofit Management, the founding partner of the Nonprofit Jobs Cooperative, a collaboration of nonprofit Management Service Organizations across the country who have combined efforts to form a new national jobs listing website.

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Friday, January 11, 2008




A recent job search turned up this position advertisement:

Litigation Attorney
Disability Rights Legal Center
Los Angeles, CA
Salary: $48,510 per year depending on experience plus excellent benefits

Imagine graduating from Law School to find this salary! How will the Disability Rights Center recruit good talent with this offer???


Add it to my "new favorite job title":

1) I just had to read the job announcement for this one: Chief People Officer
Seems this is what they're calling a Human Resources Manager today. I remember when I thought calling People "Human" resources (as opposed to natural resources like petroleum I suppose) was egregious. What exactly was wrong with "Personnel Manager" again?

2) This is almost as good as (yes it is real!): Dream Coordinator - I've always wanted to coordinate dreams but I keep getting sleepy...

Dream Coordinator
Dream Foundation is searching for a highly motivated and committed individual to coordinate dream granting in our Los Angeles office.

3. Do you have "Poker" and "Table Tennis" on your Resume? This is a real job posting for an Engineer position!

  • Ruby on Rails Experience
  • SEO (Search Engine Optimization) knowledge
  • CSS based HTML presentation
  • Table Tennis
  • Poker
4) Underwear Affair Participant Coach Needed - Another one, this one on Craigslist. I almost want to do the job just to put it on my resume.

Friday, January 04, 2008


The Best of 2007 and one new-comer
Forgive me if I sing the praises (one more time) of my three favorite bloggers, but I simply must. These three blogs have enough material to keep me reading all winter (and real I will!).

But before I begin, let me introduce a new nonprofit blog on the block. I don't know how I missed it, but it looks like it launched with a bang last September. UnCivilized Society is quite the entertaining blog. Admittedly I'm partial to the "Un's", ever since the Un-Cola, I've been into un.
  1. White Courtesy Telephone - Last time I checked this was Albert Ruesga's baby, but on a recent visit (shows how long I am on the uptake), I see a community of bloggers. I am here to sing the praises of them all. If I had to pick one word, I'd say "entranced". I'm still hoping to craft a post title so clever as this: Nonprofits, Virtual Worlds, and the Triumph of Ironic Distance
  2. GiftHub - What kind of being could blend bondage and philanthropy? That would be the self-proclaimed tongue-in-cheek moral tutor, Phil Cubeta. Brace yourself for the journey when you venture forth into Phil's land of satire and parable. There are times when the posts reach pure genius as in this one: Why Laundering Drug Money Through Philanthropy is Good for the Country
  3. The Artful Manager - I try to give props to Andrew Taylor at every opportunity. His blog leaves me with a sense of awe, but doesn't require I lose my sense of humor either: Separate and a giant fungus


This in from the AP: A Bangor, Maine woman is in jail on a felony theft charge for embezzling $60,000 (maybe more) from a nonprofit that assists families with foster and adopted children.

Police arrested Katherine Ratliff, 39, after workers at Adoptive & Foster Families of Maine discovered discrepancies in the organizations accounts.

From a post on Deal W. Hudson's blog: 85 percent of Roman Catholic dioceses that responded had discovered embezzlement of church money in the last five years, with 11 percent reporting that more than $500,000 had been stolen.

Related Nonprofit Eye post:

2006 Nonprofit Hall of Shame

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Thursday, January 03, 2008


Well would you? No, I'm not talking about volunteering. I mean do what you do every day at your nonprofit, but for free. Yes you have said "I love my job so much that I'd do it even if they didn't pay me". But what if they didn't?

A friend of mine recently said that she didn't know people who worked for nonprofits got paid! It bothered her that any of her donation went to someone doing accounting, she had given it to the kids!

So here we are worrying about excessive compensation, and she's worrying about compensation period.

The fix is in folks. Now that the new 990 is a reality, anyone paid more than $150,000/yr will be highlighted. Yes, this means you. While the average household income in the US still hovers around $36,000, try living in Manhattan or San Francisco (or LA for that matter) on under $100,000.

A recent cost-of-living comparison showed a $116,000 salary in LA to be the equivalent of $212,000 in Manhattan. Given numbers like that, the Executive Directors in Manhattan sure get a raw deal on the 990. They appear to be paid excessively while the LA equiv skates on by under the radar. Is nobody thinking over there at the IRS???

OK, last question (alas I don't have many answers today): Anyone know a for-profit executive responsible for running a multi-million dollar corporation that gets paid LESS than $150,000???


Wednesday, January 02, 2008


Nonprofit Eye - Backstage Pass - New Feature

A Letter from the Editor

It's a new year and in lieu of resolutions, we have turned our "Eye" inward. The result? An examination of focus of the Nonprofit Eye. Looking out to the audience, two posts continue to grab a huge share of our readership (one on (of all the arcane topics: revenue recognition) and the other on Job Hunting). Readership takes a dive when I turn to self-exploration, technical topics, philosophical musings on nonprofit identity. I have to admit that even my own interest was waning as I've swum thru the waters of all things related to the Nonprofit World.

So get ready for a new spin in 2008, and very soon...a new website and domain name. Such a move means a new start, appropriate for the beginning of a new year. And such a start demands a new theme.

Time for audience participation here dear readers. Two themes call strongly to me and I'd love to hear your comments on them (both as to marketability and to your own thoughts on the topics).

The first theme "Crossover Hits" speaks to bridging the gap between the knowledge bases in the for-profit world with those in the non-profit world. Call it an interdisciplinary approach. Seems the same topics are recycled over and over in the nonprofit blogosphere; the same with the for-profit writing world; And never the twain shall meet?

Two areas have great cross-talk - the fundraising and marketing bloggers have done a great job of bringing the branding concept over from "the other side". It can still be a hard sell to some nonprofit staff and boards, but there is progress. The other area is the now the almost-ready- for-prime-time: NPTech. It strikes that most of NPTech is...well...Tech. Still, it is important to keep bringing cutting edge tech applications over to the nonprofit side. Rover, Rover, let Linux come over!

It is possible to re-think the Nonprofit Eye as a place to blend for-profit trends in accounting, compliance (easier to see) as well as concepts from psychology, human interaction (also known as user-interface).

The blog would answer the question "what great stuff is being talked about out there that we aren't talking about in the nonprofit world".

The downside of this approach? All hot topics would be excluded, no 990 revisions, no transparency, no social media/web 2.0, no more fun Grassley bashing...

Which brings us to the second candidate theme, we call "The new and the old".

Bloggers like Rosetta Thurman, write about future leaders; new job seekers write about how to find a job; experienced nonprofit executives write about burnout or the leadership crisis. These points in the career cycle form a continuum; but what is in between? What can the newbies learn from their elders? What can us oldbies learn from the newcomers?

The blog could become a forum for bridging the divide. Experienced nonprofiteers would write in and answer future leaders questions; Newer Nonprofiteers would write about how to cure the ills of the old skool.

A quick scan of the newbie blogosphere shows quite a few Youth Leadership sites on the landscape:

Sound in! We want to here from readers of nonprofit blog readers. What do you want to read about? Do either of the two themes above appeal? Let's start the year with a conversation.

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