In episode #78 of the Path Podcast, Patton offers a coaching session to help you find 5 Ways to Build Your Nonprofit Leadership Plan. How do you effectively conduct a personal annual review? How do you build your personal board of directors? How do you curate content given the volume of data coming at you? How do you better express yourself in professional settings that can help you get ahead? And finally, how do you ... [..] read more
Every nonprofit leader has "read more" on their list of 2021 new year's resolutions! If you're looking for some good recommendations, we've got a countdown of the five top picks (and a bonus pick) from our nearly 60 podcast guests in 2020. Enjoy!
5. EssentialismAn exercise in prioritization, Greg McKeown's Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less will provide you with a great philosophical and practical approach to minimizing overload and ... [..] read more
As a nonprofit leader, two topics are always on the top of your list of strategic priorities. First, how do I recruit and engage great board members? And second, how do I create a sustainable and dynamic fundraising program that secures my nonprofit for the future? In episode #77 of the Path Podcast, I had a great conversation with Karen Eber Davis, who proves she is the perfect person to answer both of these high-priority ... [..] read more
PMA's new leadership coaching program, designed as a "Mastermind" for senior leaders in the nonprofit sector, kicked off with its first session in September 2020. "We are thrilled by the talent and experience this first cohort brings to the program," said PMA President Paton McDowell. "Not only are they passionate about the organizations they serve and their career paths, they are genuinely interested in helping each other, which is a hallmark of the Mastermind ... [..] read more
"Leadership: In Turbulent Times" by Doris Kearns Goodwin If you're looking for book recommendations in the productivity and professional development genre, Patton offers a weekly summary of some of the essential and emerging titles from the PMA Library. The title alone certainly makes this book relevant to nonprofit leaders in 2020. While the historical highlights were familiar around each of the four presidents Goodwin profiles in Leadership in Turbulent Times, she provides a fascinating ... [..] read more
How do you fundraise during a perfect storm? Nonprofit leaders are challenged in numerous ways right now, and face uncharted territory in terms of the fundraising environment in which they must operate. While Chris Carnie's work originates primarily in the UK and Spain, he brings a global perspective to not only the elements of the storm we must understand, but also ways to better navigate through it. In episode #76 of the Path Podcast... [..] read more
Heather Moeller, CFRE joined Children's Home Society in November as Regional Director of Philanthropy. Her depth of knowledge and expertise in philanthropy will add to a phenomenal fundraising team at CHS which is located in cities across North Carolina and led by VP of Philanthropy Kristen Smalley The agency, which has served children and families in North Carolina for over 100 years, is led by President & CEO Brian Maness. Ultimately, both Kristen and ... [..] read more
"Breath: The New Science of A Lost Art" by James NestorIf you're looking for book recommendations in the productivity and professional development genre, Patton offers a weekly summary of some of the essential and emerging titles from the PMA Library. It's easy to take for granted something you do 25,000 times a day without thinking. But James Nestor offers a fascinating study of the essential art of breathing, and explains how ... [..] read more
Perhaps you are considering a move between nonprofit sectors, or even moving to an entirely different community to advance your career. As a nonprofit leader, these are transitions you'll likely manage along your journey, and you may also be helping navigate such a transition for someone who joins your team. My guest in episode #75 of the Path Podcast, Stacy Sumner Jesso, has managed all of these transitions, and shares great lessons and advice ... [..] read more
Every nonprofit is planning - or pondering - some sort of virtual fundraising event. Either adapting a previous live model, or trying something online for the first time. How confident are you in your design and potential for success? If a virtual fundraising event is in your future, Episode #74 of the Path Podcast is the perfect resource to guide your thinking. Jenni Hargrove brings her marketing, communication and special event expertise to a great discussion around ... [..] read more
The New Development Professionals program, one of two signature programs produced by the Institute for Philanthropic Leadership, continued its fall season with an outstanding line-up of nonprofit experts. This month's special guests included Jim Taylor from BoardSource who led things off with a presentation titled Integrating Diversity, Equity & Inclusion into Your Board Culture and Performance, followed by Penny Hawkins from PMA Consulting and President of AFP Charlotte. who shared Professional Networking & ... [..] read more
The year 2020 has reminded nonprofit leaders of two significant issues they must manage to succeed: diversity, equity & inclusion and the mental health of their teams and themselves. This can be a tall order when combined with everything else leaders in the charitable sector must face. Fortunately, our guest on Episode #73 of the Path, Valerie Williams, is exactly the person who can help us understand these issues and provide practical tools to integrate ... [..] read more
For individuals struggling to meet the basic needs of food, clothing and housing, finding success in school and life may seem like an uphill battle. Many facing these economic hardships are at risk for a wide range of effects including hunger, poor academic achievement and repeating the cycle of poverty. Recognizing the existence of these issues in her rural community of Laurinburg, North Carolina, Dr. Melba McCallum, Executive Director at Partners In Ministry created a ... [..] read more
Thinking in Bets: Making Smarter Decisions When You Don't Have All The Factsby Annie DukeIf you're looking for book recommendations in the productivity and professional development genre, Patton offers a weekly summary of some of the essential and emerging titles from the PMA Library.Poker champion Annie Duke has transferred the lessons she's picked up from the championship table and applied them to decision making in life through her book, Thinking In ... [..] read more
What is a mastermind, and how could it help you on your nonprofit leadership journey? In episode #72 of the Path Podcast, Patton provides some history on the mastermind concept, and explains how PMA has adapted the model to best serve nonprofit leaders. He explains the characteristics that best describe successful participants, and the philosophies and structure that went into the design and implementation of the program. Patton also shares four key elements of the ... [..] read more
The Infinite Game (Simon Sinek)
If you're looking for book recommendations in the productivity and professional development genre, Patton offers a weekly summary of some of the essential and emerging titles from the PMA Library. This book is a personal recommendation, as well as one made by podcast guest, Justin Dionne, on episode #21 of The Path Podcast. Like his classic Start With Why, Sinek builds on a basic concept in the INFINITE GAME ... [..] read more
How do you incorporate your previous nonprofit leadership experiences in a way that strengthens your current work? Jennifer Garner has built an impressive resume on the way to her current position at the University of Denver, including international advancement work at two institutions in the United Kingdom. While the experiences are impressive in and of themselves, she also does a fantastic job of lifting up key bits of advice and resources she's utilized throughout ... [..] read more
After its debut on November 13, 2019, we've reached the one year anniversary of our podcast, Your Path To Nonprofit Leadership! We're celebrating:
12 months of weekly interviews and bonus episodes
70 episodes featuring nonprofit leaders from around the U.S. and the world
More than 12,000 downloads
But we want to make it even better! Please take the quick survey (five questions) linked below and tell us what topics interest you ... [..] read more
The ability to manage change must be part of your toolkit as a nonprofit leader. After starting her career with Teach for America in Chicago, Dyisha Reliford continued to learn from her successful corporate, community and nonprofit experiences to formulate the essential steps to managing change. Her study led to a wonderfully practical new book called The Transformation Playbook: 7 Winning Strategies to Drive Sustainable Change. On episode #70 of the Path Podcast, Dyisha and ... [..] read more
"Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind" by Yuval Noah HarariIf you're looking for book recommendations in the productivity and professional development genre, Patton offers a weekly summary of some of the essential and emerging titles from the PMA Library. "Sapiens" is a personal recommendation as well as one of many suggested reads provided by Michael Marsicano, the guest of episode #32 of The Path Podcast. Yuval Noah Harari's popular nonfiction book, Sapiens, offers ... [..] read more
The New Development Professionals program, one of two signature programs produced by the Institute for Philanthropic Leadership, continued its fall season with an outstanding line-up of nonprofit experts. Amy Tribble spoke on her experience in building relationships and a culture of philanthropy at the the Council for Children's Rights, followed by Joanne Beam with information on
While National Philanthropy day provides a wonderful opportunity to celebrate charitable giving, volunteer engagement and community spirit, it also offers an opportunity for nonprofit leaders to strategically evaluate what each category means and how they might implement it within their organization. That's exactly what my colleague Penny Hawkins and I discussed during Episode #69 of the Path Podcast. She lifts up ideas that can help you diversify your donor base, find new ways to ... [..] read more
"The Black Swan" by Nassim TalebIf you're looking for book recommendations in the productivity and professional development genre, Patton offers a weekly summary of some of the essential and emerging titles from the PMA Library.Nassim Nicholas Taleb explains a vision of history in which "black swan" events (unforeseeable, world-altering happenings) have always been at the root of the world's major changes. He also explains why we are so bad at predicting ... [..] read more
Nonprofit organizations add value to communities around the world, and Mike Smith has had the opportunity to see outstanding leadership in the charitable sector in dozens of countries as well as across the United States. His insight into the key attributes of successful nonprofit leaders led to a fascinating conversation on Episode #68 of the Path Podcast. From his vantage point as the Managing Director of Special Olympics International in Europe and Eurasia, Mike saw ... [..] read more
PMA is proud to sponsor AFP Charlotte's annual recognition of nine award winners during its annual National Philanthropy Day celebration on November 12th, 2020. After all of the challenges this year has brought us, it's nice to see wonderful examples of generosity and community spirit illustrated at this event. Your Path to Nonprofit Leadership will release a special podcast episode featuring AFP Charlotte President Penny Hawkins on November 12th as well.
National Philanthropy ... [..] read more
While technology may or may not be your area of expertise as a nonprofit leader, current conditions certainly force you to be more proficient. Whether you're navigating virtual board and staff meetings, trying to deliver your programs in a socially-distant manner, or contemplating your biggest fundraising event now being virtual, you're having to maximize the technologies available to you. Someone who really understands the challenges and opportunities inherent in your nonprofit's ... [..] read more
How can you create lasting partnerships that not only establish your nonprofit but help it accelerate its growth? That's exactly what Sabrina Dawson and I discussed in episode #66 of the Path Podcast. An educator throughout her professional career, Sabrina is the Co-Founder and Vice President of Programs for The Collective, a Memphis-based organization working with schools, employers and community stakeholders to establish career pathways and ensure equitable access to support, resources... [..] read more
As a cancer survivor and marketing expert, Matthew Zachary approaches most things in life with a very different perspective, including nonprofit leadership. This approach is provocative and thought-provoking, and is sure to make you think differently about many of the "standards" of nonprofit leadership. On episode #65 of the Path Podcast, Matthew shares his rationale for NOT starting a nonprofit, why charitable organizations often get the short end of the stick in corporate partnerships... [..] read more
"Leadership and the One Minute Manager: Increasing Effectiveness Through Situational Leadership" by Ken BlanchardIf you're looking for book recommendations in the productivity and professional development genre, Patton offers a weekly summary of some of the essential and emerging titles from the PMA Library.Ken Blanchard's classic title on leadership is a great guide to maximizing your leadership skills by tailoring your relationship to each of your employees. This is a business "fable" ... [..] read more
It's cliché to say no one gets into nonprofit work to get rich. However, if leaders in our sector do not take steps to address the compensation gaps that exist, all of the important work being done will be further diminished by turnover and burnout. In episode #64 of the Path Podcast, Sally Loftis brings a researcher's eye and HR expertise to this strategic challenge for nonprofit leaders, and provides a wealth of ... [..] read more
"Leading Without Authority" by Keith FerrazziIf you're looking for book recommendations in the productivity and professional development genre, Patton offers a weekly summary of some of the essential and emerging titles from the PMA Library. Ferrazzi's newest title, Leading Without Authority, is a guide to developing collaborative strategies to help you succeed. Like his genre-defining classic, Never Eat Alone, a title which elevates the importance of maintaining relationships with others and ... [..] read more
As a nonprofit leader, you are likely trying to address "Wicked Problems" every day, social challenges that are systemic in nature and incredibly complex. To help us better address these types of problems, Lynn Fick-Cooper offers a fantastic analysis of these issues, and provides five crucial strategies to address them in episode #63 of the Path Podcast. How do we move beyond the heroic model of leadership? How do we leverage our collaborative networks... [..] read more
You've likely seen the numbers each year that represent philanthropic support in the United States through the Giving USA report. The question is, do you really understand what the numbers mean, and how they apply to you and your nonprofit? There is no one better suited to help us understand those questions than Melissa Brown, who has spent some of her stellar 30-year career actually editing the Giving USA report. In this bonus ... [..] read more
Lea Williams and Charmain Lewis, both of Charlotte, have joined PMA Consulting, adding great skill and experience to the team. "I could not be happier about the immediate support Lea and Charmain are offering dozens of nonprofit leaders we are working with right now," said PMA President Patton McDowell. "They each have unique insight into what can best help a nonprofit leader with their strategic planning, fundraising, communications or personal development." Eleanor "Lea" Williams is ... [..] read more
If you're looking for book recommendations in the productivity and professional development genre, Patton offers a weekly summary of some of the essential and emerging titles from the PMA Library. Looking for a way to convince yourself that talent isn't innate? That talent is something you can forge for yourself, that it's someting you could start picking up right now? Maybe you've tried Mindset, Deep Work , and Outliers but but still ... [..] read more
What are some practical ways you can advance your nonprofit leadership career? In episode #61 of the Path, South Carolina native Dr. Jay Dowd brings experience from leading four different university fundraising teams to answer that question. He shares the critical advice he learned early in his career from mentors and donors themselves, as well as the value of his network and his involvement in professional associations that continue to help him to this day. ... [..] read more
The New Development Professionals program, one of the two signature programs produced by the Institute for Philanthropic Leadership, kicked off its fall 2020 season with an outstanding line-up of nonprofit experts. Catherine Warfield, CFP, the Senior Vice President of Philanthropic Advancement and Deviré Robinson, J.D. the Vice President of the Centers for Giving, both from The Foundation for The Carolinas, gave great presentations on donor advised funds and the history and legacy of ... [..] read more
"Meditations" by Marcus Aurelius (Greg Hays Translation)If you're looking for book recommendations in the productivity and professional development genre, Patton offers a weekly summary of some of the essential and emerging titles from the PMA Library. Having seen this book on many lists of recommendations, and certainly highlighted by Ryan Holiday as the primary Stoic journal, I was impressed with the accessibility of the writings (which were not intended for public review!). Despite ... [..] read more
Theresa Lee has enjoyed an exceptional fundraising career, doing some of her best work in the greater Boston area for institutions like MIT, Boston College and Holy Cross. Her advice on the critical "leadership trio" (the CEO/Executive Director, the Chief Development Officer and the Board Chair) is not only applicable to large institutions, but very relevant to any sized organization trying to maximize its senior staff and board leaders as fundraisers. In episode #60 ... [..] read more
"The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win your Inner Creative Battles" by Steven PressfieldIf you're looking for book recommendations in the productivity and professional development genre, Patton offers a weekly summary of some of the essential and emerging titles from the PMA Library. Have any hobbies that you want to elevate into committed pursuits? Need permission to take your passions seriously? Pressfield's inspiring and motivating guide to creativity, War ... [..] read more
Even before the pandemic, the lack of effective meetings was one of the biggest productivity challenges for many nonprofit organizations. As a leader, you cannot afford to waste the collective time and talent of your staff, board and key volunteers. To offer practical advice for better meetings - especially in a virtual setting - Dr. Lea Williams shares her five keys for creating a more dynamic and productive culture when you bring your team together in episode ... [..] read more
Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne LamottIf you're looking for book recommendations in the productivity and professional development genre, Patton offers a weekly summary of some of the essential and emerging titles from the PMA Library. Anne Lamott's "Bird by Bird" explores the mechanics of writing but also the emotions and vulnerability the process requires, even from the most seasoned writers. She makes it quite clear that ... [..] read more
Given the uncertainty we all face right now, it is reassuring to speak with someone like Carson Tate who understands the challenges of maintaining personal and professional balance, as well as the nuances of productivity. Carson offers great advice and resources for nonprofit leaders in Episode #58 of the Path, staring with an understanding of your personal productivity style, and how to adapt if your style does not match those you work with! We also ... [..] read more
The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do In Life and Business by Charles Duhigg
If you're looking for book recommendations in the productivity and professional development genre, Patton offers a weekly summary of some of the essential and emerging titles from the PMA Library.
Charles Duhigg's The Power of Habit gives readers instructions for conducting an introspective analysis to determine how and why you repeat certain behaviors, and learn how to ... [..] read more
Like many in the nonprofit sector, Lisa Baxter did not seek a role in philanthropy; the sector quite literally sought her out. And while the path to nonprofit leadership has not always been accommodating, the lessons learned and wisdom gained has helped Lisa not only succeed but also provide valuable advice for others on a similar career track. In episode #57 of the Path podcast, Lisa discusses the systems she has in place to remain ... [..] read more
This episode of the Path Podcast, #56, includes a top-10 list of the most important skills and experiences necessary for successful nonprofit leadership:
Lifelong Learning Plan
Patton has spent his entire 30-year career helping talented individuals raise more funds and effectively lead their nonprofit organizations. After starting his consulting practice in 2009, he and his colleagues have worked with the leaders of more ... [..] read more
The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the age of Information Overload by Daniel LevitinNeuroscientist and author Daniel Levitin details many of the functional nuances of the brain, ranging from explanations of how humans process and remember massive amounts of stimuli each and every day. Levitin goes on to explain how you can improve your cognitive abilities as well as avoid some of the "traps" and inherent weaknesses inherent in brain function.
Three takeaways:... [..] read more
Like most nonprofit leaders, you are likely driven by the passion for a cause that is meaningful to you. Alison Singer is certainly a great example of that drive, but she has also taken her lifelong commitment to serving individuals and families with Autism and turned it into a national nonprofit called the Autism Science Foundation. Her story is a fascinating one, and her podcast episode, #55 on the Path, also serves as a master ... [..] read more
The One Thing: The surprisingly simple truth behind extraordinary results (Gary Keller)
Despite pressures to master all possible skills, author Gary Keller emphasizes the need to identify and pursue one vitally important part of one's life in The One Thing. By focusing on specific goals, one can gain longitudinal growth in specific subject areas which delivers real results, whereas spreading one's energy often results in unmet goals and only modest improvement.
"What is ... [..] read more
How do you assure your nonprofit is in a position to receive Leadership Gifts? Many nonprofit organizations dream of that type transformational donor investment, but fail to put themselves in a good position to receive one. Chris McLeod knows all about that challenge, and helped co-found the Institute for Philanthropic Leadership - and its signature program called Leadership Gift School to help organizations better articulate their case for leadership giving. Chris and I had a ... [..] read more
The New Development Professionals program prepares aspiring nonprofit leaders to excel in the fundraising, management and organizational planning skills required in the philathropic sector. To date, 93 professionals from 58 organizations have attended this program. Click here to see our graduate list.
The target audience for this program is new or aspiring professionals to the nonprofit sector whose responsibility features fundraising. The program consists of four monthly (3-hour) sessions from September - December each fall... [..] read more
Outer Order, Inner Calm: Declutter and Organize to Make More Room for Happiness by Gretchen RubinRubin makes the case for organizing your spare time to improve productivity, but also your state of mind and her signature happiness mindset in Outer Order Inner Calm. She explores the psychology that is often the culprit as to why we hold onto things and have a hard time letting things go and cleaning up our messes.
THREE TAKEAWAYS: ... [..] read more
Every nonprofit organization has an upcoming anniversary, whether it's their first or their 150th or somewhere in between. While simply celebrating an anniversary may not help your organization achieve strategic success, it may well provide a unique opportunity to raise awareness of what your organization has accomplished throughout its history, as well as elevate your mission and vision going forward. That's exactly what Jeff Michael and I discussed during episode #53 of the ... [..] read more
What can your nonprofit do to better engage Black philanthropists? There is no one better suited to answer that question than Valaida Fullwood, who brings her pioneering experience through Charlotte's New Generation of African American Philanthropists (NGAAP) and its Bold Project, as well as her experience as a champion for Black Philanthropy Month and the #BPM2020CLT initiative. She also brings to life more than 200 examples of Black philanthropy through her award-winning book ... [..] read more
Principles: Life & Work by Ray DalioIf you're looking for book recommendations in the productivity and professional development genre, Patton offers a weekly summary of some of the essential and emerging titles from the PMA Library. In Principles, billionaire investor Ray Dalio reflects on 40 years in finance and his career as the successful founder and CEO of Bridewater Associates. Using anecdotes and experiences from his life and success as an investor, Dalio ... [..] read more
As uncertain conditions continue to challenge nonprofit leaders and their ability to plan strategically, the need for effective collaboration is greater than ever. While effective partnerships and collaborative opportunities exist without an actual merger having to take place, many nonprofit leaders are contemplating what an actual merger might do for their organization. In episode #51 of the Path Podcast, Laura Belcher, the President & CEO of Habitat for Humanity of the Charlotte Region, and I ... [..] read more
"Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World" by Cal Newport
If you're looking for book recommendations in the productivity and professional development genre, Patton offers a weekly summary of some of the essential and emerging titles from the PMA Library. Rather than dismissing technology entirely, Newport insists that you should feel in control of your technology use, rather than the other way around. Digital Minimalism is true to its title: conveying ... [..] read more
Not many nonprofit leaders have actually experienced the personal and professional challenges facing the individuals their organization serves. After two Army tours in the Middle East left him injured, Curtis Drafton then had to overcome the tragic loss of his fiancé to cancer. In his words, he was "mentally broken and confused," but also realized he was not alone in his struggle. Few would have blamed him for taking years to get his life and ... [..] read more
Patton had an opportunity to be a guest on Dolph Goldenburg's great podcast and discuss four key tips he's found to help nonprofit organizations organize their fundraising efforts. This was also our first opportunity to participate in a "reverse podcast," as this episode first appeared on Dolph's feed on July 16, 2020, and now is included on our feed as well. Summary from The Successful Nonprofits Podcast:Small and medium-sized nonprofits ... [..] read more
"The 5 AM Miracle: Dominate Your Day Before Breakfast" by Jeff Sanders
If you're looking for book recommendations in the productivity and professional development genre, Patton offers a weekly summary of some of the essential and emerging titles from the PMA Library. This is a recommendatioon made by podcast guest and PMA team member Penny Hawkins.In The 5 AM Miracle, author Jeff Sanders explains how and why his dramatic wake up time is ... [..] read more
How do you manage an Arts organization when every aspect of your program is disrupted? Perhaps no nonprofit sector has more challenges right now than Arts & Culture organizations, given the limitations to programming, performances and gatherings. And with the philanthropic community understandably focused on health and human services, the Arts sector faces even greater needs for agile leadership. Fortunately, Devlin McNeil, the President & Executive Director of Arts+, provides great insight as to how ... [..] read more
The Institute for Philanthropic Leadership is pleased to announce registration is now open for its two signature programs in 2020-21. The New Development Professionals (NDP) program will be offered virtually in the Fall of 2020, and Leadership Gift School (LGS) will take place in the Spring of 2021 in a live/virtual/hybrid manner as circumstances allow. For more information and to register CLICK HERE! IPL is offering the 2019 rate of $350 as ... [..] read more
PMA Managing Director Mike Blackwelder will join Smart Start of Mecklenburg County in a newly created Chief Administrative Officer role, beginning full-time on August 3rd, 2020.
"It's hard to summarize the fantastic work Mike has done to elevate our firm over the last three years, as well as all he's done to support the work of many nonprofit organizations across North Carolina," noted PMA President Patton McDowell. "He will be a great ... [..] read more
"The First 90 Days: Proven Strategies for Getting Up to Speed Faster and Smarter" by Michael Watkins
If you're looking for book recommendations in the productivity and professional development genre, Patton offers a weekly summary of some of the essential and emerging titles from the PMA Library.Possibly our most reccommended title to date by guests of the Path Podcast, The First 90 Days is a classic, essential read for readers interested in maximizing ... [..] read more
How do you get the millennial generation to engage in your nonprofit's cause? That's just the first question Derrick Feldmann and I explored during our conversation on episode #47 of the Path Podcast. Perhaps there is no one more qualified to answer that question, given his research has focused on the millennial generation for over a decade. While Derrick provided a fascinating look at that demographic, we were also able to follow his ... [..] read more
As a nonprofit leader, how do you know when it's the right time to make a change? That's exactly where Dr. Cheryl Richards and I started our conversation in Episode #46 of the Path, as she was only two weeks into her new role as the first female President of Johnson & Wales University's Charlotte Campus. After great success in her previous leadership role as the CEO & Founding Regional Dean at ... [..] read more
"White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism" by Robin DiAngelo
If you're looking for book recommendations in the productivity and professional development genre, Patton offers a weekly summary of some of the essential and emerging titles from the PMA Library.White Fragility is a fascinating, instructive, and sometimes unsettling explanation as to why we white people are so easily angered and confused while talking about racism. After ... [..] read more
Can we rely on the good news from the latest Giving USA 2020 Annual Report ? It was just released in June, and the data shows several positive trends in the fundraising world, albeit pre-COVID. This report, released annually by The Giving Institute, analyzes national-level giving data and provides econometric-based estimates from leading industry experts. Keep reading to learn about the biggest news from this year's findings and learn unique insights into ... [..] read more
Making a job transition is challenging enough under any circumstance, but how about adding a pandemic, cross-country logistics, and a new baby to the family?!?!?! That's exactly what David Malloy had to maneuver as he assumed his new role as Executive Director of the California-Nevada United Methodist Foundation. David and I had great discussion in episode #45 of the Path podcast in which he shares many lessons learned from his national search ... [..] read more
Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High
By Al Switzler, Joseph Grenny, and Ron McMillan
How do you best engage your board members as a nonprofit leader, especially given the challenges the sector is facing right now? This episode of the Path poses that question to someone who literally wrote a book about the topic, called Successful Nonprofits Build Supercharged Boards. Dolph Goldenburg and I certainly discuss board development in episode #44 of the podcast, but also talk about specific fundraising tactics you can incorporate into your development plan, as ... [..] read more
PMA is excited to welcome Jake House as the new CEO of Smart Start of Mecklenburg County. Jake has been in Charlotte since 2013 and developed a passion for education - and inequity in education - early in his career through his experience with the Harlem Children's Zone. Jake holds an undergraduate degree in marketing, an MBA from the University of Michigan, and completed a prestigious 2-yr Broad Fellowship in Educational Leadership which takes outstanding ... [..] read more
These are challenging times for all kinds of reasons, given the isolation of the pandemic, the obvious disparities of race and privilege we're seeing up close, and the economic uncertainties that affect our personal and professional livelihoods. These existential questions don't have easy answers, but nonprofit leaders are looking for guidance as they get their heads around them and evaluate what it means for their career journey. This Bonus Episode of the Path ... [..] read more
What should you put in place at your nonprofit organization before you encounter challenges like those we're facing right now? That's one of the many topics Tina Postel and I discuss in episode #42 of the Path podcast, and fortunately you're not too late to implement many of her great ideas. Families struggling with food insecurities have enough barriers to overcome, and she knew her organization, Loaves & Fishes, had to be ... [..] read more
"How to be an Antiracist" by Ibram X. Kendi
It's easy to celebrate successes when things are going well for you as a nonprofit leader, but what about when things don't go so well? Michael Ward has had some fantastic successes as a fundraiser and nonprofit leader, but what made our conversation so powerful was his willingness to share some of the adversity he's faced. His thoughtful and proactive approach to dealing with personal and professional challenges offers great insight for ... [..] read more
"Good To Great and the Social Sectors" by Jim Collins
This title is a personal recommendation, but also a favorite of Podcast Guests Tiffany Capers (#19) and Hal Lewis (#26).Last week we recommended Jim Collins' business classic Good to Great which illustrated how ... [..] read more
Given the great uncertainty nonprofit leaders are facing right now, it's no wonder many are dismissing their long-range strategic plans as practically useless. However, Andrew Hollo brings a much needed and fresh perspective to this strategic planning dilemma and demonstrates the work he has done across Australia is very much applicable to nonprofit leaders anywhere in the world. He not only describes three planning phases on which you should be focusing going forward... [..] read more
"Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap.. and Others Don't" by Jim Collins
This title is a personal recommendation, but also a favorite of Podcast Guests Carrie Bhada (#33) and Brian Maness (#37).Jim Collins' Good to Great is the result ... [..] read more
What's it like to lead a healthcare foundation in the midst of a pandemic? How do you stay organized when all of your events are pushed off the calendar and everyone you speak with has a new idea? Adam Cook has great insight and perspective on these questions and many more in episode #39 of the Path. He has served multiple health care foundations over the course of his nonprofit career, and we talk ... [..] read more
We are heartbroken by the recent events that show ongoing, systematic mistreatment of our black community in this country. We recognize that words are not enough - we must hold ourselves and our systems accountable by actively listening, learning, and speaking out against racism of all kinds. We can and must do better.
At PMA Consulting, we echo our friends at Safe Alliance, and stand in solidarity with everyone working to address racism and intersecting oppressions. ... [..] read more
"Atomic Habits: Tiny Changes, Remarkable Results" by James ClearIf you're looking for book recommendations in the productivity and professional development genre, Patton offers a weekly summary of some of the essential and emerging titles from the PMA Library. "Many people think that they lack motivation, but what they really lack is clarity."
James Clear's Atomic Habits is a guide to eliminating bad habits and effectively replacing them with good ones. In an ... [..] read more
Thinking about leaving your corporate career and taking a job at a nonprofit? While working in the nonprofit sector is immensely rewarding, it comes with a unique set of challenges. Recent interviews on the Your Path to Nonprofit Leadership podcast have allowed us to learn about three nonprofit leaders who have successfully made the leap between these sectors and benefit from their experiences and insights. We interviewed Kristin Beck, Executive Director of Social Venture Partners ... [..] read more
A mastery of fundraising demands much more than the ability to ask for money. Use the five steps of the Funding Cycle below to map out your fundraising strategy, help your organization define the tasks and actions needed to build your donor base, and strengthen relationships to effectively increase your fundraising capacity.
The first step of the funding cycle is identifying potential donors and prospects.Start by analyzing your existing relationships and building up ... [..] read more
Kishshana Palmer is not afraid to tell us what we need to hear, even if we're not sure we're ready for it! She's the kind of truth-teller our sector needs, and our conversation on the Path provided all kinds of valuable insight for nonprofit leaders and fundraisers that can be put into practice right now. Kishshana shared a candid view of her journey into nonprofit leadership, and the challenges she's ... [..] read more
"The Obstacle is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph" by Ryan HolidayIf you're looking for book recommendations in the productivity and professional development genre, Patton offers a weekly summary of some of the essential and emerging titles from the PMA Library.
Holiday brings to life the wisdom of the Stoics in his book "The Obstacle is the Way," championing the practical value of their advice. The key to upholding ... [..] read more
What do you do to stay organized in an ever-changing environment with children and families from across the state depending on you? Like many nonprofit CEO's right now, Brian Maness has had to navigate both the personal and professional demands of nonprofit leadership despite an uncertain landscape around him. Brian is the President & CEO of Children's Home Society of North Carolina, providing services ranging from adoption and foster care to parent ... [..] read more
"Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World" by Cal NewportIf you're looking for book recommendations in the productivity and professional development genre, Patton offers a weekly summary of some of the essential and emerging titles from the PMA Library.
Inspired by Carl Jung's isolated and incredibly productive Swiss retreats, Cal Newport's "Deep Work" emphasizes the importance of performing focused and effortful tasks for extended periods of time, all ... [..] read more
The COVID-19 pandemic has created an unprecedented challenge for nonprofits. Demands are high, resources are low, and everything feels uncertain. Your organization can still survive--and even thrive--when we don't know exactly what the future has in store by adapting the right strategy and actions. We sat down with Dr. Michael Marsicano, President & CEO of the Foundation For The Carolinas , to discuss how nonprofits can adapt to the changing and unusual ... [..] read more
How can a nonprofit leader take advantage of the resources BoardSource has to offer, especially in a time of uncertainty and strategic challenge? The answers come from Jim Taylor, who not only highlights the tools available from BoardSource for nonprofit leaders everywhere, but also leans on his personal and professional experience to add even greater value for listeners of this episode of the Path. A pandemic certainly highlights vulnerabilities within the nonprofit sector, and Jim ... [..] read more
It's quite possible that you (or someone you know) have contemplated leaving the for-profit world to pursue an opportunity in the nonprofit sector. That's exactly what Tina Admans did after moving to Los Angeles over a decade ago. She could very well have stayed on a successful corporate track that included senior positions at Panavision, GE and NBC Universal, but she knew something was missing and nonprofit leadership was calling her. In ... [..] read more
"The Five Dysfunctions of a Team" by Patrick LencioniIf you're looking for book recommendations in the productivity and professional development genre, Patton offers a weekly summary of some of the essential and emerging titles from the PMA Library. Lencioni's engaging book walks readers through five interconnected characteristics present in dysfunctional teams, and explains actionable techniques to dismantle them. Written as an engaging fictitious story of the executive board of a struggling tech ... [..] read more
Fundraising is on every nonprofit leader's mind right now, and perhaps there is no one better to talk about that topic than Jason Lewis, who literally wrote a book about the topic, The War for Fundraising Talent. As Jason and I discuss, many of the topics he raised in the book are even more relevant right now. Why do so many organizations rely on "arms-length" fundraising tactics, and what can they do about ... [..] read more
It can be challenging to stay happy and focused while we all adjust to the uncertainty of our "new normal ." An optimistic mindset, however, is a powerful tool in times of adversity. Using the extra time on your hands to read a book from the PMA library is a great way to get inspired to refocus and keep working towards your personal and professional goals.
Each week. Patton provides a weekly summary of the most ... [..] read more
"The Power of Full Engagement: Managing Energy, Not Time, Is the Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal" By Jim Loehr and Tony SchwartzIf you're looking for book recommendations in the productivity and professional development genre, Patton offers a weekly summary of some of the essential and emerging titles from the PMA Library. Based on an athletic training concept, "The Power of Full Engagement" explains that only by taking breaks of equal and ... [..] read more
Carrie Bhada's journey in nonprofit leadership has led her to outstanding higher education and healthcare institutions, but it has also given her the experience of dealing with internal and external challenges. While nothing compares to the unique complexities of the COVID-19 situation, she has utilized previous experiences to adapt and lead her team at North Carolina State University as they navigate this uncharted territory. Carrie provided great insight into change management strategies all ... [..] read more
Michael Marsicano leads one of the largest community foundations in the United States. He is passionate about bringing communities together to maximize philanthropy and improve all aspects of society. Like nonprofit leaders around the world, he was faced with an unprecedented challenge and opportunity with the arrival of COVID-19. What did he do? In partnership with the United Way of Central Carolinas, he mobilized his team and other collaborative partners throughout the region to ... [..] read more
"Eat That Frog: 21 Ways To Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time" by Brian TracyIf you're looking for book recommendations in the productivity and professional development genre, Patton offers a weekly summary of some of the essential and emerging titles from the PMA Library. Eat That Frog boils down to one significant lifestyle change: doing your hardest, most important task FIRST, even if that task happens to be "eating a ... [..] read more
After twenty years of success in the for-profit arena, Kristin Beck could have easily continued on her upward trajectory. But her inner voice confirmed something was missing and she knew a change might be warranted. She then began a thoughtful process to evaluate her options and make sure she was prepared for the eventual nonprofit leadership opportunity that could take advantage of the skills and experiences she brought from the corporate world. What emerged ... [..] read more
Developing, defining, and promoting your personal brand is important for any career, but is especially crucial for nonprofit professionals. Although it may feel a little uncomfortable or too self serving for some of us to think of "branding" ourselves, managing your personal brand will allow you to make a strong positive impact in your career and community.
"Personal brand is a person's perception of another person, primarily in a business context," says Yvonne Levine... [..] read more
"Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less" by Greg McKeownIf you're looking for book recommendations in the productivity and professional development genre, Patton offers a weekly summary of some of the essential and emerging titles from the PMA Library. This is also a recommendation of Angela Woods, the guest on Episode 30 of The Path Podcast. An exercise in prioritization, Greg McKeown's "Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less" provides readers with a great ... [..] read more
As the COVID-19 situation descended on her organization with stunning speed, Angela Woods, JD MBA knew she would have to make critical strategic decisions without the luxury of time to thoroughly evaluate options or wait for additional data. Like so many nonprofit leaders right now, she had to rely on her instincts and experience to best "triage" an evolving situation. How she's managed these circumstances so far is a great study in leadership ... [..] read more
Uncertainty abounds in the charitable sector, but leadership is needed now more than ever. My former colleague Mike Blackwelder and I tackle five critical areas of leadership, and lift up examples, suggestions and resources to better address each of them in episode 29 of The Path Podcast. Whether you're a current nonprofit leader or aspire to be one, these are the types of circumstances you must be ready to manage. How do you work ... [..] read more
"Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance" by Angela DuckworthIf you're looking for book recommendations in the productivity and professional development genre, Patton offers a weekly summary of some of the essential and emerging titles from the PMA Library. Angela Duckworth's "Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance" calls out the biased celebration of "talent," and makes a compelling case for the superior effectiveness of passion and continued efforts.
Talent x ... [..] read more
As you move into senior leadership in the nonprofit sector, the opportunity to explore external contractors and consultants will likely present itself. How do you evaluate such an option? What are the factors you should consider before engaging such a resource? These are exactly the questions Heather Yandow and I explore in episode #28 of the Path. Through her experience founding Nonprofit.ist, she is the perfect person to help you evaluate any type of ... [..] read more
"10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works--A True Story" By Dan HarrisI f you're looking for book recommendations in the productivity and professional development genre, Patton offers a weekly summary of some of the essential and emerging titles from the PMA Library. In his journey of demystifying meditation and discovering how to put it to use... [..] read more
Despite her successful fundraising experience, Stamie Despo knew as a new Executive Director she would need the entire organization to embrace philanthropy for it to achieve the kind of mission success she knew was possible. That's exactly what Stamie and I discussed during episode 27 of The Path Podcast. What exactly is a culture of philanthropy? What did she find when she began her role as Executive Director at the Susan G. Komen affiliate ... [..] read more
Dr. Hal Lewis was the perfect person to illustrate three critical skills nonprofit leaders must develop. As a nonprofit executive himself, a scholar published on a variety of leadership topics, and a consultant working with leaders across the country, he was well-positioned to provide the practical advice and resources you need on your nonprofit path. In episode #26 of The Path Podcast, Hal and I discussed the ability to attract and retain top-notch ... [..] read more
"I don't know where to start," confided a nonprofit Executive Director I was speaking with last week. Like so many of our colleagues in the charitable sector, she was trying to triage the nearly overwhelming number of issues in front of her, facing more questions than answers. We worked through her situation, and came up with a plan that has been reinforced by conversations we're having with each of our nonprofit partners. As ... [..] read more
Sharpen your communication skills, monitor your productivity and meet your professional development goals in minutes a day with these three simple writing exercises.
No matter where you are in your nonprofit career, being able to communicate effectively is critical to your success. Honing your communications skills will help you build relationships, broaden your network, collaborate effectively with colleagues and coworkers, and improve your fundraising results. Effective written communication skills are especially critical in today's ... [..] read more
Nancy Beard offers great perspectives on the value of finding good mentors as well as the potential a coach can have on your personal and professional journey on Episode #25 of The Path Podcast. Her path to nonprofit leadership was shaped by early volunteer roles, both as a board member and a volunteer, and she continued to hear a calling for social justice causes that began during her childhood. We had a great conversation about ... [..] read more
A career in the nonprofit sector can be highly rewarding for motivated and mission-driven individuals, but that doesn't mean it's easy. It can get pretty overwhelming trying to manage different types of advice and information, understand all of the varied roles around you, and learn new skills, especially without much support from your organization. For someone adjusting to a career change or recently entering the nonprofit sector, it can feel next to ... [..] read more
"Mindset: The New Psychology of Success" by Carol S. Dweck
If you're looking for book recommendations in the productivity and professional development genre, Patton offers a weekly summary of some of the essential and emerging titles from the PMA Library.
In her great book Mindset, Stanford psychologist Carol S. Dweck explains the differences between fixed and growth mindsets, and the implication of both on personal development, teaching, and parenting.
The two mindsets outlined by ... [..] read more
"Never Eat Alone: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship At A Time" by Keith Ferrazzi
If you're looking for book recommendations in the productivity and professional development genre, Patton offers a weekly summary of some of the essential and emerging titles from the PMA Library.
Keith Ferrazzi's "Never Eat Alone" offers practical tips on professional success through effective networking. For some, the term "networking" conjures dreaded images of awkward small talk and ... [..] read more
Chris Delisio's career in higher education has led him to a leadership role in one of the largest comprehensive campaigns in the country, as the Time and Change Campaign at Ohio State targets one million donors and a fundraising goal of $4.5 billion. While justifiably proud of his current leadership position, Chris is quick to point to the resources and advice that helped him move along the path to nonprofit success. In Episode ... [..] read more
"Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking" by Susan CainWhile your travel and activities are likely curtailed in this coronavirus environment, take advantage of the opportunity to catch up on your reading! If you're looking for recommendations in the professional development genre, Patton will offer a weekly summary of some of the essential and emerging titles in the professional development and leadership space from the PMA Library. ... [..] read more
The title of Ronnie Bryant's nonprofit leadership book says it all: Driving from the Backseat. It's a wonderful illustration of the skill and finesse required by nonprofit Executive Directors as they steer their organization along but allow a whole group of board members to sit in the front seat and "drive." In Episode 23 of The Path Podcast, my conversation with Ronnie was just as enjoyable as reading his book, full of insight... [..] read more
Like many of us, Joanne O'Brien Beam did not aspire to nonprofit leadership following her undergraduate days, but the lure of her alma mater and the skills she developed in the for-profit sector combined to make her a very successful fundraiser and a highly sought-after consultant and coach. In Episode 22 of The Path, Joanne and I had a great conversation about the wonderfully practical advice she received during her journey along ... [..] read more
Justin Dionne knew he had a great opportunity on his hands when he arrived at the Cain Center for the Arts. As a relatively new executive director, he also knew he needed to maximize all of his productivity and professional development resources to get this new organization off the ground as well as navigate its very aspirational campaign of $25 million to build a new performing arts center. Justin and I had a great conversation ... [..] read more
Leighton Fogan has not only enjoyed a successful career in the nonprofit sector, but she's also a dedicated student of professional development resources! Her career path includes hands-on experience at several nonprofits, many successful consulting engagements, and coursework through Columbia University and Duke's Nonprofit Management program. Episode #20 of The Path features our conversation on three categories of career-enhancing resources, and is a gold mine for current and aspiring nonprofit leaders. ... [..] read more
Tiffany Capers did not plan to go into nonprofit leadership, and in fact, she thought her graduate degree would take her into a corporate environment. But after opportunities in government and in a community foundation, she found a calling that led to leadership in our sector. She now serves as the Executive Director of the CrossRoads Corporation, which creatively partners with the residents of the Grier Heights neighborhood in Charlotte and numerous other stakeholders to ... [..] read more
Like many in the nonprofit sector, Will Jones gained leadership experience from other arenas, including the social service and for-profit sectors. He now serves as the President and CEO of Thompson, a leading provider of clinical and prevention services for children and families across the Carolinas. In Episode 18 of The Path Podcast, Will and I dive into many topics related to the blend of best practices he's gained from his experience, and ... [..] read more
Katherine Lambert is passionate about professional development in the nonprofit sector and is a champion for internal candidates who can serve as senior leaders. Her advice provides great insight for other senior leaders who want to better develop their talent, but also provides many clues for those pursuing a new job in the charitable sector. On episode 17 of the Path Podcast, Katherine talks about how she allocates professional development funds in her organization, and ... [..] read more
Podcasts provide a great source of professional development content and are delivered in the perfect format to consume knowledge on the go. Curating effective podcast resources will help you on your path to nonprofit leadership, and quite possibly position you for your next nonprofit job!
While the rise of the podcast is a professional development opportunity for you, it's also a medium that your nonprofit will likely explore just as Don Jonas, the Executive ... [..] read more
The Institute of Philanthropic Leadership welcomed nine nonprofits to its 8th Cohort of Leadership Gift School beginning this Spring, hosted by the Foundation For The Carolinas. These outstanding organizations join 165 nonprofit leaders from 76 nonprofits that have graduated from this highly acclaimed program.
Anuvia. Valerie Kopetzky, CEO; Abigail Lord-Ramsey, Director of Fund Development
Arts & Science Council. Jeep Bryant, President & CEO; Robert Touchstone, Director of Development
Augustine Literacy Project. Alison Houser, Executive ... [..] read more
The concept of writing might not be an activity that brings back pleasant memories (late-night term papers anyone?), but as attorney Clay Hodges illustrates, it is a powerful tool to activate in your productivity toolbox. In episode 16 of the Path, Clay and I explore four different writing rituals and routines that can help you build skills for professional development and more effective communication. How can you utilize journaling to monitor personal and professional ... [..] read more
What is Personal Branding, and why is it important for you as a nonprofit professional? That's exactly what Yvonne Levine and I discussed in episode #15 of the Path. Yvonne's great coaching and consulting experience with different organizations - and their senior leaders - provides many useful take-aways for current and aspiring nonprofit leaders who want to engage in genuine activities to build their positive brand. Among other things, we talk about when to ... [..] read more
What is your leadership shadow, and why should you worry about it? That's exactly what Dr. Will Sparks and I discuss in episode #14 of the Path. He's spent 20 years researching the characteristics of great leaders, and also the "shadow" side of their leadership styles which often hold them back in ways they're not even aware. Will and I explore the practical aspects of his studies, and how nonprofit leaders can ... [..] read more