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Alpha testers and beta testers are collaborators, too

February 3, 2011

The Nonprofit Management Resource (NPMR) project went through a round of alpha testing a little while ago, and is now gearing up for beta testing.  I’ve been reflecting on how the alpha testers provide important input, and how they have been collaborators to the extent that we’ve invited that. Read more…

“We mutually pledge…”

January 6, 2011

Since writing about how important specificity and accountability are to me in a collaboration, I’ve been thinking about refining this idea a little.

Although I tend to appoint myself as the Designated Worrier of any project, the truth is that any collaborative effort is dependent on mutual accountability.  Power does not flow unilaterally and may not even be well-defined.  We may not have rigid lines of reporting, such as those seen in a hierarchical organizational chart, but it’s going to difficult to achieve our desired outcomes unless we all “report to” each other. Read more…

I like having a schedule, even when reality works out to be a little different

January 3, 2011

Happy new year!

As the new year begins, I’m reflecting on the Nonprofit Management Resources (NPMR) project’s five year plan.  I’m not going to post the latter here, but suffice it to say that the first year looked really different from what we had planned.  I think the second year will also diverge significantly from the tasks and dates so neatly described in the the Excel spreadsheets that we used.

Reality is different but not worse than what we planned.  It’s been a year of collaboration lessons, and one of them is that it takes time, when people come together, to get buy-in for all the things on the agenda.  Moreover, it’s not really possible to commandeer other people’s schedules.  Tasks that could be completed in a week hang fire, because one of the individuals or organizations involved has reservations about the goal or the tactics.  Or the tasks go on to-do lists, but are postponed in favor of other projects. Read more…

Reflections on the Pizzigatti Prize, Peter Deitz, and Social Actions

December 16, 2010

This week, I had a pleasure of nominating Peter Deitz (the founder and co-director of Social Actions) for the Antonio Pizzigati Prize for Software in the Public Interest.  This was fun to do, because it gave me an opportunity to reflect on how much his work has meant, not just to me, but to the Nonprofit Management Resources project (NPMR), and to everyone who cares about delivering useful information to those who seek to make the world a better place. Read more…

Nonprofit collaboration in Providence, Rhode Island

November 29, 2010

Every so often, I make jokes about how Massachusetts is the Silo State, and Rhode Island is the Pilot Project State.  This is overstating the truth, but there’s no doubt that the nonprofit/philanthropic cultures of the two states are quite different, and there’s plenty to be learned outside of my home base. Read more…

What I learned from Marianne Dyer and Melissa Ganley

November 22, 2010

Last Thursday, I had the privilege of sitting down first with Marianne Dyer and then with Melissa Ganley – two colleagues from Third Sector New England who split the responsibility of staffing TSNE’s reception area.

As readers of this blog know, I consider receptionists to be key information managers, so I was very grateful that they both were willing to make some time to speak with me.  Marianne even brought a sheaf of notes to the meeting, of questions that had been coming in over the phone! Read more…

Further reflections on taxonomies

November 21, 2010

Here’s a draft of the taxonomy that we are using for the nonprofit management knowledge base on the Boston Foundation’s web site.

An Overview of the Massachusetts Nonprofit Sector

  • Data and Research
  • Laws and Regulations
  • Advocacy and Lobbying
  • Nonprofit Basics
  • Executive Management Read more…
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