102 episodes

Hosted by Joan Garry, the “Dear Abby” of the nonprofit world, Nonprofits Are Messy is a discussion of the most pressing issues faced by nonprofit leadership. Joan and her guests tackle topics like the overhead myth, the best way to run special events, how to make a big fundraising ask, board-staff relations, and so much more. At times hilarious, uplifting, and frustrating, the stories told in this podcast should feel very familiar to anybody working in a nonprofit today.



Topics include fundraising, leadership development, building a great board, Executive Director / Board relations, communications and messaging, staff management, nonprofit career advice, crisis management, digital marketing, social media, and so much more.



Listen to real stories of nonprofit leaders like you and how they handled the mess. Because the truth is, nonprofits ARE messy. There’s not enough money, too many cooks, and an abundance of passion. Leading nonprofits isn’t easy. This podcast will help.

Nonprofits Are Messy: Lessons in Leadership | Fundraising | Board Development | Communications Joan Garry

    • Government

Hosted by Joan Garry, the “Dear Abby” of the nonprofit world, Nonprofits Are Messy is a discussion of the most pressing issues faced by nonprofit leadership. Joan and her guests tackle topics like the overhead myth, the best way to run special events, how to make a big fundraising ask, board-staff relations, and so much more. At times hilarious, uplifting, and frustrating, the stories told in this podcast should feel very familiar to anybody working in a nonprofit today.



Topics include fundraising, leadership development, building a great board, Executive Director / Board relations, communications and messaging, staff management, nonprofit career advice, crisis management, digital marketing, social media, and so much more.



Listen to real stories of nonprofit leaders like you and how they handled the mess. Because the truth is, nonprofits ARE messy. There’s not enough money, too many cooks, and an abundance of passion. Leading nonprofits isn’t easy. This podcast will help.

    Ep 100: The Professional Interim Executive Director (with Margo Amgott)

    Ep 100: The Professional Interim Executive Director (with Margo Amgott)

    When your Executive Director is actually the “Interim Executive Director,” it means something went wrong… right?



    What caused this dilemma and what are the consequences? A failed leadership search? Organizational vulnerability? A big fat red flag for potential donors?



    Not long ago I spoke with a board chair about lessons learned from a failed search. What my guest today calls “the accidental interim.” I asked him what the biggest lesson was. “Oh that’s easy,” he said.



    “I would have hired an interim CEO.”



    Really? Well I certainly have a few questions!



    This idea wasn’t a “thing” a while ago. But now we have professional interims. But doesn’t this bring up a whole bunch of issues? How do you establish credibility and trust with staff and board? Do you have any authority? Doesn’t it just prolong that “pause” or ‘wait and see’ button that donors hit during a transition?



    I figure if I had these questions, you would too.



    And so I went and found us an expert. A professional interim E.D.



    Today’s guest, Margo Amgott who provides transitional support and project management to mission-oriented non-profit organizations, joins us to answer some big questions about being a professional interim executive director.



    Listen for advice given to boards in transition who are trying to make a decision on whether or not an interim ED is the right choice for their organization.



    Learn what should be expected of an interim, how long should they be in place, and whether it’s a one size fits all approach.



    About Margo Amgott



    Margo Amgott provides transitional support and project management to mission-oriented non-profit organizations through her consulting company, Amgott Interim LLC. She has served in leadership roles in state and local government, higher education and leading nonprofits. Amgott holds a master’s degree from NYU’s Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, and a BA from Barnard College. She currently serves as interim executive director for Studio in a School, overseeing visual arts instruction by teaching artists to more than 30,000 students each year in publicly-funded schools in New York City. Previously, she served as Interim CEO at Hearing Health Foundation, the largest non-profit funder of hearing and balance research in the U.S. and a leader in driving new innovations and treatments for people with hearing loss. She served as interim executive director at Jewish Community Project Downtown, interim associate provost at Hunter College and executive director of the NYU Child Study Center. Earlier in her career, Ms. Amgott directed the City’s Early Intervention Program for children with developmental delays and disabilities at the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and spent more than 15 years at Columbia University overseeing programs providing student health and campus wellness.



    In this podcast

    - The difference between an acting ED and an Interim ED

    - Is the schedule and learning curve for an Interim ED the same as a regular ED?

    - Are interims fixers or assessors?

    - How long is it appropriate to be an interim?

    - How to market an interim to stakeholders. What works and what doesn’t?

    - Is this only an internal job or can it be external?

    - How to build trust with staff

    - What should the interim involvement be, if any, in the full time search?

    - Do interim EDs make asks? How is revenue impacted?

    • 46 min
    Ep 99: What Visionaries Do Best (with Paul Rice)

    Ep 99: What Visionaries Do Best (with Paul Rice)

    In 1990, Paul Rice, decided to save the world. For a year he worked in Nicaragua helping farmers build agricultural capacity. And he found something startling and profoundly upsetting.



    Millions of dollars of charitable contributions – well intended of course – were being squandered because the farmers were not developing their own capacity to solve their problems.



    So Paul did what visionaries do best. They connect dots. They get innovative.



    Paul heard about “fair traders” in London who would pay a lot more to farmers who organized and sold direct.



    The local guy would pay you 10 cents per pound for your coffee. So Paul organized 20 small farmers and shipped 2,000 pounds of coffee to fair traders who paid $1.20/pound.



    Instead of $200, the take was $2,400. Can you imagine? They’d never seen so much money. Life changing.



    For Paul, bringing these two farmers together started more than a nonprofit. It started a movement that he brought to the United States in 1998.



    Since its founding, Fair Trade USA and its partners have generated almost $610 million in additional income for farmers and workers in more than 70 countries worldwide.

    And as world-changing as that has been… for as many farmers Paul has helped bring out of poverty, he wanted more. He wanted this movement to be a force for broader social and environmental change. And so the story continues.



    What kind of person does it take to build a movement? What are the strategies that take something seemingly small and turn it into a global game changer? How do you build relationships and partnerships knowing that leading a movement is like conducting an orchestra?



    In this episode, I got to find out from Paul himself. And it’s truly fascinating.



    About Paul Rice



    Paul Rice is Founder and CEO of Fair Trade USA, the internationally-acclaimed social enterprise and leading certifier of Fair Trade products in North America. He launched the award-winning nonprofit organization in 1998 after spending 11 years organizing farmers in the highlands of Nicaragua. There, he founded and led the country's first Fair Trade coffee export cooperative, which introduced him to the transformative power of market-based approaches to sustainable development. Paul then returned to the United States to obtain his MBA from Berkeley Haas with the dream of bringing Fair Trade to consumers, businesses, and farmers and workers worldwide.



    Paul’s rich, first-hand experience over the last 30 years in the areas of sustainable agriculture, grassroots economic development, global supply chain transparency and consumer activation is unique in the certification world. He is now a leading advocate of “impact sourcing” as a core strategy for both poverty alleviation and sustainable business.



    Paul has been honored for his pioneering work by Ashoka, the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, Fast Company Magazine’s Social Capitalist of the Year award (four-time winner), Ethisphere’s 100 Most Influential in Business Ethics, Entrepreneur magazine’s Entrepreneur of the Year (2012 Finalist), the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship and Ethical Corporation's Responsible Business Leader of the Year (2019). The Texas-native holds an Economics and Political Science degree from Yale University and an MBA from the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley, where he is now an Executive Fellow. Paul has spoken at the World Economic Forum, Clinton Global Initiative, Skoll World Forum, TEDx and numerous universities and conferences around the world.



    In this podcast

    - How can capitalism evolve?

    - How to harness markets, companies and consumers to the task of social and environmental good

    - How to remove fear from the equation

    - Is corporate greed always a problem?

    • 53 min
    Ep 98: Movements are Like Relay Races (with Frances Kunreuther)

    Ep 98: Movements are Like Relay Races (with Frances Kunreuther)

    In 1997, when I was hired to lead GLAAD, I understood that I had joined a movement. I also understood that all movements are like relay races. You grab the baton from

    those who came before you and you hold on tight until it is time for you to pass it.



    I grabbed the baton from those who came before me and ran like hell. standing on the shoulders of others who carried the baton long before I had decided to join the race.



    My guest today is one of those people.



    I’m thrilled to give voice to a passionate change agent; Frances Kunreuther co-directs the Building Movement Project, which works to strengthen U.S. nonprofits as sites of civic engagement and social change.



    Frances truly knows what it takes to build a movement. What has to happen inside an organization that wishes to align its social justice values with how it operates in order to reflect the communities they serve, offering them both voice and power. The tools and resources that would be most valuable. The kinds of studies that could be done to give visibility and credence to the challenges faced by the sector that have the potential to thwart social change.



    We discuss Race to Lead, a survey from her organization designed to help diagnose and take measures to address the brick wall that people of color often face in organizations.



    Frances discusses the value of listening to people (surveys, interviews, case studies), working across organizational boundaries, generations and race in order to exercise the muscles needed for the collective power to create change.



    Leadership succession, strategies, resources, distributed leadership and so much more in this episode of Nonprofits are Messy!



    About Frances Kunreuther



    Frances Kunreuther co-directs the Building Movement Project, which works to strengthen U.S. nonprofits as sites of civic engagement and social change. She is co-author of two books, From the Ground Up: Grassroots Organizations Making Social Change (Cornell, 2006) and Working Across Generations: Defining the Future of Nonprofit Leadership (Jossey Bass, 2009). Frances was a senior fellow at the Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations at Harvard University for five years and is currently affiliated with the Research Center for Leadership and Action at NYU, where she also teaches. In the 1990s, Frances headed the Hetrick-Martin Institute for LBGT youth and was awarded an Annie E. Casey Foundation Fellowship for this and her previous work with homeless youth and families, undocumented immigrants, crime victims, battered women, and substance users. She writes and presents frequently on issues related to nonprofits, leadership and social change.



    In this podcast

    - Landmines and opportunities of following a founder

    - Selecting the best candidate out of a mediocre lot: is it ever acceptable?

    - When hunger for change creates pressure to make changes to quickly

    - What kind of role does emotional intelligence play and how does it compare to academic knowledge?

    - The importance of the relationship between the CEO and board chair

    - Board CEO leadership agenda

    - Why you need a diverse pool of candidates

    - Plan ahead! This is not a surprise. So much counts on a smooth transition.

    • 45 min
    Ep 97: The Telltale Signs of Founder Syndrome (Part 2) with Rachael Gibson

    Ep 97: The Telltale Signs of Founder Syndrome (Part 2) with Rachael Gibson

    The founder of your organization is leaving and you’re coming in as the new leader. How do you follow a founder and be successful?



    Should founders stay involved? Can it ever work? What backwork needs to be done to agree on and properly navigate the journey of change.



    What role does a Board/CEO leadership agenda play? And how does the resulting partnership affect the success of the new leader?



    Board search committees need a smart approach as they unpack the skillsets, attributes and values that need to be embodied in the new leadership team. Perhaps the search is not for founder 2.0 but it is important to identify what the organization cannot afford to lose when the founder leaves.



    Here in part 2 of our series on founder syndrome and transition planning, Rachael Gibson, change management consultant for nonprofit organizations and philanthropic institutions who specializes in founder transitions answers a host of questions to help your transition go smoothly. This podcast does a great job of teasing out the potential pitfalls and help strengthen your organization at a truly pivotal time.



    About Rachael Gibson

    Rachael serves as a practice leader and senior consultant for executive search, leadership transition planning and organizational strategy engagements. Rachael is a skilled change management consultant for nonprofit organizations and philanthropic institutions. Rachael has a particular expertise in working with organizations led by founders and long-tenured executives.



    In prior roles, Rachael managed grant making programs and spearheaded numerous capacity building initiatives, including ones aimed at deepening the leadership development opportunities for nonprofit leaders, strengthening the back office systems for nonprofit organizations and evaluating the effectiveness of advocacy efforts. Rachael also developed a national coaching program for leaders of color and led multiple capacity building and evaluation projects for various government agencies. She has facilitated numerous collective action initiatives and led large program evaluation projects for grant making entities aimed at evaluating the effectiveness of their programs.



    In addition to her management consulting expertise, Rachael has facilitated diversity and leadership development trainings, served on various nonprofit boards and task forces, and presented workshops at local and national conferences. She served on the board of the Alliance for Nonprofit Management. Rachael is also an Adjunct Professor at the Chicago School for Professional Psychology where she teaches Masters level students interested in the field of consulting and organizational development She received a Master’s Degree in Community and Urban Planning from the University of Maryland, College Park.



    In this podcast

    - Landmines and opportunities of following a founder

    - Selecting the best candidate out of a mediocre lot: is it ever acceptable?

    - When hunger for change creates pressure to make changes to quickly

    - What kind of role does emotional intelligence play and how does it compare to academic knowledge?

    - The importance of the relationship between the CEO and board chair

    - Board CEO leadership agenda

    - Why you need a diverse pool of candidates

    - Plan ahead! This is not a surprise. So much counts on a smooth transition.

    • 32 min
    Ep 96: The Telltale Signs of Founder Syndrome (Part 1) with Rachael Gibson

    Ep 96: The Telltale Signs of Founder Syndrome (Part 1) with Rachael Gibson

    An inability to share leadership. The tendency to hold information. Not knowing when to leave can all be telltale signs of founder syndrome.



    How do you know when it’s time to go and who to call for help in guiding the thought process that ensues?



    Rachael Gibson is a skilled change management consultant for nonprofit organizations and philanthropic institutions who specializes in founder transitions.



    In part one of this fascinating two-part series, Rachael and I discuss the remarkable nature of founders, what exactly is founder syndrome, and how do you get a founder to leave.



    About Rachael Gibson

    Rachael serves as a practice leader and senior consultant for executive search, leadership transition planning and organizational strategy engagements. Rachael is a skilled change management consultant for nonprofit organizations and philanthropic institutions. Rachael has a particular expertise in working with organizations led by founders and long-tenured executives.



    In prior roles, Rachael managed grant making programs and spearheaded numerous capacity building initiatives, including ones aimed at deepening the leadership development opportunities for nonprofit leaders, strengthening the back office systems for nonprofit organizations and evaluating the effectiveness of advocacy efforts. Rachael also developed a national coaching program for leaders of color and led multiple capacity building and evaluation projects for various government agencies. She has facilitated numerous collective action initiatives and led large program evaluation projects for grant making entities aimed at evaluating the effectiveness of their programs.



    In addition to her management consulting expertise, Rachael has facilitated diversity and leadership development trainings, served on various nonprofit boards and task forces, and presented workshops at local and national conferences. She served on the board of the Alliance for Nonprofit Management. Rachael is also an Adjunct Professor at the Chicago School for Professional Psychology where she teaches Masters level students interested in the field of consulting and organizational development She received a Master’s Degree in Community and Urban Planning from the University of Maryland, College Park.



    In this episode:

    - Transitioning from the personal perspective to the needs of the organization

    - How long should I stay? Have I stayed too long?

    - “What is this founder’s syndrome thing? AND DO I HAVE IT?”

    - When is it time to hire a leadership coach?

    - The bad choices made by boards

    - Should the outgoing ED/founder be involved in the search process?

    - Is there value in internal successions?

    • 37 min
    Ep 95: How Do We Ignite Our Volunteers? (with Tobi Johnson)

    Ep 95: How Do We Ignite Our Volunteers? (with Tobi Johnson)

    Volunteerism is both noble and necessary in our polarized world, says Tobi Johnson, master trainer in volunteer engagement and President and Founder of Volunteer Pro.



    Beyond that, she believes volunteerism is the key to challenging assumptions, becoming involved in new environments and finding partners that help make us a better version of ourselves. It may just be the key to saving our world.



    Ok great, but what about the nuts and bolts? How do you recruit the right people to do good things, consistently and for free? Beyond that, how do nonprofit leaders ignite in others the joy and privilege of service? And, how do you keep them engaged over the long term?



    Don't fret because Tobi's got answers.



    Listen for everything you ever wanted to know about how to attract, retain and develop volunteers along with proven, practical tools that will help you along the way.



    About Tobi Johnson



    Tobi Johnson, MA, CVA is an internationally sought after expert, consultant, and master trainer in volunteer engagement. She is known for her modern thought leadership, highly practical evidence-based strategies, and innovative, “big hat” thinking around engaging, supporting, and acknowledging the work of volunteers.



    She is the President of Tobi Johnson & Associates, a consulting firm whose mission is to help nonprofit organizations make connections with remarkable volunteers. In 2015, she founded VolunteerPro, an online training and networking community for leaders of volunteers.



    Tobi has over 30 years direct experience in nonprofit management, program development, program coordination, training delivery and learning design in the social sector. She wrote Chapter 1 of Volunteer Engagement 2.0: Ideas and Insights for Transforming Volunteer Programs in a Changing World, published by Jossey-Bass in 2015.



    In addition, Tobi is intimately knowledgeable about the professional development needs of today’s leaders of volunteers. She was the Chair for the Certified in Volunteer Administration (CVA) Job Analysis Task Force; responsible for updating the required the competencies for the fields only internationally recognized credential. Each year, she also conducts the Volunteer Management Progress Report, a global state-of-the-industry survey. In 2018, nearly 1,600 professionals from 16 countries participated.



    A native of the Pacific Northwest, Tobi is a graduate of the University of Washington and has a Masters degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She now lives in East Tennessee with her husband and feline office assistant, Bailey.



    In this podcast

    - Volunteerism is growing, what can we do to keep this trend alive?

    - When it comes to financial contributions, do volunteers tend to give more or less?

    - What does the Volunteer Management Progress Report say are the top volunteer challenges?

    - What are the four fundamental ways to recruit volunteers?

    - How do you balance volunteer needs with those of the organization?

    - How can the volunteer functions inventory help you pinpoint motivations that keep volunteers coming back?

    • 56 min

Customer Reviews

shootforthestars44 ,

Great content

Joan offers a great mix of current concepts in the nonprofit field, as well as practical tips and resources that a nonprofit professional can take back to their organization

Grace Alfiero ,

Love this podcast!

Joan is succinct and artful with her productions! As a non profit leader, I look forward to every episode! True Gold!

thezwomann ,

Great podcast from someone who gets it!

Joan's podcasts is one of the few I never miss, and I've been known to listen to some episodes more than once. Each episode is packed with practical, actionable tips for nonprofit leaders, and she often says something that makes me laugh out loud! You can tell she enjoys motivating her listeners to take their organizations to the next level.

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