The Five Good Ideas podcast airs some of the best sessions of Maytree’s popular lunch-and-learn program.
For each session of Five Good Ideas, an expert from the non-profit or corporate sector shares five practical ideas on a key management issue facing non-profit organizations today.
You find sessions from the past season at https://maytree.com/five-good-ideas/.
Five Good Ideas on bringing your financial story to the board
If the well-being of a non-profit organization depends on its financial health, then the quality of the relationship between senior, or finance, staff and the board of directors is key.
In this session, recorded live on October 24, Michael Herrera, Chief Financial Officer at George Brown College, shares lessons from his wealth of experience as a staff member and a director.
These are his five good ideas on bringing your financial story to the board.
[3:12] 1. Set up your new board members for success
[4:52] 2. Write brief and useful meeting packets
[6:18] 3. Design a clear, concise, and purposeful meeting agenda
[9:13] 4. Present accessible, meaningful, and relevant financial information
[12:05] 5. Develop a strong relationship with your Treasurer and Board Chair
[17:01 ] Q & A
Download the session handout. Follow along with the transcript.
Michael’s recommended resources:
Six steps to being an awesome treasurer | CharityVillage
27 Tips for Improving Your Nonprofit Board’s Operations (bloomerang.co)
Presenting financials to boards | Airbase
Seven tips on how to present your finance case to the board | Acuity (acuitymag.com)
Onboarding New Nonprofit Board Members: 4 Key Steps to Ensure a Successful Transition (nonprofitready.org)
Presenter bio: Michael Herrera joined George Brown College in 2019 as Chief Financial Officer. In this role, he provides comprehensive financial leadership and technical expertise relating to the operations of the college. Michael has spent a career in service to the non-profit sector, having worked with social services, religious and arts organizations. Prior to joining George Brown College, he spent nearly a decade with United Way Greater Toronto. He also held similar leadership positions at the Anglican Church of Canada, YMCA of Greater Toronto and the National Ballet of Canada. Michael currently serves on the board of directors for Crow’s Theatre, Theatre Museum Canada, Toronto Arts Council, Toronto Arts Foundation, and Making The Shift – a Youth Homelessness Social Innovation Lab with a mandate to transforming how we respond to youth homelessness through research and knowledge mobilization.
Five Good Ideas for evolving your non-profit's impact in periods of transformation
The charitable sector has navigated many new challenges in the past few years. How do we now quantify our impact, respond to the future of work, and relate and respond to social movements?
In this Five Good Ideas session, recorded live on September 28, Sabreena Delhon, executive director of the Samara Centre for Democracy, discussed how to break out of default binary non-profit work processes to find exploratory, creative, and substantive approaches to making meaningful change.
[5:18] 1. Measure the obvious
[8:17] 2. Challenge the production formula “PDF, Tweet, repeat”
[13:17] 3. Maximize your resources through partnerships
[15:20] 4. Fill knowledge and lived-experience gaps
[18:06] 5. Make it easy to be your audience
[21:41] Q & A
Download the session handout.
Follow along with the transcript and check out Sabreena’s recommended resources.
Presenter bio: Sabreena Delhon is the Executive Director of the Samara Centre for Democracy, a non-partisan civil society organization that is committed to securing an accessible, responsive, and inclusive democratic culture in Canada.
Prior to joining Samara, Sabreena was the Principal of Signal Strategies and managed access to justice initiatives at the Law Society of Ontario. She has directed research studies that examine public perceptions of legal technology and the justice system; results have informed the work of Ontario’s Ministry of the Attorney General and can be found on law school syllabi.
She is a Fellow with Simon Fraser University’s Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue and Massey College.
Five Good ideas on creating a psychologically healthy and safe workplace
In this session, originally recorded on June 1, 2022, we asked Katharine Coons, National Senior Manager, Workplace Mental Health at Canadian Mental Health Association, to share her five good ideas on how create a psychologically healthy and safe workplace.
Read the full transcript. Download the session handout.
Five Good Ideas
Normalize the conversation
Use appropriate language
Hold space to check in
Involve your employees in decision-making
Remain agile and flexible
Get comfortable with the accommodation process
Lean on the National Standard for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace
Tools not rules
Explore how it can work for your organization
Bring in an expert
Review policies and procedures
Psychological health and safety policy
Share, update, and reshare
Provide training, programs, and benefits
Evaluate EAP programs and benefits
Consider additional programs (e.g., Not Myself Today)
Reducing stigma and building empathy
Flexibility and accommodation: Ontario Human Rights Commission policy and procedure
National Standard for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace
Example of a psychical and psychological health, safety, and wellness policy statement by the mental health commission of Canada
CMHA’s workplace mental health training and programs
About the presenter
Katharine Coons, M.Sc National Senior Manager, Workplace Mental Health at Canadian Mental Health Association
Katharine is the National Senior Manager, Workplace Mental Health at Canadian Mental Health Association. She has over ten years experience working in mental health and holds a M.Sc. in Occupational Psychology focusing her thesis on Workplace Well-being. She has worked in a variety of industries across Canada and the U.K. and brings a diverse understanding of employee and organizational needs. Katharine is an expert columnist at Benefits Canada, has written for The Toronto Star and has been interviewed by the CBC, CPA Canada and Retail Insider. Katharine was also an expert judge of the 2021 Workplace Benefits Awards. She currently serves as the in-house expert and trainer for Not Myself Today and the workplace mental health program at CMHA National.
Five Good ideas for building thriving partnerships within the charitable and non-profit sector
In this session, originally recorded on April 26, 2022, we asked Teresa Marques, president and CEO of the Rideau Hall Foundation, to share her five good ideas on how to navigate effective development within the non-profit and charitable sector.
Read the full transcript.
Download the session handout.
Five Good Ideas
Form should follow function. Figure out your internal and shared goals, the table stakes for each party, and your respective strengths and weaknesses, then design the partnership model that best suits your situation. Don’t make assumptions about your partner.
Be open to unconventional arrangements and “unusual bedfellow” partners. Seek out complementarity as opposed to similarity.
People matter. Yes, the partnership is between organizations, but people and relationships are the critical glue and enabler of success.
Details matter. Figure out the parameters for decision making, accountabilities, and timelines (including sunset) and write them all down. Plan for anticipated and unanticipated costs and think ahead about financial management.
Trust matters most. You will be able to move much more quickly, and go farther together, if there’s trust and open communication between partners. Invest early in a culture of trust.
(Book) Trust: Twenty Ways to Build a Better Country – by David Johnston (2018).
(Paper – Conference Board of Canada) “The Status of Collaboration and the Role of Innovation: Supporting Networks in Canadian Industry” – by Sorin Cohn and Bruce Good
(Book) Collaborating with the Enemy: How to Work with People You Don’t Agree with or Like or Trust – by Adam Kahane (2017).
(Online series – Stanford Social Innovation Review) “Advancing the Art of Collaboration.”
(Podcast – HBR IdeaCast) “The Subtle Art of Saying No.”
About the presenter
Teresa Marques, President and CEO, Rideau Hall Foundation
Teresa Marques is an established senior executive and educator in the non-profit sector. She leads the Rideau Hall Foundation (RHF), an independent national charity with a vision for a better Canada. The RHF works to address key challenges facing the country in the areas of learning equity, creating a culture of innovation, leadership development, and by strengthening Canada’s culture of giving and volunteerism. Teresa has significant experience in people and talent management, stakeholder engagement, major-gift fundraising, and financial stewardship. Prior to joining the RHF, she led development teams focused on healthcare and post-secondary education. Teresa is also an instructor and course developer at Ryerson University’s G. Raymond Chang School for Continuing Education and holds degrees in Canadian history from the University of Ottawa and York University. She is a graduate of the Institute of Corporate Directors (ICD) Director Education Program. Teresa is interested in how giving patterns and attitudes towards philanthropy in Canada are changing and is passionate about strengthening the non-
Five Good Ideas about using human-centred design for social change
In this session, originally recorded on March 29, 2022, we asked Nandita Bijur and Galen MacLusky to share the mindsets and principles that have helped their organization, Prosper Canada, introduce and integrate human-centred design into their projects.
Download the session handout at https://maytree.com/wp-content/uploads/5GI-Mar2022.pdf.
Five Good Ideas
More poetry, less long-division
Use design tools as a scaffold, not a checklist
Start and end with people’s experience
Focus on the “why’s” when creating together, not the “what’s”
Use boundaries and constraints as creative springboards
Creative Reaction Lab’s Equity-Centred Community Design (ECCD) approach – An excellent guide to doing values-based and equity-driven design work. This includes a field guide on how to centre equity in the design work you’re doing.
IDEO.org + Acumen’s free Introduction to Human Centred Design course – A free, online, seven-week course that takes you through the basic tools and approach behind Human-Centred Design. It’s a great way to build your toolkit and understanding of what this practice can offer you in your work, from two amazing organizations.
Service Design Tools – A curated selection of service design (a practice within Human-Centred Design) tools that you can use as a scaffold for your own explorations into research, idea-generation, prototyping, and implementation activities.
Mental Wellness at Work in Toronto’s Downtown East – A helpful case study by the Health Commons Solution Lab that gives insight to how to frame challenges and design an approach that meets the needs of participants.
Conceptual Blockbusting, by James L. Adams – Complete with activities and stories, this book can help you understand the psychological barriers to creativity and how you can ‘unblock’ them. A great resource for anyone who wants to support their own and others’ creative ideas.
About the presenters
Nandita Bijur Nandita (she/her) is a senior officer at Prosper Canada, working with municipal and community partners to integrate financial empowerment into existing services. As a service designer who has worked with frontline organizations and governments, she is most energized by learning how to make complex systems accessible and understandable.
Galen MacLusky Galen is responsible for managing Prosper Canada’s Technology-Enabled Financial Empowerment projects, including the Benefits wayfinder. Galen is passionate about working with community organizations to help build and scale new ideas that deepen their impact. The foundations of his work are approaches that help organizations engage with those who are impacted by their services and test new programs and services with minimal investment. He has ten years of experience as a service designer in the private, public, and non-profit sectors, as well as a Master’s Degree in Engineering, Design, and Innovation from Northwestern University.
Five Good Ideas to get your communications fundamentals in order
In this session, originally recorded on February 24, 2022, we asked Marlene Oliveira, a communications advisor and copywriter, to share her five good ideas on how to best get an organization’s communications fundamentals in order and how to plan to strengthen them.
In her presentation, Marlene discussed the importance of specific frameworks, tools, and tactics, including a non-profit’s strategic plan, brand, website, and storytelling.
Read the full transcript at https://maytree.com/five-good-ideas/five-good-ideas-to-get-your-communications-fundamentals-in-order/.
Five Good Ideas
1. Use the strategies and frameworks that you already have
2. Always come back to your audiences
3. Let branding be your guide
4. Give your website content the attention it deserves
5. Deliver your nonprofit’s narrative over time
How to create communications objectives from nonprofit strategic goals by Nathalie Noël on the Nonprofit MarCommunity blog
Big Duck podcast episode on audience personas: How can you use donor personas to guide your communications?
Is your brand healthy? Four steps to give it a check-up by Farah Trompeter on the Big Duck blog
Content updates or rethink your nonprofit’s website content approach? by Marlene Oliveira on the moflow blog
The Benefits of Building a Narrative Organization by Thaler Pekar on the Stanford Social Innovation Review
About Marlene Oliveira
Marlene Oliveira is a communications advisor and copywriter specializing in content strategy and copywriting for non-profit organizations. She has worked in the non-profit sector since 1999, including a two-year crash course in a grassroots role, and six years as the national communications manager at a large Canadian health charity. Since 2008, Marlene has been running her consultancy, moflow, through which she solves content challenges for a wide variety of non-profit organizations through.
Marlene’s approach is to tap into the knowledge, experience, and expertise her clients already possess, to help their communications “flow.”
Marlene on social media: