Monday, January 26, 2015

Every Day a Holiday

The holiday season is over … decorations are put away, schedules have settled back into a more normal pace, new gifts and toys aren’t so new anymore. 

Chances are the steady flow of urgent appeal letters from charitable organizations has dwindled to a trickle. Food drives and toy drives have gone away.  ‘Adopted’ families are left to their own devises once again.

People and families are not just hungry at Christmas-time. Children need clothes and shoes and coats all of the time. Charitable organizations pursue their missions and do their work all through the year.

         Ever see the calendars where every day is a holiday?

Well … people are hungry every day. People are homeless every day. Children go to school hungry every day ill-prepared for learning. The Christmas season is the season of giving? Every season should be a season of giving to those less fortunate.

Why not make your calendar a perpetual giving calendar? After all … every day is a holiday somewhere!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Don't Be a Couch Potato - Get Up and Do Something!

There is a well-known saying by President John F. Kennedy: “Anyone can do something and everyone should try”.  How short and crisp and to-the-point this saying is - yet how poignant at the same time!


Living in a good and healthy community is what we all want.  In order to make this a reality, it takes the effort of everyone doing their part to hold up their end and make their contribution.  It’s easy to complain that this or that needs fixing, or this or that should be done, or this person or that person should be doing more.  Just as the saying goes that it takes a village to raise child, so too does it takes all those living in the village to make the village a good and healthy one.


We are all born with talents of some kind. Be they simple talents or ones employing great skills – the point is they all count and are all needed. We need to use them. Likewise, we all have some amount of discretionary time available.  We should be using at least a little bit of it for the betterment of the whole.  Find a way to get involved that is meaningful to you and helpful to all.  You will feel good about not being a couch potato anymore!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Collaboration in the Workplace

Collaborative mechanisms can be used in a variety of ways in the workplace: to problem solve and trouble shoot, to share resources and information office-to-office, department-to-department, or program-to-program. But more important, to create an environment of learning at work.  Sometimes the business of fulfilling our missions can become more automatic than visionary.

            Perhaps at a staff meeting:

1.     Start by one staff person presenting a problem, a scenario, or a question

2.     Other staff members offer constructive questions, feedback and perspectives

3.     Document any new logistics, procedures/protocol, ideas and solutions

4.     Revisit this issue at the next gathering of the group [staff meeting]. What did staff learn about this process? What did they learn ab out each other?

Keep it going awhile and then take the litmus test of the group … keep going? Or was it deemed a better idea than practice.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Kindness Lives!

            The other day I was in line at the grocery store. The person in front of me had a child in tow and was struggling to reach her items in her cart. I said, “Allow me to help you”, and I helped her with the task. She seemed so surprised. I smiled and said, “Kindness lives … pass it on”. She smiled back and nodded.  I am often struck by those who hold a door a door for me or allow me to get out into traffic and always smile and give a hearty ‘thank you’!

These simple, random, acts of kindness can have great impact – far more than we could ever know. We never know what the person next to us is going through that day. These little kindnesses from a stranger can lift a heart, give hope, and turn a day around.

            I don’t think I am being old fashioned – but when I see someone so intent on their ‘mobile device’ that they are oblivious to those around them and any interruption is viewed as an intrusion. I feel sad – they are missing it – real life.

            For kindness to live we have to notice one another and be willing to lend a hand, a smile, and a kind word.  Kindness lives! … Pass it on!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Here’s something to think about when starting Board and committee meetings.  It is recommended as a matter of good practice that in the case of a Board meeting, that one of the Board members (on a rotating basis) be tasked by the Board Chairperson to recite the organization’s mission statement at the beginning of the Board meeting deliberations.  Why is this important you ask? There are at least two reasons.


First, it creates more involvement of Board members in the Board meeting proceedings. Secondly, and equally importantly, is the fact that this practice helps to create a Board meeting culture of reminding those in attendance why the organization exists; i.e., its purpose.  It helps to set the tone for the discussions taking place at the meeting and for the decisions that will be made.  In a sense, it is a kind of tool to coordinate, focus, and unify whatever discussions take place.


Likewise, concerning committee meetings of the organization, reciting the organization’s mission statement helps place the committee’s discussion and decision-making in a context for why the particular committee exists at all; i.e., for the betterment of the organization, whether it is an executive, governance, fundraising, audit or any other committee.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Warding Off Disaster

One of the hottest topics in the non-profit, community benefit area these days is that of preparing for the unthinkable and unplanned occurrences that may befall our organizations. We live in a very unpredictable world today as you know.  This sometimes is the result of Mother Nature herself via ultra-severe hurricanes, typhoons, earthquakes, wide-spread power outages, and the like.  Other times it is the result of the lack of stability in our geo-political situation worldwide from terrorists attacks and bombings such as 9-11. 

Nevertheless, because our non-profit, community benefit organizations are so important to the lifeblood of our communities, we all need to be prepared with risk management and business continuation plans so that the valuable services we provide can go on seamlessly in case these disaster situations should occur.  This is so important that now the preparation of a risk management and business continuation plan is considered a best practice and is virtually a MUST for community benefit organizations to develop.  Be pro-active, be preventative, and be one-step ahead of disaster!!

If you do not already have a risk management and business continuation plan for your organization, you would do well to get started on establishing one now.  If you need help in finding model risk management and business continuation plans, we can help you locate one.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Who is a community champion or an ‘un-sung hero’ anyway? Where are they – everywhere … nowhere … or just a wishful thought?

Who is that person who gets involved in church, in school, in sports … wherever … and why do they care?

Throughout the fabric of our American culture is the weft of volunteerism that binds us together.  In every segment of our society you will find them … young and old … all colors, ethnicity and faith … people who care to try to make a positive difference. People who do not seek the spotlight, who do not want accolades or awards, and certainly are not looking for personal gain are – quite simply – everywhere.

This is part of America’s greatness, this whole idea of pitching in to help. From the first Thanksgiving to the local soup kitchen, Americans are known for being the most generous people on the planet. So … who are they and where are they?  They are us and we are everywhere.

The next time you notice one of them … please say ‘thank you’. And while you are at it, why not nominate them for a community award – like the Phoenixville Community Health Foundation’s Champion of the Community Award!