How to Handle a Crisis… and Come Out Smelling Like a Rose

Six minutes. That’s how long it took to realize that the flood of calls and emails meant that we were about to have dozens of angry constituents on our hands.

Now, a couple of weeks later, I’m thrilled that, rather than losing important relationships over the debacle, we’ve actually improved our reputation among most of the affected families. Here’s how we did it.


My Top 10 Posts of 2014

This has been a great year — a year in which, among many challenges and accomplishments, I’m thrilled to have launched this blog.


Photo courtesy of Dennis Skley on Flickr

I’m especially grateful for you, the handful of people who have come aboard and supported my journey into becoming a writer, in addition to a nonprofit professional. Your support and encouragement have kept me going!

As I look back on Year 1 (or should I call this Year 0?), I thought I might share the Top 10 posts from the year — those that received the most shares on social media and email and the most views on my website. I thought this might be especially helpful for those who have subscribed more recently — you may have missed some earlier posts that you might find interesting or helpful.

How to Spend More, Smartly, on Development

In my last post, I showed you how to use a smart management tool to get a handle on your budget and figure out how much your organization should be spending on development.

If you tried it out, I’d bet you a box of off-brand ball point pens that it told you that you’re underinvesting.


Photo courtesy of OTA Photos on Flickr

What?!? Are you suggesting that I increase my overhead? Maybe.

The 10 Steps To Solve Your Budget Troubles

Virtually every nonprofit struggles to balance its budget. Attempts to bring it into balance usually involve some combination of cutting expenses (often sacrificing future growth), and stretching the fundraising goal past the point of confidence. But it doesn’t have to be that way.


About a year ago, I attended a workshop session at the University of Richmond’s Institute on Philanthropy. Wally Stettinius, a statesman of the Richmond philanthropic community, led the session.

How to Give a Great Media Interview

As nonprofit leaders, we’re often called upon to speak with the media. For many, this can be one of the scariest responsibilities of being a leader. But with a little practice and a few key points, you can knock it out of the park.

How to Give a Great Media Interview

Please note: These suggestions are intended for general, non-crisis interviews.

An Enduring Mark on Richmond

John Bryan retired this week after more than five years as the founding president of CultureWorks here in Richmond. For those outside Richmond, CultureWorks is the champion for arts and culture in the Richmond region. John is a mentor to many and a friend to all. Despite decades of experience in nonprofit leadership, he has a naturally inquisitive spirit and a lasting commitment to continuous learning. He has left a truly enduring mark on Richmond — in more ways than one.


I recently sat down with John to talk about leadership, our community, his tattoo, and his thoughts as he retires from his position with CultureWorks.

The Executive Director’s Role with Call Notes

Call notes are like getting regular service for your car: you can keep pretending that you don’t need to do them, but sooner or later, you won’t be able to get anywhere.


Image courtesy of Tom VanNortwick on Flickr

The development director’s responsibility for call notes is clear. Even those that are naturally inclined toward recalling details can improve the quality of their follow-up by using call notes. Even more importantly, call notes provide vital¬†continuity in the organization’s institutional memory when the development director leaves.

That said, the executive director has an especially critical need to create call notes.