Essay Archives

Take a lesson from Legos: Donor-centric fundraising doesn’t have to be in opposition to community-centric fundraising

When I was a kid, my mom (shoutout to my mom), found this catalog in the back of a Lego instruction booklet that let us call the Lego company and order little packages of specific Lego pieces.

This was a game-changer in our house.

Because whenever we got that big blue Lego bucket out, we were always on the hunt for those little fiddly pieces that were so hard to find. Joints. Hinges. Those little toggles that make the Lego people look like they’re using a joystick. All of them worth their weight in gold if you wanted to build a cool robot or a spaceship with a working hatch (which, as it happens, I often did).

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6 steps to making metrics an ally of your diversity plan

Hey, you’re still here! Usually, I say “metrics” and the room clears out. We’re already off to a great start.

After my previous article was published in December, about common pitfalls to avoid when implementing a diversity plan, I started to get questions about metrics. Specifically: How do we design metrics that are actually meaningful to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) plans? The answer is too long and complicated for the comments section, so here we are.

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6 lessons for broadening your mental horizons, from the perspective of a Gen Z student

Despite the never-ending deadlines and the new and glorious challenges of adult life, Gen Z are some of the most political and active members of our society. The police brutality that resulted in the death of George Floyd sparked mass protests across the world for the Black Lives Matter movement with Gen Z at the forefront. Similarly, around a month ago, university students across the UK took to the streets demanding for improved student well-being.

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Fundraisers, your community needs your talents beyond your 9-to-5 office job

As a development director who loathes capitalism, I often feel very conflicted about my job. When I was young, I had big visions of making a positive impact on the communities I loved, and they certainly didn’t include asking those who hoard wealth to give back (what is often) an insignificant amount to marginalized communities in exchange for a tax deduction and a sense of superiority and white saviorism.

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I wrote a CCF essay about racial gaslighting — and then white fragility blew up in my face!

In the throes of the holiday season last December, the careful balance between read and unread emails in my inbox was starting to take a turn. As I conducted my daily reckoning of my inbox, one message jumped out at me, demanding my immediate attention. It didn’t have a subject.

I recognized the handle right away though; I knew who it was. A riff on her name, she always used the same version of that handle for her social media accounts.

I took a deep breath and rolled my eyes.

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The untold dress code in philanthropy: how and when we choose to police gender expression

In a previous job, my development supervisor bought me nail polish since she knew I enjoy wearing it. This was evident, as I had done so in the office previously.

However, this supervisor was also the one to tell me to remove the nail polish before I went to
any donor event or donor meeting. 

The message was clear: You can be whoever you want to be, as long as it doesn’t interfere
with or inconvenience our revenue streams.

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Discomfort is the new black: 7 ways to prioritize discomfort so that you can learn to be a better human — for yourself and for the world!

In 2018 I started training with Coach Tricia Arcaro Turton at her boxing gym, Arcaro Boxing. It’s located at 1208 E. Jefferson St., in that weird zone where Seattle’s very white, used-to-be-hella-queer Capitol Hill neighborhood bleeds into the once-upon-a-time-hella-Black (historically speaking) and used-to-be-affordable Central District neighborhood.

Coach Tricia, or just “Coach” as many of us call her, is a powerhouse. If you look up Unrelenting Badass Witch on Wikipedia, her smug beautiful mug will be staring right back at you.

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How Growing Gardens went from a nonprofit that ignored racism to one that is actively practicing antiracism

“I don’t help people. I provide tools for people least served by the system,” says Rima Green, Growing Gardens’ Lettuce Grow program director. A Portland-based nonprofit, Growing Gardens uses the experience of growing food in schools, backyards, and correctional facilities to cultivate healthy and equitable communities.

Retired master gardener Rima knows what it means to be least served.

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5 anti-ableist practices that any organization can embrace now!

As an Autistic woman and as a fundraiser who has worked at a disability-focused nonprofit for almost 10 years, one of the first things I’m asked when I talk about my identity or the work that I do is, “Have you heard of [X nonprofit]? They work with people with disabilities.”

Nine times out of ten I find myself fighting the desire to transparently respond with, “I know a lot about them. PLEASE DON’T GIVE THEM YOUR MONEY, and this is why …”

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Always give a cost of living increase — yes, especially after 2020

Usually at the end of any given year, all throughout Facebook Nonprofit Group Land, white, cisgender, heterosexual, abled women in HR and director positions start numerous posts asking different variations of, “What end of the year gift should we be giving our employees to show our appreciation for their work?”

And the answer is always the same, from me, anyway — a raise or a bonus. Please don’t give people desk organizers (supplies should be provided by workplaces, not given as gifts) or gift cards to “nice” (read: expensive) restaurants.

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