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Inspiration and Innovation From the Nonprofit Blog Carnival

Lori Halley 26 June 2014 3 comments

Welcome to the June Nonprofit Blog Carnival. This month, we’ve rounded up a dizzying array of posts about non-profit inspiration and innovation.

As the Nonprofit Blog Carnival host for June, we asked non-profit bloggers to offer up inspirational stories, words of wisdom for non-profit newbies and ideas that might inspire innovation. And you delivered – thanks so much to all of you who participated, you’ve offered up some golden words of inspiration. Here are 15 thought-provoking, inspirational posts.

Advice for those in or considering a non-profit career:

Advice to people looking at careers in the non-profit field 

Erik Anderson (DonorDreams Blog) shares his non-profit career journey line and some valuable lessons learned that today's young job searchers might find valuable. Erik’s post speaks to the issues of organizational culture and matching your inner passions with an agency's mission.

Let the Commencement Commence! 

Ken Goldstein (The Nonprofit Consultant Blog) offers advice to new graduates considering a career “in the human services sector”. He offers a lot of inspirational quotes, including this in his closing: “I'll leave you with one more bit of inspiration, this time from Mark Twain: "The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why." 

This Is My Biggest Secret 

In her submission email, Vanessa Chase (The Storytelling Non-profit) noted: “this is a post that I have wanted to write for a long time and the prompt about what inspired your career gave me an extra push to get this written. I'm a former fundraiser turned consultant, and I think a lot of people make assumptions about the kind of success I've had and how old I am. So I wrote this post to pull the curtain back and show everyone that you are never too old or too young to create a career that you love.”

The Nonprofit Nerd Inside Each of Us

Shari Ilsen (VolunteerMatch) shares the story of how she went from a PhD program in Neuroscience to nonprofit communications, realizing her geekiness about the brain was no match for her nonprofit nerdiness. Shari suggests ways for each of us to discover the nonprofit nerd inside that will keep us inspired and motivated, no matter what each day brings. 

Making the World a Better Place 

Dani Robbins (Non Profit Evolution Blog) tells us: “My mother died 23 years ago this month, right before I graduated from college. She taught us that we each had an obligation to make the world a better place. That has been my inspiration ever since. ... Each experience I’ve had has been gratifying, sometimes frustrating, occasionally terrifying and always inspirational.” 

Giving Back to My Community is Not Just My work But My Passion 

Empish Thomas (Center for the Visually Impaired) admits, “when I launched my professional career in May 1995, my mind was set on working for a prestigious company as a public relations practitioner. Working in the non-profit industry was nowhere on the radar and neither was blindness. I had volunteered in the past both during my high school and college years. I had even sat on a collegiate board for the March of Dimes and found the work rewarding and enjoyable. Immediately after college I worked at a local public relations firm where we did pro bono work for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s “Bowl for Breath” fundraising campaign. But little did I know that in a few months I would be going blind and that my whole life and career would drastically change.” 

Finding inspiration:

7 Habits of Highly Effective Nonprofit Leaders 

Natasha Golinsky offered a guest post she wrote for IdealistCareer.org about her source of inspiration: one of her clients. Natasha explains: “for the past year I have had the incredible fortune of working with an executive director who ... has taken his organization from operating at a deficit to now being a $1.6 million dollar charity and a leader in their community. ... I am totally in awe of two things – the results he has achieved and how he has achieved them without losing his sanity or his sense of humor.” Natasha outlines the seven habits being practiced by this amazing ED and how they can help anyone looking to advance their organization’s cause.

Nurturing homegrown talent 

Jennifer Watson (Canadian Feed The Children) offered an inspirational blog post about Alhassan Awal and his dream to become a teacher. His dream is personal, since he wants to return to Sang, Ghana, and help his brothers and other children get a better education and have a better life in this impoverished village of northern Ghana. This post illustrates that indeed “it takes a village.” As one community member said, “it’s not only a teacher, but a whole community that builds a child.”

Powerful quotes to inspire your nonprofit marketing communications 

Marlene Oliveira (Nonprofit MarCommunity) asked a small group of nonprofit communicators if there was someone whose words made a lasting impression on their work - or their approach to it. The result is a post of memorable quotes and how they impacted four nonprofit communicators. Yielding another round of powerful words!

Why I pay for the Chronicle of Philanthropy

Marc A. Pitman (FundraisingCoach.com) suggests that sometimes free sources of inspiration are penny wise pound foolish. In this post, Marc shares why he decided to start paying for a subscription to the Chronicle of Philanthropy. And why the Chronicle makes Marc a better fundraiser.

Non-Profit Entrepreneurs Can Change the World (Advice for Fundraisers) 

Joe Garecht (The Fundraising Authority) tells us to “be a non-profit entrepreneur, and change the world. ... I know: you’re not a for-profit business.  Your bottom line... is measured in lives changed, not dollars gained.  ...You are, and always will be, a mission-focused non-profit organization. ...But still…. Today, I am asking you to think like an entrepreneur.”

Inspired to Act: Fundraising and the Summer Season 

Ann Goldman (Front Range Source) wants to “encourages fundraisers to seize the long summer days following the summer solstice to shed light on their fundraising program. Ann suggests that Fourth of July is a great time for considering how fundraisers can provide an outlet for donors to express their freedom.  Our hope is that these inspirational holidays — summer solstice and fourth of July — give the reader a time to reflect and find inspiration in their work.”

A Conversation With Adam Braun 

This might be a first for the carnival round-up – a podcast for your listening pleasure. Tony Martignetti, Esq. offered up a podcast from his Nonprofit Radio, of an interview with Adam Braun. Adam founded Pencils of Promise with $25 and it’s now close to 200 schools globally. In the podcast, Tony talks to Adam Braun (a Forbes “30 Under 30″ and one of Wired Magazine’s “50 People Who Are Changing the World”) about his journey and lessons learned in creating a global movement.

Paths to innovation and when to avoid it:

10 Paths to a Culture of Innovation

Tom Peterson (Thunderhead Works) believes that a strong culture of innovation will result in better programs, stronger revenue streams, scaling up and revolutionary solutions to challenges. Such a culture will help your nonprofit thrive in ways beyond its current imagination.

Never Think Outside the Box: Grant Writing Is All About Following the Recipe, not Creativity 

Jake Seliger (Grant Writing Confidential) reminds us that “Innovation is not always an unalloyed good!” He offered an older post (with timeless advice) that reminds us when nonprofits should NOT be innovative or creative – when writing grant proposals. Jake tells us that when it comes to writing grant proposals “Most of the time ... you’ll be given a box, and if you step outside it, you’re not going to be praised like a precocious high school student.”

That’s it for the June Nonprofit Blog Carnival round-up.  We hope you found these posts inspirational.

Stay tuned for the July Carnival Round-up

I’m passing the Nonprofit Blog Carnival baton to Craig Linton, who will be hosting in July on the topic of donor retention. Watch for Craig’s call for Carnival submissions at the Fundraising Detective Blog.

Nonprofit Blog Carnival Updates

You can stay in touch and receive email reminders about the Nonprofit Blog Carnival, by signing up to join the “Friends of the Carnival” here.   

Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

Posted by Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

Published Thursday, 26 June 2014 at 10:00 AM


  • Vanessa Chase said:

    Thursday, 26 June 2014 at 12:26 PM
    What a great carnival this month! Thank you for including my post, Lori! I really enjoyed reading Erik Anderson and Dani Robbins' posts.
  • Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

    Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] said:

    Thursday, 26 June 2014 at 12:37 PM
    Vanessa: Thanks so much for contributing and I'm so glad you're enjoying the rest of the round-up too!
  • tony martignetti said:

    Thursday, 26 June 2014 at 1:33 PM
    Many thanks for including my interview with Adam Braun. He truly is inspiring!
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