The Rundown 1.17.2018

"You will never influence the world by trying to be like it..."  - Sean McCabe

I read this quote over the weekend and while I feel like I'm sure I've seen it before, it struck me differently this time. For the most part, every nonprofit started as a spark, an idea, an action that knew it could be bigger than itself if it only became organized. And this idea put to action was also probably something that had never been seen before or done before--at least in the confines of the nonprofit's geography, for example. 

These nonprofits are trying to influence or change the world. Our world. And that often means they can no longer look like anything else. They have to be something different, something better. So this week, I was struck by articles that spoke to this idea: of doing something different, doing something better. Being someone or something the world needs, but doesn't always look like something we know.

So enjoy this week's articles and I hope they inspire you to stop looking over your fences and instead, start to stare in the mirror. 



If you want my money, you’ll have to answer to these four questions: Lessons from an angel investor

  • Ok, this article needs a slight tweak in translation and then it'll read perfectly: swap "founder" with nonprofit and swap "business" with mission within the article and you'll extraordinarily appreciate this piece on donors and their interests in investments beyond "feeling good". 
  • Written from the perspective of an Angel Investor focused on start-ups, the parallels and what Jason Calacanis expresses are the 4 most important questions he needs answered before donating, is a powerful list for nonprofits to be able to answer as well.  Trust me. 

6 minute read

Volunteer Satisfaction Survey: Solve Problems by Asking the Right Questions

  • Everyone hates taking, but loves making surveys. When my clients talk to me about surveys, I'm quick to point out that it shouldn't matter why someone wants to implement a survey, it only matters what they plan on doing with the info once they have it from the survey. 
  • Driving this home and helping you to craft a survey that does that and more, the team at VolunteerHub give you the literal building blocks to build one for your volunteers that is smart, warm, and powerfully effective. 

4 minute read

The Facebook News Feed is Changing, and About Time Too

  • Did you know the Facebook Feed model is changing in 2018? Did you know that still over 58% of the entire population of the world is on Facebook? 
  • Giving you reasons why Facebook and the upcoming changes can be a big win for nonprofits and charities, Tom Lillywhite of Wilder Digital walks you thought not only what's coming but how nonprofits can benefit.  

3 minute read

The Nonprofit Stigma: How We Place them Between a Rock and a Hard Place

  • The struggle is real, people. Simply put, professionals in the nonprofit industry do not get paid enough, and even when they do, they're told they're being paid too much - and this is a narrative we all need to address and demystify. 
  • Breaking it down with tact and facts, Drew Hackman of Startup Hacker Consulting explains (as several have done before him) why we need to stop demanding that nonprofit professionals are unworthy or not warranting real pay for real work and problem solving in our communities.  

5 minute read



We all know the classic nonprofit terms and definitions, but what happens when we need new ones? So Team Rhinocorn likes to suggest new thoughtful or playful terms we think need introduced into the new nonprofit lexicon.


noun | An organizational volunteer who also donates to the same organization.

(re: different from a Dolunteer - or an organizational donor who may occasionally volunteer with the same organization

"After a significant audit of our full time volunteers, we realized that over 52% of them are actually volanthropists, also donating 8% of the annual budget over all. It's clear we need to create a stronger strategy to not only engage them more deeply, but recognize them overall more powerfully." 



Exercise a signature strength you're proud of. Think about something you’re really good at, it could be anything-- a skill with crafts, a passion for poetry, singing, dancing, being able to solve complicated puzzles or math skills, anything-- and find an opportunity to engage with that strength today as a reminder that you are a whole human with layers of skills and interests. 


The Rundown 1.10.2018

You know, I must have been asked a dozen times over the holidays by peers and mentors alike: how do you actually pick the 3-5 articles you choose to share? For me it's not a complicated set of criteria, honestly. But it's certainly intentional. I look for articles that do one of three things (and ideally some that do all three): 

  1. Offer a philosophical or educational idea that helps the reader think differently, or become more progressive, smarter, faster, and/or stronger. 
  2. Take that philosophical or educational idea to the next level by offering real tips, building blocks and/or practical steps toward achievement.
  3. Have a unique point of view or sense of humor or wit. 

Now, is everything I share hitting one or more of these three? No, not always. But most of them will. And in insuring so, I hope to offer something of value and to be your favorite digest of worthy content on the block. Happy New Year and welcome back to The Rundown. 


How Developing Awareness Enhances Your Leadership Ability

  • SPOILER ALERT: If you already think you're not self aware enough, you're probably more self-aware than someone who already thinks they are. 
  • Briefly outlined here by Dr. Kate Price, she highlights how tapping into your emotional intelligence and self-awareness is key to lead not only well, but powerfully. 

2 minute read

How to Explain Complex Ideas (Like Tech) to Those Who Don’t Understand

  • I often think that if our missions really were that easy to grasp, we probably wouldn't need to have created our nonprofits in the first place. 
  • So aside from more belabored topics outlined here by Thorin Klosowski at LifeHacker, this fantastic little article should also play a key role in how your nonprofit even expresses it existence in new and powerful ways that land. 

4 minute read w/o videos

Using HR Metrics for Nonprofit Strategy and Planning

  • Dear lord is this a good article. Now look, I get that it's a little heavy and sometimes just reading smart things can make us feel smart, but please instead BE smart and dig into this article to use the information to bring some real planning and change to your organizations.
  • One of the best things I may have ever shared, the team at Nonprofit HR are imploring you to use KPIs and benchmarks to help you run a stronger nonprofit for us, for everyone. 

3 minute read

Are you worth more than your volunteer manager salary?

  • As a Volunteer Manager it's not always just knowing you may be worth more, it's about being able to articulate it, to show for it, and quantify your efforts. 
  • And giving you the tools and insights to do so powerfully is the amazing Elisa Kosarin at Twenty Hats, who always  builds dynamic examples and stories into compelling lists of ways to accomplish your goals - and better the industry.

4 minute read

The 8 Most Helpful Types of Fundraising Systems to Build at Your Non-Profit

  • You cannot use a hammer as every tool in your toolkit. Nor would you want to? Not everything is a nail anyway. 
  • Bringing this point home and helping to make you think differently and more dynamically about your fundraising models, Joe Garecht at Garecht Fundraising Associates breaks down the details and opens you to a world of better possibilities. 

3 minute read


We all know the classic nonprofit terms and definitions, but what happens when we need new ones? So Team Rhinocorn likes to suggest new thoughtful or playful terms we think need introduced into the lexicon.

Funding Trycycle

noun | Similar to an classic funding cycle where a foundation or corporation offers a  chronological pattern of proposal review, decision making and applicant notification -  often at set intervals (quarterly, semi-annually, etc.). However, a Funding Trycycle would offer short-term, limited grants that would help socialize the budding relationship between a nonprofit and a foundation or corporation, allowing for a more dynamic and measured approach to partnership growth. 

"Thank goodness the The Frank Family Foundation offered a $5k Funding Trycycle, because their standard cycle is for $50k and their reporting models are painful at best. At least we know now that they're not an ideal place for donor or partner support. 


Start a file to document any kind words, compliments, or "great job!" messages you receive from supervisors, co-workers, volunteers, members and the community alike -  it's a great place to read and remind yourself that one bad day doesn't describe a bad job. 


The Rundown 12.13.2017

Happy Holidays and welcome to the final edition of The Rundown for 2017! As you know,  I'll be back in action next year, kicking things off  with a Best Of 2017 Special Edition before bringing The Rundown back on January 10th .  

Until then, please enjoy this issue, one filled with some stellar articles focused on industry and professional issues and "norms" that we need to finally crush and re-write in 2018. Are you up for the challenge? No? You want to just enjoy the holidays and fill-up on cookies and cocoa? Oh, ok. Fine. For now.

But trust me, if I have anything to say about it? 2018 is going to be a wild, engaging, transformative ride and I'm looking for a few folks to help me drive the bus. 


The NonProfit Sector Must Move From Transaction to Collaboration

  • Here is the funny thing: this article is true for some nonprofits and false for others and that's why I love it so much. If you're probably a bigger, well-established nonprofit? This will speak to you on a very different level than a smaller, newer nonprofit. Interestingly in almost contrasting ways. But that's what makes it such an important read for all of us.
  • Smartly written by Jason Ricci at NewCo Shift, he's exploring how data-driven interests shouldn't mean we're ignoring the need for passionate narrative and creating collaborative connections. 

3 minute read w/o video

The False Linear Story That Hurts Us

  • I honestly do this all the time, attempt to re-package my personal and professional history to fit a simple, linear timeline that explains where I came from and how it relates to my today. As if it's important to attempt to prove that everything happens for a reason, or some nonsense. 
  • So I'm grateful that Prakash Raman had the vision and sense to point it out and as he says "...challenge you to do away with the linear story, and instead start telling your non-linear and individually beautiful story full of ups, downs, angels, and demons." 

3 minute read

A Fucking Nonprofit Revolution

  • If you've ever worked with me, then you know I swear from time to time. Ok, maybe a lot. So this headline grabbed me, but then it's contents shook me on the subject of how nonprofits are dynamic investment and problem-solving engines that are still somehow treated like cute little pastimes. 
  • And even if your sensibilities are turned off by the headline, you can't ignore this extremely smart and passionate voice of Rachel Renock at the Nonprofit Revolution, taking a vocal stand for all of us. 

4 minute read


We all know the classic nonprofit terms and definitions governing the sector, but what happens when we need new ones? So Team Rhinocorn decided to suggest new thoughtful or playful terms we think need introduced into the nonprofit lexicon.

Annual Storybook

noun | Similar to an annual report, a voluntary publication of mission and stakeholder (i.e.: volunteer, staff, board, partner, beneficiary) stories published by a foundation or corporation describing the year's activities and accomplishments.

"We felt like our annual report was effective, but too dry and cold, so we started publishing a supplemental Annual Storybook to help flesh out our day to day stories from our volunteers and beneficiaries. It helped us capture a voice and vision that went beyond the numbers and spelled out our successes and struggles."



"I like to compare the holiday season with the way a child listens to a favorite story. The pleasure is in the familiar way the story begins, the anticipation of familiar turns it takes, the familiar moments of suspense, and the familiar climax and ending."

Fred Rogers (Mr. Rogers)

The Rundown 12.6.2017

How is it December already?! Where did 2017 go? And while I bet you thought this would be another "Special Edition" issue, surprise surprise it's not.  Because incase you haven't noticed, they're all special editions if you love them enough. *cough*

Speaking of which, it's worth mentioning that there are only two issues of The Rundown left this year, this week's edition and next week's edition. Both standard issues and then a two week break - Hey, I'm only human! 

Then we'll be back the first week of January with a Best Of 2017 Special Edition before kicking off the 2nd full year of The Rundown on January 10th.  But until then, please enjoy the best of the best stuff I've read this week I think you'll love too. 


Communications as the New Nonprofit Core Competency

  • I talk to my clients a lot about how true engagement is far, far more than just communications, and that communications should also be more than just telling and showing. And this article asks some really important questions about how we often communicate ineffectively and how to change that.
  • Presenting some solid questions, but also containing a bit of a pitch for some future blogging and workshops, Ruth McCambridge and Susan Nall Bales  at Nonprofit Quarterly are asking for your communications struggles to help them help you. 

3 minute read

Geeking Out on Volunteer Interview Questions

  • Sometimes it's not just what you ask, but also how. This is never more true when we're interviewing someone while attempting to judge if they're more than just a "good fit" but that they also understand our organizational needs too. Because the interview process really should be a two-laned highway.
  • Always with a finger on the pulse of the Volunteer Professional and their needs, Elisa Kosarin at Twenty Hats is once again--and may she never stop--pushing us to be our best and to smartly design for success. 

3 minute read

"Time is Money" Was Never More True than in Fundraising

  • I do not care how talented you are as a fundraiser, if you do not have a true, written, strategic fundraising plan you are only succeeding--if you're succeeding at all--because you're putting out so much energy and some of that has to stick. So maybe you're working hard, but you're not working smart. 
  • With tips to implement a true plan, Julie Sootin breaks down the need for strategic planning-based fundraising in her classic no nonsense, data-driven perspective that always makes her one of my favorite thought-leaders to follow and share.

3 minute read

How to Ask Your Boss for Time to Learn New Things

  • Never stop learning. And please, never stop putting yourself in a position to keep learning. As I'm sure you realize, I always hope The Rundown is a catalyst, not an means to an end, when it comes to nonprofit professionals seeking to get smarter, quicker.  
  • Can you hear me clapping in the background? That's how excited this article by Rachael O’Meara at the Harvard Business Review made me, with her thoughtful simplicity and tact allowing anyone to benefit from when approaching their boss for support in their continued educational growth.

4 minute read


We all know the classic nonprofit terms and definitions governing the sector, but what happens when we need new ones? So Team Rhinocorn decided to suggest new thoughtful or playful terms we think need introduced into the nonprofit lexicon.

Lowercase Campaign

noun | An organized drive or crusade to collect and accumulate specific, but non-substantial funds to finance minor identified needs of an organization such as a new furniture, technology, or special project support.

"We're launching our annual lowercase campaign to help support the training and licensing needs we have with our donated version of Salesforce. We only need about 7k to make all the magic happen." 



"No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another."

Charles Dickens

The Rundown 11.29.2017

Special Self-Care Edition

Wait. Another Special Edition after last week's Special Edition? Who's in charge here? Just how special does it have to get around here? ...I vote very.

Since we were just ahead of Thanksgiving last week, it felt right to create an issue focused on the idea of gratitude and creating thanks at your nonprofit. But then this week, since it's on the heels of having wrapped #GivingTuesday, it felt right to devote this week's entire issue to the important practice of self-care.

Why self-care? I'm glad you asked. Because simply put: nonprofit engagement professionals (fundraisers, volunteer managers, executive leaders, etc.) don't invest enough time investing in self-care. Burnout is real, folks. And among other things Team Rhinocorn is passionate about changing that dynamic and making it a part of our conversations.

So grab some coffee, put on some soft music, kick your feet back, and enjoy this Special Edition focused on you and how to better take care of yourself.



4 Signs You Are A Burned Out Nonprofit Fundraiser

  • We have all been here. I'm living #4 in real time, honestly. But this is a simple and straightforward list of things that if you're nodding your head to right now? It's not "normal" -  it's burnout territory. 
  • Take it from nonprofit guru Beth Kanter, someone who's been wisely focused on the topic of self-care and nonprofit burnout for many years - she points out the problems and thankfully offers a few solid solutions. 

5 minute read

Burned Out? Strategies for Changing Your Experience

  • Ok, so maybe you know you're kinda burned out. So now what? 
  • Formally geared toward a corporate audience, Dr. Kate Price at Thrive Global's list is so good it should be on anyone's list who's careening toward burnout and despair and how to start addressing a repair.

3 minute read

8 Self-Care Tips to Prevent & Alleviate Holiday Stress

  • Oh, sorry, you thought it was just your job that's stressing you out? No no, my friends, the holidays often play a painful part too. 
  • If Christmas music is making your right eye twitch (now, not 4 weeks ago when it was for everyone) then you'll appreciate this smart list of must-do's to help prevent and cure holiday stress from Kate Hannon at Skyterra. 

4 minute read w/o videos

Personal Development: 4 Steps to Thrive, Not Just Survive

  • We pat ourselves on the back far too frequently for surviving. And it's not that we shouldn't celebrate survival, but we have to stop pretending it's the real goal. Because the real goal should be thriving.
  • I want to take this article by Jonathan Moody at A.C. Fitzgerald & Associates and juice it so I can drink it daily as an affirmation of a thriving lifestyle. No. Really. Pulp and all.

3 minute read

Mindful Leadership—The Key to Creating Successful Organizations for which We All Want to Work

  • I believe that true leadership is always about being a bit lost. This doesn't mean you don't know where you're going; but for me, a true leader is always searching, always learning, always growing. And as such, always being mindful. 
  • Spelled out in a really compelling way, Jeffrey Walker outlines the idea and pathways to Mindful Leadership. This made the Special Edition, because I believe self-care also involves growth and education in our leadership skills, not just exercising them. 

7 minute read



We all know the classic nonprofit terms and definitions governing the sector, but what happens when we need new ones? So Team Rhinocorn likes to suggest new thoughtful or playful terms we think need introduced into the new nonprofit lexicon.

Mental Growth Day

noun | A day off from work during which one engages in an an educational or philosophical activity that helps fuel their personal or professional mental growth and education. 

"I'd been talking to and soliciting donors for 8 weeks straight during the holidays, so I decided to take a few mental growth days at a national nonprofit conference to unwind, network, and learn some new ways to sharpen my skills."



"Self-care is the number one solution to helping somebody else. If you are being good to yourself and your body and your psyche, that that serves other people better because you will grow strong enough to life someone else up."

Mary Lambert




The Rundown 11.22.2017

Special Thanksgiving Edition

Welcome to the Special Thanksgiving Edition of The Rundown! What's so special, you ask?  Mostly you. I put this little idea together to curate all of my favorite articles each week and almost a year later, hundreds of people have subscribed and over a thousand people read The Rundown each and every week. 

I didn't know what might happen. Would people find value in this idea? Would the idea of informational networking take root? I'm proud to say it seems like people get it, and moreover, honestly appreciate it. Heck, some of you even say it's your favorite thing to read every week. You beautiful liars. 

So thank you. This special edition is for you, the reader. No matter what you do in the nonprofit industry, thank you for reading, for sharing, and for trusting me with showcasing what I think is the best of the best the industry and it's leaders are producing each and every week. Happy Thanksgiving! 


Are You Skipping Thanksgiving Too?

  • The very second you've turned off your lights to the last trick-or-treater, you can hear it on the wind: Christmas music. We've all know it. The question is, what happens when you start to skip Thanksgiving at your nonprofit too?
  • A smart question asked by Kristina Leroux at Kivi's Nonprofit Communications Blog, she makes the argument that while a new cultural norm, it shouldn't be one for the nonprofit industry.

4 minute read

INFOGRAPHIC: The ULTIMATE Thank You for Nonprofits

  • A thank you by any other name doesn't always smell just as sweet. We all know this. So how do you honestly craft just the very best, most earnest, thank you to a donor or volunteer or stakeholder that'll really express your true feelings and make them feel legitimately thanked?
  • Look for further than a really slick infographic by Allison Gauss at Classy who helps you craft the best thank you possible. And she wins bonus points for kindly reminding folks that a real thank you shouldn't include a "donate here" feature. *cough*

3 minute read 

4 Inspiring Nonprofit Year-End Thank You Videos

  • One of my very favorite thank you mediums is video. There are some really creative ways you can use video to tell a thank you story to donors and volunteers and when done right, it really resonates deeply. 
  • So big thanks to Steven Shattuck at Bloomerang for showcasing four different ways that can be done without having to great some massive storyboard or vision that still create a massive impact. 

4 minute read w/o videos (about 2min each)

5 Unexpectedly Thoughtful Ways to Thank Your Association’s Volunteers

  • I often think talking about our volunteers should be every nonprofit's second major marketing narrative. They are often the life's blood of any organization and their stories are not just missional, but compelling and inviting.
  • So while a list of ideas to thank volunteers isn't news to most of us, Julie Dietz over at Higher Logic brings three really important ideas to light with #'s 1, 4 and 5. If you're not doing these, you need to change things quickly. 

3 minute read

Help VolunteerMatch Promote over 300+ Thanksgiving Volunteer Opportunities!

  • While I'm not a fan of people only volunteering during Thanksgiving, there is a wealth of volunteerism truly needed during the holiday season. And so if you have a few hours to give, there are many nonprofits and charities looking to make good use of those hours. 
  • Case in point is a cool search feature by VolunteerMatch that will let you quickly search for Thanksgiving-centric volunteer needs based on your zipcode - so use and share this link with folks who could benefit. 


We all know the classic nonprofit terms and definitions governing the sector, but what happens when we need new ones? So Team Rhinocorn decided to suggest new thoughtful or playful terms we think need introduced into the nonprofit lexicon.

Proprietary Altruism

noun | the principle or practice of unselfish concern for, devotion to, or donation supporting the welfare of others, but with the demand that the donor gets exclusive brand, acknowledgement or ownership of the opportunity. 

"Oh, Company X was extremely excited about our mission to feed the hungry, but they want a proprietary altruism clause in their partnership agreement, getting full branding rights to the program for their gift. So we need to decide if that's ideal."



"Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings."

William Arthur Ward

The Rundown 11.15.2017

You know it's the holiday season when your lists not only grow, but you start adding new ones to the bunch: lists for work, lists for holiday gift shopping, lists for holiday food shopping, lists for seasonal events and parties, lists for who's been naughty and who's been nice around the office. And on and on and on they go.

So it seems about right that my favorite articles this week all seemed to have the list thing too going on. And who doesn't love a good list blog anyway? Usually articles in this format are clear and consumable from the title alone. 5 things? That sounds great. 25? Hm. Maybe. 82? No way, I have better things to do.

So, here is your list of the 5 of the best articles I've read this week with a combined 37 tips and ideas to make you smarter and savvier in less than 25 minutes. Not too shabby, right? Aren't you glad you've added The Rundown to your list of some of your favorite things this year? I know I am.



8 Nonprofit Phrases, From Least to Most Exploitative, Ranked

  • If you've been reading The Rundown for any length of time, you know what a nut I am for language and the use of it. Especially in the nonprofit sector. And while I'm not fully on board with every example in this list, I'm enough so that it's one of my favorite articles I've read this week. 
  • Filled with phrases we all use wildly, Ryan Blocker at The Clyde Fitch Report, breaks down 8 of them that really tear at our collective fabric in ways we don't always intend or notice. Until today. 

5 minute read 

11 ways to get feedback from your most introverted employee

  • Believe it or not, I'm honestly an extroverted introvert. As such, I am often more sensitive to the plight of classic introverts. So an article like this really spoke to me when it came to helping anyone manage more strategically and thoughtfully with their introverted employees and co-workers. 
  • Brilliantly outlined by Claire Lew at the Know Your Company Blog, she not only puts things into perspective, but honestly offers one of the best lists I've ever seen that's both frank and effective. 

8 minute read

6 Approaches to Innovation for Nonprofit Boards

  • Upon my deathbed, I will probably utter to my loved ones "...always remember, a nonprofit with a crummy board will never thrive in any other area of their organization until they build one that can move them forward powerfully..." Or something dramatic like that. 
  • So I'm always thankful for articles like this by Eugene Fram, because it's ripe with a wealth of ways to think bigger and more effectively about board models and management. No. Seriously folks. Get your boards together. 

3 minute read

5 Reasons to Add Your Voice to the Volunteer Management Progress Report

  • And if I still have any breath in my body while still on my deathbed, I will also include the phase "...and don't even get me started about the plight of volunteer managers and how poorly the industry treats them..." or again, something equally as dramatic. 
  • No matter if you are a paid or unpaid volunteer professional, please check out this  request to help support the 2018 Volunteer Management Progress Report put out by Tobi Johnson at VolunteerPRO. It'll provide a dynamic wealth of information on the industry and honestly needs your voice to help insure so. 

3 minute read w/o links

The Seven Deadly Sins of Sponsorship

  • Sponsorship is not philanthropy. And yet, how many times do we attempt to intertwine them boldly and foolishly? But they are not the same, and it's a problem and often looks foolish when we try to merge them. 
  • Carrying them down from the mountain top, Chris Baylis spells out the top 7 "sins" we all face in the sponsorship game and how to smartly avoid them.  He's not just preaching folks, this is the Word. Trust me. 

5 minute read



We all know the classic nonprofit terms and definitions governing the sector, but what happens when we need new ones? So Team Rhinocorn decided to suggest new thoughtful or playful terms we think need introduced into the nonprofit lexicon.


noun | An organization of one where the sole founder calls themselves the "owner" and won't accept any sustainable help, advice, or support from volunteers or stakeholders. Often 501cMEs brag about how hard they work for no pay and how "no one gets the importance of their work anyway" to anyone within earshot. 



"The human animal differs from the lesser primates in his passion for lists."

H. Allen Smith

The Rundown 11.8.2017

This was a fun week to produce. Not only am I sharing a really fantastic nonprofit blog series I've fallen in love with, and several best-practice-smashing articles, but I found a blog that's literally featuring a dozen other blogs!

I know, right? Informational Networking Nerd Heaven! So this week is rich with learning and new writers and thought-leaders to follow. It just makes me so happy to spread the intellectual wealth among us all. 

On that very note, do you know that if you're a writer, podcaster, or have thoughts to share, I'd love to see your stuff too, right? Please send it my way. I can't promise I'll share everything on here, but as you know, I still love to read it all


501 Crossroads Podcast

  • The nonprofit sector, a savory topic or two, and sometimes a glass of wine, it's all ripe for lively discussion and  exploration on the 501 Crossroads Podcast - a podcast I've come to really enjoy in the past few months.
  • Hosted by Marjorie Moore and Natalie Jablonski, they're smart, funny, and passionate about exploring the intersection between people and mission because like the rest of us, they live it everyday.  

Costly Mistakes That Affect Many Non-Profits

  • I always love a good solid, straight-to-the-point article that lays out the kind of truthful advice we all need to hear in an honest, direct, thoughtful tone.  
  • This one is a recent favorite by Robert L. Wambolt who pulls no punches in offering 4 examples of mistakes nonprofit make that costs more money than we often realize. My favorite number? Honestly, they're all equally meaningful.
  • 2 minute read

A Graphic Re-visioning of Nonprofit Overhead

  • There are some days when reading an article is just flat-out rewarding. A revelation. A mind-blower. An article ofoffering advice, or a tool, or a way to look at something in a way that completely changes the game - and kinda make you leap for joy. 
  • And this time around, we have Curtis Klotz at Nonprofit Quarterly to thank for his article, introducing a life-changing new concept about how to address and showcase nonprofit overhead like never before. But moreover, in a way that's actually clearer and more effective for donors and stakeholders. 
  • 5 minute read

2017 International Volunteer Managers Day Blog Carnival

  • As you might know, the nonprofit industry just celebrated International Volunteer Manager's Day and what better way to celebrate than with a ton of amazing volunteer management blogs written by professionals from all over the globe! 
  • Massive shout-out to Liza J Dyer who lovingly put together this list of a dozen articles written by some of my personal favorite people in the industry and one that'll keep you reading and learning for days to come!


We all know the classic nonprofit terms and definitions governing the sector, but what happens when we need new ones? So Team Rhinocorn decided to suggest new thoughtful or playful terms we think need introduced to the nonprofit lexicon.

Vanilla Marketing

noun | the opposite of Guerrilla Marketing, where a nonprofit spends too much on an advertising strategy that's overly generic or conventional , often stripping out their core message to appeal to a larger audience. 

"We were worried that our mission to support three-legged, one-eyed dogs was alienating, but we might have gone a little too vanilla marketing with our visuals of just dog bowls in the grass and the tagline 'Help us make them feel whole again...'." 


"You build on failure. You use it as a stepping stone. Close the door on the past. You don't try to forget the mistakes, but you don't dwell on it. You don't let it have any of your energy, or any of your time, or any of your space."

Johnny Cash

The Rundown 11.1.2017

Oh sure, we think we have it ALL figured out, we nonprofit professionals. As I like to joke in our world, "best practices" are really just a phrase we use to make the stuff we're always endlessly doing sound like it's intentional. 

So when you see an article by a seasoned professional talk about how their past mistakes can save you time and trouble today, or they're showcasing a list of ideas to help change your organization's culture, or they're offering a free course? You run to those links. You run to them and click on them and pour over them and thank the nonprofit gods these people take the time to write. And that you took the time to read.

But don't thank me for taking the time to post them. I'm just a crazy person doing my thing. I'm no hero. You and the writers are the real heroes. I'm just connecting dots and hopefully speeding up the process. 


FREE Nonprofit Master Class: Mapping Out Your Nonprofit Marketing Calendar for 2018!

  • How often are you only just starting to think about your holiday solicitation campaign in late September or your summer campaign in May?
  • Thankfully, Julia Campbell has you covered with a free webinar in December to help you plan for all of 2018 with a Master Class in nonprofit marketing mapping.

16 (yes, 16!) Easy Ways to Lead Your Organization’s Culture Shift

  • You know your organization needs a culture shift around fundraising and philanthropy, but how? Where do you start? And how can you directly contribute to the success? 
  • Offering over a dozen smart and easy solutions, Pamela Grow suggests a wealth of culture-affecting ideas that anyone and everyone can do to create impact. My favorites on her list? #1 and #14, for sure. 
  • 5 minute read

5 Fundraising Delusions Nonprofits Suffer

  • Sometimes an article just drops from heaven, preaching the truth, showing us the way. If only we were smart enough to read them and heed them!
  • Offering us a beacon of light, Nell Edgington at Social Velocity spells out five of the lies fundraisers (and board members) tell ourselves. Go get a second cup of coffee and sit down for this one. 
  • 3 minute read

10 Things I Regret About My First Volunteer Training

  • Training and orienting volunteers isn't just about reviewing a handbook or telling people where the bathrooms are and when to clock-in for a shift. No no, my friends, it's an invested process that takes tact, planning and a heap of purpose.
  • And take it from a master like Tobi Johnson at VolunteerPRO, who thoughtfully tells us about her early years, the mistakes she's made, and how you can avoid them to insure your own program thrives today. 
  • 3 minute read


We all know the classic nonprofit terms and definitions governing the sector, but what happens when we need new ones? So Team Rhinocorn decided to suggest new thoughtful or playful terms we think need introduced to the nonprofit lexicon.


noun | when a donor asks to have a special or significant thank you uniquely created for them as a condition of their donation.  

"Mrs. Jones was open to a $10k gift, but as a thanchor she's expecting our next special event 5k be named after her late husband."


"Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do." 



The Rundown 10.25.2017

"Kill'em with kindness" is something I've heard my entire life. It wasn't until I became an SME and then a consultant that I understood what it really meant. Sometimes I'm right and others are wrong. Sometimes I'm wrong and others are right. And sometimes we're both both and still at odds. 

But how we handle ourselves is what really matters anymore. Not just politically or personally, but has humans. Being right or wrong doesn't warrant a behavior that should ignore kindness or thoughtfulness. In fact, I've found that people are more willing than ever to listen and hear me when I'm coming from a place of kindness rather than trying to "win" something. 

With that in mind, I've found some really kind articles and promotions this week where people are being really thoughtful and mindful of their opinions and the facts involved. You honestly don't find that everyday. So I'm glad I found some for us to share in the bounty. 


Free Membership Growth Online summit 2017

  • Imagine a world where you'd have access to 5 expert-led webinars over 5 days that was free, recorded, earned you CAEs, and covered a wealth of insight and strategy on the subjects of member engagement and growth.
  • Well, thanks to the Wild Apricot team, you need imagine no longer. Taking place the week of November 13th-17th, click the link above to learn more, register and enjoy the splendor of free, focused education all from the comforts of your desktop. My favorite kind.  

5 Ways You Can Create a More Inclusive Workplace Immediately -- and Why You Should

  • SPOILER ALERT: "Inclusion" isn't a buzzword. It's real. It's needed. And it matters to the future of any organization no matter the shape, size or mission. If only there were some easy ways to create a more inclusive environment worth considering. 
  • Thank goodness for people like Frans Johansson at  Entrepreneur who make our lives easier with their bright ideas. And bonus! This isn't written just for "leaders" but for any employee or volunteer to consider and use. 

3 minute read

4 Strategies to Dramatically Increase Nonprofit Donations

  • Unless you're new to fundraising, there are very few tricks that most of us haven't used to try and get new or renewed donors. Now, that doesn't mean we don't need the occasional reconsideration or idea to give us a little renewed spirit or idea. 
  • Enter Claire Axelrad at Clarification where she suggests 4 solid ideas to consider engaging and enticing donors--including one I don't personally appreciate, but Claire makes the point that she doesn't either - and yet it really works. 

5 minute read w/o links

Anti-Collaboration Is Killing Your Nonprofit

  • POPQUIZ: Do you know how many of your volunteers donate? Or how many donors volunteer? No? Oh. Wow. Ok. 
  • Written lovingly by me, I want to just explore the conversation about the value of making sure your Engagement Professionals are collaborating. Because your donors and volunteers are... and it's painful when you don't play along. 

4 minute read


We all know the classic nonprofit terms and definitions governing the sector, but what happens when we need new ones? So Team Rhinocorn decided to suggest new thoughtful or playful terms we think need introduced to the nonprofit lexicon. 


verb | using a free, cheaper, or donated item or service from an outside source that's knowingly inferior but financially and logistically necessary. 

"We got to a point where we needed a solid CRM to track our donors, but the board told us it was too expensive so we downsourced a donor tracker in Excel that one of our volunteers built for another organization she works at."


"Saving our planet, lifting people out of poverty, advancing economic growth... these are one and the same fight. We must connect the dots between climate change, water scarcity, energy shortages, global health, food security and women's empowerment. Solutions to one problem must be solutions for all." 

Ban Ki-moon