Bringing Unicorns Back to Our World
January 9, 2014 1:49 PM   Subscribe

Nonprofits With Balls. Sometimes you just need to laugh to make it through. Nonprofit agencies, whatever their missions, face common problems such as outcomes, sustainability, budgets, and even the physical plant. Oh, and unicorns.
posted by Stewriffic (10 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
From Body language basics for nonprofit professionals:
One of the most important concepts to learn is Mirroring. Basically, people unconsciously copy one another’s body language, and it helps to build rapport. Everyone does it without realizing it, except psychopaths, who don’t usually mirror anyone at all. Learn to do this subtly. As people lean in, you should lean in. As they crossed their legs, you should try to mirror them. They’ll like you much better and they won’t even realize it, which is great for things like site visits. It is also good to use this technique to see how relatable another person is. Do something like leaning in or back and see if they copy you at least a couple times. If they don’t, they might be a psychopath.
That last sentence may be the most valuable advice MetaFilter has ever led me to.
posted by ogooglebar at 2:12 PM on January 9, 2014 [4 favorites]

Learn to do this subtly

Isn't the implication here that only psychopaths need this advice?
posted by yoink at 2:14 PM on January 9, 2014 [4 favorites]

Or that all nonprofit professionals are psychopaths.
posted by ogooglebar at 2:22 PM on January 9, 2014 [4 favorites]

These things are not frivolous, and we in nonprofits must disabuse ourselves of the idea that we must always toil in squalor as we try to make the world better.

Once I went to a friend's office who doesn't work in a nonprofit and they were getting rid of furniture. They had bought new furniture, like chairs that weren't several decades old and covered in gum and student body fluids and book dust and sadness and shame. Like if we get rid of chairs it usually means the chair is somehow a legal liability of lost wheels or loose springs. If someone came in and funded a general Put My Name on Useful Furniture Items and Fixing the HVAC system they would win at funding.
posted by jetlagaddict at 2:24 PM on January 9, 2014 [8 favorites]

What do you get when you cross a Program Director, a Volunteer Manager, and a Janitor? Answer: A situation that is not too uncommon in most nonprofit organizations.

I love this site.
posted by nubs at 2:53 PM on January 9, 2014 [4 favorites]

Three years out of a notoriously stingy global non-profit -- my first real office job -- and I am still occasionally surprised by what passed for normal. Wait you mean I can just ask for nice pens? I don't have to wait six months for some red-colored folders? We can get software beyond what came with Windows and the half-broken database suite purchased and last updated at the turn of the century? I get raises?

My god this must be Valhalla.
posted by griphus at 3:22 PM on January 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

My god this must be Valhalla.

Well, Valhalla is a sort of non-profit (all the prophecy being done by that weird lady living at the base of Yggdrasil). You know you work their if your duties consist of feasting, fighting, and reattaching your limbs periodically.
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:12 PM on January 9, 2014

Funders’ push for “more compelling outcomes” goes too far sometimes, forcing us nonprofits to claim to be responsible for outcomes that make no sense for our programs. After-school arts or sports programs, for example, should not have to be directly responsible for and judged on increasing graduation rates, or getting kids into college. They increase kids’ confidence and love of learning and teamwork and a host of other skills. Those are absolutely wonderful outcomes by themselves and should be funded. from
I work in a foundation whose goal is similar to increasing graduation rates. As such, everyone here is pushed to only fund programs that increase graduation rates. At the end of the year, the board says "We gave away X million dollars. How much did that increase graduation rates?"

So, while I agree that after-school programs etc. are intrinsically beneficial, my organization can't hold itself accountable to its own goals if the grantees don't return data on graduation rates.

Anyway, thanks for linking this website- i look forward to giving it a long read!
posted by rebent at 7:42 AM on January 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

Holy shit, rebent (at least I'm assuming you are the same rebent as on Mefightclub) - had no clue we were both in this sector.

Anyways, you might find this article interesting.
posted by nubs at 9:45 AM on January 10, 2014

Yes it is I! What an awesome field this is :)
posted by rebent at 8:07 PM on January 10, 2014

« Older Labeoufs in Space   |   They Must Sleep in the Center of the Bed Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments