The Rundown 7.19.2017

As most people do, I start my webinars and workshops by telling people a little bit about myself. Among the classic background and skill details, I always make sure to mention two important things folks need to know before we begin: I know they are a unique flower and I am not a psychic. 

While I appreciate the laughs this always brings, I do this to remind everyone there are over 1.5M nonprofits in the US. And even the best of best practices or strategies will require a little modification or editing at the individual level based on their unique needs. Now, that doesn't mean we're not used to seeing some of the same trends, myths and problems among us all, that's for sure.

So this week, I'm still acknowledging your uniqueness and my inability tell the future, but like humanity, we are often more alike than different. So enjoy a few article that really speaks to that truth. You'll laugh, you'll cry, but moreover you'll feel connected to your peers - no matter how unique you really are. 


10 Myths About Non-Profit Work

  • You know how Icy-Hot is both hot and cold? Both soothing and invasive? This is the Ice-Hot of nonprofit articles. The whole time you're going Yes! Exactly! Thank you! But you'll also frown, then smile, probably cheer and certainly growl - but for all the right reasons.
  • Thank you to US News & World Report and Alison Green for knowing the truth 6 years ago and for this article making the rounds again to remind us.
  • But with a 6 year old article in mind? We need to work harder to make these myths and truths more effectively known. This article proves it.
  • 3 MIN READ

How Grantmakers Unwittingly Make Life Harder For Nonprofits

  • Grantmakers want to fund us... right? It sure seems so on the surface, but man it sure doesn't once you start to dig into the entire process, sometimes.
  • Kris Putnam-Walkerly over at Forbes digs into a few of our least-favorite Grantmaker hurdles with a sense of humor and civility but also with a sense of tact to ask the hard questions in reply. And for that, we're grateful. 
  • 3 MIN READ

7 Hidden Strengths of Volunteer Risk Management: It’s About Growth!

  • Any volunteer professional worth their salt knows "free" labor isn't free, but I'm not sure we're also thinking about the costs associated with risk management issues too. And that needs to change for the safety and security of our volunteers, our organizations and the profession at large.
  • Tobi Johnson makes addressing this difficult issue simple, with a 7 step process to develop a plan to address your unique needs. 
  • 3 MIN READ

WEBINAR: Nonprofit Partnership Advancement: 5 Steps to Progressive Partnership Success

  • Are you an Engagement Professional? A Development professional, volunteer manager, program managers, communications professional or executive leader? Then this webinar is for you.

  • Join me for a free webinar on August 3rd at 2pm EST to learn how your nonprofit can build their own Nonprofit Partnership Advancement model to take control back of your corporate and private partnerships. 



What nonprofit myth makes you laugh the hardest?


The Rundown 7.12.2017

You know what's worse than self-promotion? Self-promotion in a vacuum. Yelling bright ideas, throwing tools, and tossing business cards down long, dark hallways of silence. It would make someone go crazy, if they weren't already. 

So yeah. I'm doing fine. The trick, you know, is to keep it conversational, fresh, and about things that matter. Even if you think the things that matter are SO fresh, it's hard to start a conversation in the first place. You follow?

This week in The Rundown, I'm yelling a little louder, shooting some tools out of a t-shirt cannon, and putting up billboards for myself and a few others who are trying really hard to craft conversations and create content that really do matter. They just need a few moments of your time. So I'm here to provide that opportunity. I hope you take advantage, my friends. Pretty please? 


WEBINAR: Nonprofit Partnership Advancement: 5 Steps to Progressive Partnership Success

  • You've heard me talk about it. You've read the blogs. Maybe you even attended my presentation at the Points of Light Conference last month. But now it's time to get to work.
  • Join me for a free webinar on August 3rd at 2pm EST to learn how your nonprofit can build their own Nonprofit Partnership Advancement model.
  • It's time for nonprofits to take control back of their corporate and private partnerships. And it's time for me to teach you how. 

Why Dreaming Big Isn’t Enough

  • Tired of trying to "wow" everyone? Trust me, I get it. You know the difference between aspirational and asinine goals? Very little if you don't have a realistic plan, trust you me. 
  • Colin Shaw does a nice job making a quick read around the subject of dreaming big, but not foolishly or with a lack of strategy. This is written with a corporate audience in mind, but it's 110% applicable to us nonprofit folk. 
  • 2 MIN READ

Demystifying Outcomes Measurement: A Glossary for Funders

  • POPQUIZ: Do you know the difference between Mission vs. Vision? Measurement vs. Evaluation? Outputs vs. Outcomes? Because it's clear far too many people don't. 
  • The npENGAGE team gives Michelle DiSabato a chance to outline a really smart compare/contrast series of industry terms that we all need to make sure we're using correctly or sharing with our donors and volunteers.
  • Read this. Share this. Hell, print it out and put it in your breakroom. 
  • 3 MIN READ

Engagement Professionals Make or Break Nonprofits. Are You One of Them?

  • Oh man, here I go again! If you know anything about me, you know I'm a practical guy with a philosophical streak. You also know I tell it like it is and here I am again addressing an issue we all know well: the internal chaos of nonprofit professionals. 
  • But there is a twist! I figured out that the very root of our problem also happens to be our salvation and solution. No really. No. Really. 
  • All this and I get to introduce a brand new nonprofit umbrella term into the lexicon. Oh, and don't discount this essay: between you and me? It's the cornerstone of so much more to come from Rhinocorn. Trust me on this. 
  • 8 MIN READ (This is more of an essay than a blog, FYI)

How to Disagree Well

  • Hi! Welcome to the last blog link in this week's edition. At this point--assuming you've made it this far--you might be saying to yourself: "Ben, you gentle soul, some of what you've shared this week is dumb or downright incorrect. I say no. I disagree. You are a fool."
  • To that I say: BRING IT. Tell me why. Line it out. But! You better disagree well. As Daniel Goleman outlines here in a piece by Korn Ferry Institute, that will take more than just having an opinion. So study up.
  • 2 MIN BLOG



What is one prevailing nonprofit industry "truth" you think is full of lies?

The Rundown 7.5.2017

Happy Birthday, Rhinocorn Consulting! This week there will be fireworks for the 4th of July--and in my mind-- to celebrate the first full year of my crazy idea put to action. And to help celebrate, you'll notice a few fresh updates to The Rundown as well - make sure you take a look around. 

Hey, did you know that Rhinocorn is a minority-owned business? Yep, while I don't always look it, I'm half Irish (well, that part I do look like) and half Native American. Oh, and gay. But yes, to most people I look just like any other average white dude. And I try to never forget that, because I realize the advantages I've had are different and often better than what other people of color or diversity typically experience. And that haunts me a little, but moreover it helps to keep my eyes wide open and awake.

So with all that in mind week, I was particularly captivated by all things giving us a glimpse into the future. And to me that future is decidedly about data, insight, diversity and empowerment. So please take a moment to peek into that future and take a little journey with me. 


Facts About Charitable Giving for 2017 and Why You Need to Care

  • Data, data and more data, please! I probably say this every 3rd week of The Rundown, but if you're not looking at industry data, you're just running everything off your gut or how "it's always been done". And sure, your gut is totally amazing, and things are "fine" but data is the science of it all and that science is the truth and the past and the future all rolled into one.
  • The folks over at Not Your Father's Charity have provided some synthesized thoughts by the Chronicle of Philanthropy and links to the Giving USA 2017 Report that are fascinating for our work. 
  • While the whole report costs lots of $$, you can download parts or highlights for far cheaper or even free depending on your interests.

3 CSR Hacks to Drive Greater Changes Internally and Externally

  • This article wasn't written for you, my fellow Nonprofit Professional. But... (is anyone looking?) ...that's what makes it so interesting and worth reading as a potential glimpse into the future of your nonprofit/corporate relationships. Sneaky, I know. 
  • A quick blog by Daniel Horgan, here he's talking about a few smart "hacks" to help corporations improve their CSR tactics, most of them involving nonprofit tools and vehicles - which is what makes it such a good read as a nonprofit leader.  
  • Suggestions such as "put volunteer impact stats on the volunteer t-shirts" and "have seasoned nonprofit board members mentor younger ones" give you a glimpse of what you could be doing differently or might expect from a corporate partner in the future.  
  • 2 MIN READ

Young, Black, and LinkedIn

  • I often feel skeptical about connecting with people on Linkedin who don't have profile photos. But what if the real skepticism lived with the individual choosing to not show their photo in the first place?
  • A thoughtful micro-expose into the issues of diversity facing not just the world of LinkedIn, but the individuals who are representing diversity, Jennifer Teitle smartly puts all the cards on the table and still finds space for a little hope and invitation. 
  • 3 MIN READ

Winter is Here, and We Must Build the Power of Organizations and Communities of Color

  • If you think the world is unrelenting and unrealistic about the capacity and opportunities for nonprofits to flourish while underfunded is bad broadly, imagine how that dynamic plays out with underserved organizations of color and diversity nationwide.
  • Armed again with this patented razor-edged wit-meets-humor-meets-depth, Vu Le from Nonprofit AF dives deep around the topic of nonprofit and community diversity disparity and what needs to change to build up community power through our most diverse and dynamic nonprofits. 
  • Yes, this is a long blog, but brew a new pot of coffee and find a nice quiet place to read his work. Vu Le is a gift. A gift I'm not even sure we're all ready to fully accept? But a glorious gift we do deserve from the future sent to help us before we all destroy ourselves. 
  • 8 MIN READ



What one element of the nonprofit industry or landscape do you think needs to quickly change in the future and why? 

Comment Below!


The Rundown 6.28.2017

Sometimes it's hard to be your true self. But everyone says its the best you to be. Me? My true self? I'm smart and compassionate and hard working and dedicated, but I'm also an extremely fast talker, and sarcastic and anxious and can quickly become over-investing in little things. 

And this mixture of things have never been more chaotic than in starting my own consultancy. Some things that make me great, also make me tiring. And some things that make me look crazy, are often parts of my brilliance. Or so I'm told. But I think the trick is to keep looking at everything as puzzle pieces with rough edges. Sometimes you have to work the pieces together a little or try them in other spots. They're all part of the same puzzle? But they don't always go together in the places you assume. 

This week in The Rundown? Some opportunities for your own self-reflection, a chance to compare your website against the best, some e-time savers, and my post-Points of Light Conference blog fresh from Seattle. As I reflect on my own true self, I hope some of these articles and every issue of The Rundown helps you with yours and your nonprofit's. Enjoy! 


How Did I Not See This Coming? A Manager's Guide to Avoiding Total Disaster

  • Management is not a role, it's a journey. And within that journey, you have to start somewhere and often it's at the very beginning. Or the middle. Or toward the end? Hey, I'm not on this journey with you, mind you. But along the way, it's always good to pick up some tips and tricks. 
  • Hosted by ATD and presented by Katy Tynan, this webinar (already past, but you can register to view the taping) is a fresh take on manager stresses and struggles in the everyday world. 

The 20 Best Nonprofit Websites List

  • So what makes a "best" nonprofit website? Well, if you ask TopNonprofits, it's a number of disclosed items including responsiveness, clear navigation elements, solid graphics and stellar donation pages. 
  • You're sure to see some familiar faces (Charity Water, Gates Foundation) but you'll also be potentially introduced to some newer names with fantastic missions and websites (Room to Read, Save the Storks) that might serve to inspire your own websites and global display. 
  • 10 MIN READ w/o careful review of each site

5 Canned Email Response Templates That'll Save You All The Time

  • It happens to all of us: a email comes in our inbox and it sits there because we can't figure out a simple way to reply and keep going with our day. 
  • Enter Kayla Matthews, hosted by Forbes, who keeps it simple and stoic, allowing you to cut&paste her words straight off the page or use them as a base to add your own tweaks and personal flair like swear words or emojis. 
  • 3 MIN READ

Nonprofit Partnership Advancement: The Nonprofit's Response to CSR

  • I've been asked a few times, "So what exactly did you talk about during your Points of Light workshop?" and my response is always, "Oh, do you have 90 free minutes?" haha. I kid. Mostly.
  • Hot off the heels of my (soon to be award winning) workshop, I've written a blog focused on the finer points of Nonprofit Partnership Advancement, a concept I'm billing as the nonprofit's strategic response to CSR and corporate interests. 
  • I hope you enjoy this blog, read it, share it, like it, debate it. Anything that strikes a conversation... or contract? Eh, I'm getting ahead of myself. 
  • 7 MIN READ



Did you speak or present at this year's Point of Light Conference on Volunteering & Service? I'm hoping to produce a "Special Edition" of The Rundown early next week focused on any content from this year's speakers and the content they delivered. If you personally produced any content and/or run across any content, please send it my way to be considered for the Special Edition. Thanks!


"To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment."
Ralph Waldo Emerson - American essayist, lecturer, and poet. 

The Rundown 6.21.2017

The life if a nonprofit professional isn't easy. We see problems, we find ways to address them and all the while we showcase a rare kind of confidence to allure supporters, donor, volunteers and anyone willing to highlight the problem's we're trying to solve, all while--and you know this is true--freaking out on the back end that we're probably doing it wrong or could be doing it better.

No? Just me? Just my 20 years in the industry and everyone else I know? Not you? Then this week, The Rundown will confound and confuse you. Sorry about that. 

This week I'm sharing a few pieces that get to the heart of change: comparative studies, design thinking facilitation tools, and being told to quit thinking our intelligence cures any of the problems we face. Oh, and a little, tiny plug for my Points of Light Conference presentation this week (wish me luck). So open some wine, open your mind, and click on a few links. 


2017 Human Resources Nonprofit Comparison Study

  • Every wanted to get inside the head of your Executive Leadership about their hiring practices? 
  • The Minnesota Association for Volunteer Administration are conducting a groundbreaking study to examine how nonprofit CEOs recruit, support, and resource four key staff positions within their organization, including volunteer engagement professionals.
  • So please pass this along to your ED or organizational leader. The survey must be completed by June 26, 2017

4 Design Thinking Facilitation Resources for Nonprofits

  • Have you ever thought about how your programming or mission's work is designed? Moreover, have you ever looked at it from the distinct perspective of those you are serving? 
  • Design Thinking is nothing new, but is finally starting to catch on with the nonprofit sector and as Beth Kanter smartly puts it, "design thinking methodology encourages exploration of unconventional solutions by looking at a problem from the point of view of the people being served."
  • Here, Beth explores four really amazing design thinking facilitation tools you can use at your nonprofit and at your next planning or strategy session.
  • 4 MIN READ (w/o links)

You're Not Too Smart to Have Problems & Other "Intelligence" Misconceptions

  • We all know that person who grunts and frets because they feel they are "too smart" to be dealing with this or that. As if being smart should be some sort of "cure" of what's ailing them. Oh, to dream. 
  • Howard Scott Warshaw lays it all out very smartly and very bluntly with headers such as "Intelligence is a Tool, not a Character Trait" and "The Logical End of Intelligence is Insanity" that will make you chuckle even if the article isn't intended to be funny. But it's funny because we know the people he's describing. And its also kind sad because often it's us. 
  • 4 MIN READ

5 Questions to Improve Your Corporate Partnerships Today!

  • This week I'm in sunny Seattle, WA at the Points of Light's Conference on Volunteering and Service. Both attending and presenting this year, I'm excited to connect with so many professionals and volunteers on the frontline of engagement expertise.
  • Oh yeah, did I mention I was presenting? Little ole me? Well, something must have fallen through their vetting cracks, because yep, I sure am.
  • And if you're wondering what I'll be talking about with about 100+ nonprofit professionals, it's all contained in the article linked above. And even if you've read it before? Please share it this week with someone you think would appreciate it or via LinkedIn? As a kind of "Good luck, Ben!". Thanks.
  • 5 MIN READ


"A smart man makes a mistake, learns from it, and never makes that mistake again. But a wise man finds a smart man and learns from him how to avoid the mistake altogether."
Roy H. Williams - best selling author and marketing consultant



The Rundown 6.14.2017

*clears throat* I believe, we don't spend enough time trying to make each other smarter. I think we work hard at looking smart. I think we think other people are fairly smart. But I don't think we spend enough time trying to make each other smarter. 

Why is this? I think we struggle with a sense of collaborative communications and feeling comfortable in the blended world of educating and being educated. We often feel like if we don't know something, we look foolish or vulnerable. And maybe we do. And maybe that's part of the problem. We need to get better at being willing to educate others and be educated by others with a sense of humility and slow down on making people feel shameful otherwise.

In this I believe. So this week, I took shelter in blogs that are trying to teach us something - even if the author knows we already think we know something about the topic. Trust me, you will learn a few things this week. I did. And I promise not to make you feel stupid for learning or foolish for forgetting anything in the first place. Welcome to The Rundown, my friends. 


Leading People Too Smart to Be Led

  • Full disclosure, I want to literally kiss this article. Passionately. Maybe even employ a little tongue. And so, I'm really sorry if you're a visual thinker. 
  • Robert C. Wolcott at the Harvard Business Review does two things really well in this article: 1) throws bureaucratic caution to the wind and 2) suggests a series of leadership-inducing and inspiring suggestions that will thrill any progressive leader.
  • With suggestions like: "don’t valorize failure", "encourage smart recklessness" and "search for 'stupid' practices as much as you seek best practices" you need to pour a cup of coffee or tea and settle into this wickedly masterful piece. 
  • 4 MIN READ

5 Simple Tips That Can Help Even the Worst Procrastinators

  • Feel free to skip this one and read it later. 
  • Ah, see what I did there? I'm so sneaky. No no, read this now because Andy Molinsky looks deep into all of our souls, sees how much we procrastinate, and then made the time to kindly write a few solid tips to help us avoid over-procrastination. Good guy, that Andy.
  • 3 MIN READ

Five Simple Tactics to Attract New Donations Right Away

  • If you follow me over on The Rundown REMIX online (it's basically The Rundown on Facebook with more emphasis on a broad range of nonprofit articles of variable merit - unlike here where I only showcase what I think is the best) then you know I love a good "Well, yeah, Duh!" blog.
  • Donald Cowper, featured over on the GuideStar Blog, isn't really telling us anything new? But let's not pretend we don't all need reminders of how to do our jobs better when it comes to attracting donors. 
  • My thoughts? #4 is critical and often overlooked and #5 is something I talk about with my clients all the time and needs to be considered at all times. 
  • 3 MIN READ

How To Build A Stellar Fundraising Committee & Volunteer Team

  • Ohhhh... don't you love a 2-for-1 sale? In a world where we shouldn't be doing the work of nonprofits alone - but often do - this article is a refreshing outline of how to build a small army of support that's focused on fundraising while smartly leveraging volunteers
  • Zach Hagopian over at VolunteerMatch gives some guidance on how to arm a group of diverse, multi-stakeholders into a focused group of organized, focused committee members. 
  • "But Ben, managing a group of people is sometimes more work than the task itself..." You liar. And you know you're lying. You're just tired and sometimes feel hopeless and frustrated. And that's ok. But this industry--and all of us--need to think more like a choir and less like a solo artist sometimes. Trust me. 
  • 4 MIN READ


"Unity is strength... when there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved." 
Mattie Stepanek - 14yo best-selling American poet who, before his death, had become known as a peace advocate and motivational speaker

The Rundown 6.7.2017

As the seasons change (Happy Summer!) I find that trends in articles tend to change as well. I'm seeing a spike in career changing and organizational growth themes on the rise. And while some of the articles are great, some are just filler, trying to capture some of the energy around those themes. 

But no filler here! This week I read several articles that were not just about these kinds of changes, but also about our struggles with creativity, money and networking too. And don't forget that having struggles with our artistic sensibilities, having cash flow and knowing people are massive and often necessary elements to becoming successful with any kind of change.

So while I didn't see these articles as having a universal theme? I think they do. As intertwined as you and me. Wait. What do you mean you don't want to be associated with me? Aw. Ok. Fine. I'll be ok. I know you just like me to read all the cool stuff I find. I get this relationship. But I don't have to like it. 


Bias Against Creativity

  • Prior to running my consultancy, I've personally found that while folks do a good job talking about wanting and appreciating creatively, it's pretty much a big fat lie
  • Thank god for people like Tomasz Tunguz who re-opens this can of worms so nicely in a piece he wrote about a 2010 report titled Bias Against Creativity and it's often lack of influence in the workplace - and what you can do to fix that. 
  • Because if I hear one more time "Oh, that's very creative, but we were just looking for a small tweak to our tremendously broken model we can't remember why we have it but it's served us so poorly and we never want to see it change just different and better..." or something like that? I'm paraphrasing. I'm going to lose my mind. 
  • 2 MIN READ

How to Invest in Nonprofit Talent When Your Budget is Tight

  • You can't do it alone. No really. And frankly, stop trying. Nonprofits were not build to be done by one person doing everything. This is not a singing contest, these are lives you're trying to change. 
  • Alicia Schoshinski over at Nonprofit HR pulls out some solid stats, tools and considerations to go from one to some with a thoughtful approach and an understanding of financial and other limitations. 
  • Smaller nonprofits, this article was written with you fully in mind. Read it twice, tuck it away and doodle about it in your dream journal
  • 5 MIN READ

12 of the Best Nonprofit Job Boards for People With Passion

  • Maybe you love your current job. Maybe you don't. Maybe you just want to see what's around the block. Maybe you don't have a choice in the matter.
  • No matter the reason? The lovely Joanne Fritz at The Balance gives you 12 of the best of the best places to go looking, hunting and scoring. 

3 Easy-to-use Templates And Strategies For Effective Networking

  • Sometimes networking isn't as hard as closing the loop. And while this article is targeted to women specifically, I can assure you the advice is fantastically gender neutral. Maybe even fluid. You be the judge. 
  • Lelia Gowland over at Forbes breaks it down and even gives some stellar template email and loop-closing language to consider and make your own. 
  • 3 MIN READ


"By the way, intelligence to me isn't just being book-smart or having a college degree; it's trusting your gut instincts, being intuitive, thinking outside the box, and sometimes just realizing that things need to change and being smart enough to change it."
Tabatha Coffey - Australian hairstylist, salon owner, and tough as nails television personality


The Rundown 5.31.2017

Can you feel it? It's almost summer. And with the change in the season, it gets a guy to thinking. No, not how to make this the "best summer ever!" like every magazine cover is over-promising you, but moreover how to keep pushing ahead smarter and more informed than you were yesterday.

Looking back at the past few days, it didn't feel like I was having an existential experience, but I feel like several of the reads and something I wrote will oddly reflect otherwise. Who knows, you tell me. 

All the same, it's like everything I share and hope you'll read and enjoy too: nuggets of wisdom and support that aims to make you smarter, faster, wiser, stronger. No really. It's what I consider to be part of my charms. I'm sure you do too. And if not? The critique only serves to make me stronger. Sadder, sure. But stronger nonetheless. 


Why Most People Will Never Be Successful

  • Go grab some coffee or tea, find a comfortable place to sit, and center yourself for a very thoughtful piece on the meaning and existence of success in your life
  • Benjamin Hardy over at Thrive Global is wisely pushing people to take higher quality choices in their goals and their daily lives.
  • This stuff matters. Deeply. Most of us in the nonprofit sector are trying very hard to change our little slice of the world and that doesn't come easy or by choosing poorly - or by not realizing we might be choosing poorly.
  • 3 MIN READ

The 6 Most Read Parts of any Major Gift Solicitation Letter

  • Assuming you have a sip or two of your coffee or tea left, you have just enough time to read this crazy quick piece on the parts of solicitation letters that matter most to donors. 
  • Greg Warner over at MarketSmart is a wise guy who understands brevity and communicating openly. I mention this because sometimes in his articles the really good stuff is in the comment section. You'll see
  • 1 MIN READ w/o reading the comments

7 Brain Hacks That Will Dramatically Improve Your Intelligence and Success

  • I really do believe that to be a good teacher, coach, or consultant you have to be a good student too. 
  • This article by Elle Kaplan also over at Thrive Global (you should really check them out beyond what I'm sharing) is showcasing some slick and savvy tools and processes to help you keep getting smarter and growing your mental wealth. 
  • Some of the advice she gives is honestly just a solid reminder that we're often trying to cram too much into too little time/space/effort. And that reminder alone is worth it's weight in gray matter. 
  • 4 MIN READ

Don't be a Sheep Spreading Wolf Pack Leadership Lies

  • I'm not a skeptic by nature--no pun intended--but when I saw that photo of the walking wolf pack flying around online with it's description of how it's an analogy for leadership... it had me suspicious
  • I'm pretty well known for speaking my mind and having any number of heated opinions about a variety of issues. I know, shocking! But they're my words. My opinions. So when things are heavily shared online that are not the owner's and they don't come notarized? My spider-sense tingles. 
  • This is my response. And maybe I spend too much time on Thrive Global this week? But it got me thinking about personal integrity. Yours and mine. 
  • 4 MIN READ


"The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character - that is the goal of true education."
Martin Luther King, Jr. - American Baptist minister, activist, and leader in the Civil Rights Movement. 


The Rundown 5.24.2017

Remember Jan Brady's famous catchphrase, "Engagement, Engagement, Engagement, why is everyone at school always talking about Engagement?" No? Hm. Well, I'm sure I'm close. Anyway, she's right. Poor Jan just isn't as popular as Engagement and while heartbreaking for her, it's worth paying attention to a little more closely. If you find The Rundown helpful and fascinating (of course you do) you're probably what I would call a "nonprofit engagement professional".

To me, nonprofit engagement professionals are individuals who are invested in the skills, design, concepts and implementation of active engagement tactics for the growth and advancement of their organizations. They live in a world often ruled by the 3R’s: recruitment, retention and recognition. These are individuals who professionally work in classic nonprofit roles such as fundraising, volunteer management, and outreach and education.  

And they drive the Jan's of the word mad. Because they get all the attention. As they should, frankly. And in this week's Rundown, we found some blogs that focus on those attributes: strategy implementation, leadership growth, educational motivators, and change. And sure, Jan can benefit from these stories. But us Marsha’s? We nonprofit engagement professionals need them most.


How to write a fundraising strategy (and how to implement it and keep it alive)

  • Fundraising isn't just "asking for money", it's a dynamic human-based process wrapped in a philosophy, grilled over the flames of philanthropy, and made with love. 
  • The team at the Fundraising Collective are breaking down the basics here to build a smart, comprehensive fundraising strategy model. 
  • 5 MIN READ

From Manager To Leader: How To Transform The Way You Coordinate Volunteers

  • You know the old saying "a square is a rectangle but a rectangle is not a square" I think it's often the same between managers and leaders: a leader is a manger, but a manger is not always a leader.
  • Guest blogging for VolunteerMatch's Engaging Volunteers blog, Clay Boggess puts a smart set of definitions behind this concept and helps people think about how to transition from "volunteer manager" to "volunteer leader" in ways that count. 
  • 4 MIN READ

11 Motivators That Increase the Desire to Learn

  • Have you ever been across the table or at the head of a group of people who were there to listen, but apparently not there to learn?
  • The Amplifire team put together a smart list of motivators that not only help to describe what drives individual's interest in learning, but ways to consider bringing more diversity and strength to your educational models. 
  • My favorite is #11 and it's a cornerstone of some of the magic I've done professionally and now with Rhinocorn for clients who want to invest in those sorts of awesome program models. 
  • 2 MIN READ

Nonprofits: Be Your True Self, Just Like Pinterest

  • Pinterest has recently decided to get rid of their "like" button - a feature considered essential of social medial platforms. Why? Because they found it makes their model more missional. 
  • Which got me thinking... what if nonprofits did the same? What if they looked at things they do because it's the "norm" or an industry standard but they knew it wasn't helping them advance or thrive? So I wrote a small reflection on the subject. 
  • 3 MIN READ


"I think happiness is a combination of pleasure, engagement and meaningfulness."
Ian K. Smith - American physician and author



The Rundown 5.17.2017

Ok, it's time to come clean. I'm just one guy. I mean, I have some limited support from one or two people now and again, but Rhinocorn Consulting, and The Rundown is just one guy. Me. Ben Bisbee.

I'm telling you this, because I thought it was smart or savvy to write this thing like it could be anyone from #TeamRhinocorn - but if you know me personally, you can clearly, amusingly read my voice in these posts. And if you don't know me, you probably don't care anyway.

But why am I really telling you this? Because I really do read 20-40 articles a week and look for the best ones to share. This on top of client work and my own writing and running a business and trying to make magic happen in all aspect of my life. And you deserve to know this - not just so I can own any glory (or spelling errors) but to prove I'm the real deal: I'm a nerdy, hard-working, educationally-driven and amusingly mouthy guy who wants people to be smarter and better informed so we can all grow together. It's why I started Rhinocorn. Its why I write The Rundown. And its what makes me, me. 

Ugh, ok. Now you know. Stop looking at me. The light is so bright! Go away... go read some of the stuff I found this week It's good stuff. I approve. 


How to Attract Corporate Partners with Your Nonprofit Website

  • I literally live for articles like this - smart, visually driven, and detailed rundowns of how someone is excelling in their approach. 
  • Joe Waters from Selfish Giving breaks down a nonprofit's website who is nailing the corporate outreach angle on their website. 
  • Plan to take lots of notes and then put your webmaster on speed dial. 
  • 5 MIN READ

The Non Profit Achievement Gap: Seven Ways Small and Medium Non Profits Stunt Their Own Fundraising

  • This article will make you smile, frown, laugh, cry and clutch your pearls because he's telling the honest story of our lives in the nonprofit development sector. 
  • The wise Armando Zumaya smartly breaks down why we keep failing and flailing in our aim to simplify (aka: under-think) the development needs of our organizations - and he nails every. single. one. 
  • 3 MIN READ

Secret’s Out: Nonprofits Aren’t For-profits & Donors Aren’t Customers

  • Ok, before you click the link, go grab some coffee or tea, stretch a little, maybe walk around the building and then settle in, you're going to be here a while, but it's worth it. 
  • Its not that the article is so long - it's that it's smart. Really smart. And in that intelligence lies the truth behind a lie we tell ourselves all the time - donors are like customers! And thank god for Zach Shefska at the Fundraising Report Card for telling the truth. 
  • SO smart actually, your brain will hurt a little in realizing you've been living with that lie and now you need to think and probably talk differently about donors. And trust me, that's a good thing. 
  • 4 MIN READ


"Honesty is the fastest way to prevent a mistake from turning into a failure." 


James Altucher - American hedge fund manager, entrepreneur, bestselling author, venture capitalist and podcaster. He's founded or cofounded more than 20 companies and says he failed at 17 of them.