Delivering Happiness

Grace Armstrong Uncategorized

I think that everyone that runs a business, including nonprofits, should read the book Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh (Shay), the founder and CEO of Zappo’s. Zappo’s is an online retailer which begain as the first online show store but now sells many other products. It was recently acquired by Amazon, but continues to operate independently.

The top goal on which Zappo’s was built was to wow their customers with extraordinary customer service. They did no marketing on the belief that outstanding customer service would bring new and returning customers through word of mouth. They were right.

Zappo’s built a company culture that is based on specific core values determined by Zappo’s employees. They make decisions based on core values and hire only people that will fit the Zappo’s culture. The culture they live is one that says that the company will be successful by delivering happiness for their customers, their employees, and their vendors.

Why can’t all companies be like Zappo’s? As nonprofits why don’t we make delivering happiness to our clients, our employees, and our funders a top priority? All it takes is a lot of common sense and a commitment to the process of delivering happiness. Nonprofits all want to be the premier deliverer of services in their field. This is the sure path to accomplishing that goal. What can you do today to begin to change your company culture so that client, employee, and funder happness is your primary goal and a sure path to your success?

Take the Time to Learn, to Think, and to Envision

Grace Armstrong News, Stories

Regardless of who you are, it is likely that you feel your work is all consuming and that you have more to accomplish than you have hours in the day. Maybe you feel guilty if you don’t take everything off of your to-do list at the end of the day.

As we begin 2011, my best advice to you is that you will get more done, if you stop every day to think, to envision the possibilities and to learn something new. Pick a time in the day that suits you, whether it is first thing in the morning, in the middle of the day, or before you end your work day.

Think about what is important to you. Think about what excites you in your work and what you long to accomplish. Think about how you can do more of what is important and how you can involve others to do that which really matters in your work.

Think about what could be next year. If it excites you, then think about it more often. You may have heard that the Strangest Secret (Earl Nightingale) is that you become what you think about. I believe that applies to organizations as well. What the leaders of an organization think and dream about is often what the organization becomes…good or bad.

Think about what you would like to know more about. Take the time to read something each day, even if it is for just five minutes. Education and learning are the keys to having more creative thoughts and more avenues for accomplishing success.

Many of us are not very serious about our learning. Once we finish school, we think that new learning will happen on the job or casually by osmosis. This may be true. Yet, our most successful leaders are those that know they must learn more and keep their minds fertile.

Promise yourself to learn more and think more this year. It will be good for you.

A Book Review: Tribal Leadership

Lorraine Faithful Uncategorized

A book review of Tribal Leadership – Leveraging Natural Groups to Build a Thriving Organization, by Dave Logan, John King and Halee Fischer-Wright

Are you seeking to improve your (or your employee’s) performance, serve your market better and have a blast doing it? I’m sure that most everyone would agree that these are lofty goals and perhaps seemingly difficult to achieve. But Tribal Leadership gives us down-to-earth practical explanations of how anyone or any organization can easily achieve their highest and best use.

The authors say that every organization is a tribe – a small group or set of small groups (think of your cellphone listings or address book), and that tribes are basic building blocks of any large human effort, including earning a living. Birds flock, fish school, and people “tribe.” Tribal leaders are created in the tribal groups and make the difference between the performance level of tribes. “Change the language in the tribe, change the tribe itself.” Tribal leadership is a journey to understand themselves and people around them better, and as a result, know exactly what actions will affect their workplaces.

This book’s goal is for you to learn the tools to become a tribal leader resulting in a more effective workplace, greater strategic success, less stress, more fun, build a better organization and make an impact. Tribal leaders focus on culture and words people use and the type of relationships they form as well as behavior. It does not address beliefs, attitudes or other factors not directly observed.

Learn about the insights and vocabulary of a tribal leader and about five tribal stages described in this book. Find out how leaders can upgrade or move people and an organization from the lowest stage where the personal outlook is that “life sucks”, to the highest stage where people express the “life is great” and teamwork is achieved at its highest possible level.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to improve their performance, serve their market and have fun doing it. Tribal Leadership can be purchased by clicking here.

Conflict of Interest: Not Necessarily a Bad Thing

Grace Armstrong Uncategorized

When the majority of us hear the words “conflict of interest” in relation to a not for profit board of directors, we generally think there is trouble ahead. That is certainly possible, but it is not necessarily so.

Let’s start with the law. Florida Statutes 617.0832 very clearly tells us how to handle a conflict of interest on a not for profit board. Since the law tells us how to handle a conflict of interest, we should feel pretty comfortable believing that having a conflict of interest is not always taboo.

When we invite individuals to join our boards, we do so because they bring something of value to the organization. Sometimes it is their wisdom, but often it is their connections to resources, including products, services and people. Should we avoid doing business with a board member who has our best interests at heart and will give us the best price and the best service?

It depends. It has to be handled properly. Consider the public perception. Think about the potential consequences if the product or service has troubles down the road. Then, follow all best practices (as stated in the law) regarding documentation of the conflict of interest, documentation of other bids, abstention of the conflicted party from any vote, and having a majority vote of the board. Taking all of the right steps will insure that the conflict of interest is handled properly and that the best interests of the organization are well served.

You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know

Grace Armstrong News, Stories

There is no greater gift to a nonprofit organization than a board member who is motivated to be involved in his own education. When most of us join a board, we think that we bring a great deal of wisdom because of our backgrounds in business, education, or whatever our field of work is. We believe that we are sufficiently prepared because we excel in our own fields. Often we don’t realize there is so much more to board membership.

Naturally, we know that as a board member it is not only our talent, but our time and treasure that we must give to our nonprofit organization. The problem is that most of us don’t know what we don’t know. As a result, not all board members realize that there is much to learn in order to be an excellent board member. Not all board members realize there is a robust body of knowledge easily accessible through in- person classes and online.

And what is this knowledge that we don’t all know about? How many of us as board members know that we are stewards of the public trust; that, legally, we have a duty of care, loyalty, and obedience? And what does all that really mean for each of us personally? No one teaches us the deep responsibilities of board membership unless we take it upon ourselves to learn and own our own education…all for the greater good.

Speaking Your Mind

Grace Armstrong Uncategorized

The role of a board member in a nonprofit organization is to govern and guide the organization to achieve its mission effectively. Board members have the care of the organization in their hands as representatives of the public trust.

With that in mind, their wisdom and experience is necessary in order to reach the right decisions. Why is it then that board members are often reluctant to speak up during difficult decisions? It takes courage to ask difficult questions and it takes even more courage to disagree with what the majority may be saying.

Board members are human beings and as humans we fear rejection and we fear being wrong. Board members often feel that they may not know enough to express an opinion. Or, a member might think that others are right because they have served on the board for longer.

Please, board members, speak your minds fearlessly and respectfully. Every organization deserves the benefit of the wisdom around the table. It is these nuggets of fearless wisdom and questioning that will drive the right decisions. Silence has killed a lot of people in the history of the world. Don’t let silence based on fear of being wrong damage your organization. Our organizations deserve better than that.

Fair Pay for Great Work

Grace Armstrong News, Stories

I was involved in a project recently with a group of business people who were not overly familiar with the nonprofit sector. The project was to identify a nonprofit that was well run and employed what the group perceived were best practices. Nonprofits had submitted many documents to help the group make their decision.

What I found interesting in this group is what they thought was most important. The two things of most interest to the group of (for profit) business people were CEO salary and the administrative cost. In this process the administrative cost was determined purely as a percentage without consideration of each nonprofit’s particular situation.

One nonprofit was excluded solely because the CEO’s salary had just slipped into six figures. This CEO had served for 25 years in that position and had consistently grown the organization. Many other organizations were excluded solely based on a subjective observation that their overhead was “too high”. “Too high” was never quantified. I know this is appalling for those of us who understand what it takes to run and grow a nonprofit organization with excellence.

Then, recently, I was in a meeting with nonprofit CEOs. The first topic that was mentioned is how the nonprofit sector could work on changing the public perception about nonprofit CEO salaries.

It is surely not an easy task. I recommend the book Uncharitable by Dan Pallotta for a very insightful description of the puritanical beginnings of the nonprofit sector. Because of this history, the public perception is that nonprofit staff make a choice to work for less and that because it is a charitable organization, employees don’t deserve pay that is comparable to the for profit sector.

This view holds communities back. The nonprofit sector is a powerful business force in most communities. Not only as an employer but as a purchaser of products. Growing our sector supports communities economically and socially. To grow the sector and its impact, talented people are needed. Talented people will stay in their jobs when they derive satisfaction and are fairly compensated.

It is good business sense for our communities to pay our nonprofit leaders a salary that is commensurate with their performance. It is the leader of a business (for profit or not for profit) who makes things happen. It is the leader who is accountable. It is the leader who performs his or her role with excellence who should be appropriately compensated. Leaders in the nonprofit sector accept their positions because of the challenge, because they care to make a difference, and because they want to run businesses that grow and thrive.

It is a mistaken notion that nonprofit CEOs should receive limited pay. If the public believed this about for profit businesses, our economy would be in worse shape than it is now. Leaders deserve fair and appropriate compensation commensurate with their performance. Spread the word.

Lessons on Leadership from Fantasy Football

Scott Edinger, Edinger Consulting Group Uncategorized

Football season is upon us, and while the link between these two may not be obvious at first blush, stay with me for a moment. Before I detail the similarities between these two seemingly disparate topics, it makes sense to highlight my qualifications to do so. I have been playing fantasy football in the same league since 1995, and in the last four years have won more games than anyone in my league, including two super bowl appearances and a championship in which I vanquished my arch-rival. Take that Eric! As a leader, I have been an SVP and EVP of Sales for two different companies, both of which grew steadily through recessions and achieved record levels of revenue and profit. So I know a little bit about both of these topics.

There are many connections between leadership and fantasy football and in both disciplines (it is fun to refer to fantasy football as a discipline), strategy is of the utmost importance. These are the key strategies that are the same for both:

  • It’s all about results. As a leader, you are responsible for getting results and in both fantasy football and in business, it’s results or bust. In business, it may be increased profit, launching new products, improving processes, and so forth. In fantasy football, it is winning week in and week out.
  • Get your players in the right positions. Leading teams is all about putting people in the position to use their knowledge, skills, and talents for the overall benefit of the organization. That may include cultivating talent and developing skills that are needed. In organizations, for instance, that means making sure that your team members with great customer-facing skills are spending their time in the field, on activities related to client service or new business acquisition. Leaders need to ensure that they are clear on the skills needed in all positions, and that they are staffed with people who have the ability to succeed in their given role. In fantasy football, you need to ensure that your roster is complete with the right players to fill each position from Quarterback to Kicker.
  • Make win-win trades. In fantasy football, nobody wants to make a trade that seems lopsided. Similarly, nobody wants to work with people who are not good collaborators. Improving your ability to work cross-functionally with colleagues enables you to get things done in an organization. Most projects today involve multiple constituencies and multiple stakeholders and your ability to influence them by appealing to their rational self-interest is your best chance for success. Teamwork and collaboration are increasingly valued skills because of the complexity of work in organizations today. And in fantasy football, if you want to make a trade, you better offer fair deals or nobody will trade with you.
  • Know when it is time to cut your losses. In the last decade I have been in scores of discussions about whether or not someone should be let go. When the person was eventually let go, I have never heard a leader say, “I did that too fast.” Most of the time, we suffer incompetence for too long. I am not suggesting terminating someone’s employment at the first mistake, but when performance problems are persistent, we need to recognize that both the organization and the individual would be better off elsewhere. But sometimes leaders get emotionally involved in making someone a success, or don’t feel like dealing with an issue, and provide much more time than is warranted to improve. Similarly, fantasy football GMs get emotionally attached to a player because they play for a favorite team, or think “just one more week and they will break out of their slump.” In both cases, those in charge need to take swift action for the benefit of their respective teams.
  • You can’t win ‘em all. Even the best players have a clunker of a game now and then. Your best seller may lose an account or your six sigma expert may get a process messed up. It happens, and you need to be able to take it in stride and stick with your strategy. When you do suffer a setback, take some time to understand why it happened and how it may be prevented in the future. Do what you can to learn from it. Maybe there is a lesson to be gleaned that helps you get better. But above all you then need to shake it off, because there are still objectives to be achieved, deadlines to be met, and a job to be done. Just because one project didn’t go well doesn’t mean that everything else in the organization stops, so take your lumps and move ahead. In fantasy football, there is always next week or next season.

For those of you who play fantasy football (it is estimated that there are more than 27 million of us), who are also in some kind of leadership position, what other lessons do you see that are applicable for both environments?

Shared with permission by Scott Edinger.  Originally published on  Scott Edinger is the founder of Edinger Consulting Group. He is an expert in helping organizations achieve measurable business results. Scott is a consultant, author, speaker and executive coach who has worked with some of the most prominent organizations in the world including AT&T, Harvard Business Publishing, Bank of America, Lenovo, Gannett and The Los Angeles Times.  Connect with Scott at    

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8 Nonprofit Resources to Help You Measure Impact

Ashley Pero Tips

Your organization does great work. You’re changing the world. But can you prove it? Measuring your program’s outcomes — the benefits or results your organization has on your constituents or participants — provides you measurable proof.  The ability to measure and show your impact is critical for fundraising. But finding nonprofit resources to help you demonstrate impact isn’t always easy.

So how do you determine your outcomes and indicators? How do you collect the data? What do you do with it once you have it?

Here are some great nonprofit resources on outcomes, evaluation and measuring impact to help you.

8 nonprofit resources to measure impact

Nonprofit Resources & Tools

Nonprofit Articles on Measuring Impact

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Last-Minute #GiveDayTampaBay Social Media Inspiration from Nonprofits #DoingItRight

Jen Dodd, Director of Education & Communications Stories

Give Day Tampa Bay is so close you can almost taste it, right? Or is that just a cold sweat? So much to do, so little time!!

Let’s all take a couple of deep breaths and gain some inspiration for our social media posts from a few nonprofits who are #doingitright.


So here, Alpha House is having a little fun with it and using a really cute image to grab your attention. Notice the image is directly related to their campaign (“honor your mom” is a nice tug at the heartstrings. Kudos!), and they’ve made excellent use of not only the #GiveDayTampaBay hashtag but also created their own hashtag for the campaign.


Community Food Pantry took full advantage of our Give Day Tampa Bay (GDTB) trainings, which were underwritten by the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay, by bringing the entire team to each one (Yep. We saw you there). Gold stars to these teacher’s pets for showcasing the No. 1 social media engagement tool: video. Nice call to action, too.


We can’t resist this two-fer because we LOVE the way The ARC Tampa Bay has used the GDTB logo in their photos and the clean way they included a (mini) story of impact, their logo, the event date, and the web address in one, strong visual element. We dig that #AchieveWithUs hashtag, too.


And this one from Quantum Leap Farm has us drooling (yes, we know it’s from last year’s campaign, but it’s still a #bestpractice, so we’re going to label it #FlashbackFriday). If you can get a celebrity to post your GDTB campaign on their feed, your reach could increase by a factor of 10. We’ll still call your attention to the very attractive infographic they created, and we’re willing to bet that they coached Chris on the content of the post. Make it easy for your friends and followers, no matter their star power: give them images and sample posts to make it quick and simple for them to support a cause they believe in.

Please check this out and pledge if you can! Quantum Leap Farm, Inc. HELPS OUR VETERANS! #GiveDayTampaBay starts at…

Posted by Chris Jericho on Monday, May 4, 2015


The Center for Great Apes gives us a super-simple checklist for a strong GDTB post:

Striking image, Give Day logo, your logo, hashtag, call to action, and link to the website. Voila!


Wondering how to get the word out about your GDTB campaign? Answered Prayers Cross can tell you: talk to everyone, everywhere. Got an event at your facility? Going off campus for a speaking engagement? Giving tours? Those folks are the proverbial captive audience. Come up with a compelling, short script about your GDTB campaign and how they can get involved. Deliver it often.

Such a wonderful turn out tonight! We're here telling everyone about Give Day! #givedaytampabay #blessed

Posted by Answered Prayers Project on Tuesday, April 5, 2016


Speaking of events, Mothers of Minors created a Facebook event to promote their GDTB campaign. So very easy for folks to share on your behalf and to “attend” to show their support.


Make it clear what your donor’s GDTB gift will do like the University Area CDC did with this fun photo and call to action. Who wouldn’t like the idea of giving a child a safe space to play? (Nice use of personal pronouns to address the donor, too.)


Here’s another great image from Animal Coalition of Tampa. Notice how many FUN images we’ve pointed out; they work, folks. Check out their use of hashtags, too. Judicious use of multiple hashtags puts your post in front of a broader audience with affinity for your cause.

Woohoo! It's #FunFriday What could me more fun than cuddling with a pot-bellied pig?! Pledge your support of ACT on…

Posted by Animal Coalition of Tampa on Friday, April 15, 2016


And it’s not too early to start thinking about how you’re going to thank your GDTB donors. This Center for Great Apes post is a good model: pick out an image, add a colored bar, your logo, and a placeholder for whatever your measure of success is, and you’ll be ready to fill in the blanks and post first thing on May 4th.

We’ll be keeping an eye out for all of your posts on May 3rd (and 4th) and can’t wait to celebrate #GiveDayTampaBay with you!

A BIG thank you goes out to everyone who donated yesterday for #GiveDayTampaBay! We were able to raise $13,675 for the apes!

Posted by Center for Great Apes on Wednesday, May 6, 2015