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Take a 3 Minute Vacation Right Now

Take a 3-Minute Vacation Right Now: A Different Kind of Fact

Some days it feels like the nonprofit sector emits a constant drumbeat of dismaying statistics about how awful the world is. And then, because we are always told we have to be positive, we add in a little story about how one or two people are overcoming the odds. Unintentionally, this juxtaposition creates an impression of the nonprofit sector where we are helping five people do better while 87% of their population is in terrible shape.

So here's a little, temporary antidote: some facts that will make you happy.

Is it April 1 Yet? Blue Avocado #86

At Blue Avocado, it's April 1 and we're thinking about changing our name: help us decide! One possibility is the Blue Avocado Foundation, which would allow us to receive the sucking-up of hundreds of nonprofits every day. We would declare ourselves in strategic planning mode for three years, during which we could debate "outcome" vs. "impact," and "marginalized" vs. "disadvantaged." (As a regular nonprofit, we could never have considered suspending operations for long periods of time in order to plan.)

Alternatively, we're considering Church of the Blue Avocado, which would mean we can skip Form 990, report nothing to anyone about anything, and still keep our tax-exempt status. And design some gorgeous choir robes, too. Whaddya think, readers?

There's other great news in April for nonprofits. Read on. --Jan Masaoka

Obama Administration Hires Senior Official Not from the Gates Foundation
Submitted by Michael Edwards

In a move that sent shock waves

through Washington and the Gates Foundation, President Obama has appointed 55-year-old Dolores Pinata to head a new blue-ribbon Commission on the Future of Philanthropy. Pinata, a 30-year veteran of community organizing in Arizona, was selected ahead of the favorite for the post, 19-year-old Josh McKinsey, an intern at the Gates Foundation.

New Law To Require Nonprofit CEOs to Carry Handguns
Submitted by Penny Eardley, Executive Director, San Francisco Public Health Foundation

Both houses of Congress passed the Charity Required Arms Protection (CRAP) Act, legislation which preserves nonprofit organizations' 501(c)3 tax-exempt status only as long as the CEO and all board members of the charity agree to carry handguns at all times. "Arming our charitable executives will go a long way to ensuring safety in our nation's workplace," said the bill's sponsor, Citizens for CRAP, a bipartisan special interest group.

Flexible Straws for the Sick Sucks
Submitted by Lee Kaplan, Founder and Executive Director, ViewPoint Peer Counseling, Cameron Park, California

Flexible Straws for the Sick, a New York-based nonprofit has a serious problem. When the organization gave 2,000 flexible straws to people with the flu, they intended to serve all in need. The supply of chicken soup did not last. Now there are over 500 sick people with just flexible straws for relief.

Nonprofits Begin "Too Small to Fail" Movement
Submitted by Dan Lozier, Pastor, Mayflower, Sioux City, Iowa

Nonprofit advocates picketed the White House on Monday with 3x5 cards saying "Too Little to Fail". "Yes, there are big nonprofits as well as small ones," declared nonprofit leader Shelby Long. "We are too little to fail, especially the children's charities," added the ghost of Danny Thomas.

Conflict Resolution Nonprofit Finds New Revenue Stream
Sumibtted by Leanne Jaskowiak, Peacemaker Resources, Bemidji, Minnesota

The staff of Peacemaker Resources will be fanning out on April 1, 2013 to create conflicts in retail stores, restaurants, school offices, law enforcement agencies and elsewhere. All requests for mediation arising from conflicts created on April 1 will receive a 35% discount from the Peacemaker Resources.

Pope-A-Palooza and Tom's Shoes
Submitted by Sara Sternberger, Executive Director, Bridging, Twin Cities, Minnesota

During the month of April, for every pair of red loafers purchased from Tom's Shoes, another pair will be donated to the new Pope. "This is just another way that Pope Francis can reach out to the masses while supporting a good cause," said a Vatican spokesperson.

Supreme Court Bows to Facebook

"I was convinced by all those red equal signs on Facebook," said swing voter Supreme Court Justice Kennedy. "How could I vote against same-sex marriage given those?" he asked. The Court appeared deadlocked, though, on whether the national dance should be Gangnam Style or Harlem Shake.

***********

Congratulations to Blue Avocado readers for submitting items for this special April Fool's Day issue: Penny Eardley, Cathy Enright, Michael Edwards, Leslie Garvin, Leanne Jaskowiak, Lee Kaplan, Dan Lozier, Sarah Martinez-Helfman and Sara Sternberger. Your books are on the way!

Who picked the winners, anyway? Thanks to our judges Siobhan Kelley of the Nonprofit Insurance Alliance Group (and part of the Ask Rita team), Blue Avocado humor columnist Vu Le, and Blue Avocado project manager Susan Sanow. They know April Fool's Day funny when they see it!

NEXT ISSUE: Our next "regular" issue comes out next week . . . keep your eye out for What Your Nonprofit Needs to Know About Healthcare Reform, Have Your Cake and Restrict It Too, Matrix Map for Financial Sustainability, and more. JM

At Blue Avocado, it's April 1 and we're thinking about changing our name: help us decide! One possibility is the Blue Avocado Foundation, which would allow us to receive the sucking-up of hundreds of nonprofits every day. We would declare ourselves in strategic planning mode for three years, during which we could debate "outcome" vs. "impact," and "marginalized" vs. "disadvantaged." (As a regular nonprofit, we could never have considered suspending operations for long periods of time in order to plan.)

Alternatively, we're considering Church of the Blue Avocado, which would mean we can skip Form 990, report nothing to anyone about anything, and still keep our tax-exempt status. And design some gorgeous choir robes, too. Whaddya think, readers?

There's other great news in April for nonprofits. Read on. --Jan Masaoka

Obama Administration Hires Senior Official Not from the Gates Foundation
Submitted by Michael Edwards

In a move that sent shock waves through Washington and the Gates Foundation, President Obama has appointed 55-year-old Dolores Pinata to head a new blue-ribbon Commission on the Future of Philanthropy. Pinata, a 30-year veteran of community organizing in Arizona, was selected ahead of the favorite for the post, 19-year-old Josh McKinsey, an intern at the Gates Foundation.

New Law To Require Nonprofit CEOs to Carry Handguns
Submitted by Penny Eardley, Executive Director, San Francisco Public Health Foundation

Both houses of Congress passed the Charity Required Arms Protection (CRAP) Act, legislation which preserves nonprofit organizations' 501(c)3 tax-exempt status only as long as the CEO and all board members of the charity agree to carry handguns at all times. "Arming our charitable executives will go a long way to ensuring safety in our nation's workplace," said the bill's sponsors, Citizens for CRAP, a bipartisan special interest group.

Flexible Straws for the Sick Sucks
Submitted by Lee Kaplan, Founder and Executive Director, ViewPoint Peer Counseling, Cameron Park, California

Flexible Straws for the Sick, a New York-based nonprofit, has a serious problem. When the organization gave 2,000 flexible straws to people with the flu, they intended to serve all in need. The supply of chicken soup did not last. Now there are over 500 sick people with just flexible straws for relief.

Nonprofits Begin "Too Small to Fail" Movement
Submitted by Dan Lozier, Pastor, Mayflower, Sioux City, Iowa

Nonprofit advocates picketed the White House on Monday with 3x5 cards saying "Too Little to Fail". "Yes, there are big nonprofits as well as small ones," declared nonprofit leader Shelby Long. "We are too little to fail, especially the children's charities," added the ghost of Danny Thomas.

Conflict Resolution Nonprofit Finds New Revenue Stream
Sumibtted by Leanne Jaskowiak, Peacemaker Resources, Bemidji, Minnesota

The staff of Peacemaker Resources will be fanning out on April 1, 2013 to create conflicts in retail stores, restaurants, school offices, law enforcement agencies and elsewhere. All requests for mediation arising from conflicts created on April 1 will receive a 35% discount from the Peacemaker Resources.

Pope-A-Palooza and Tom's Shoes
Submitted by Sara Sternberger, Executive Director, Bridging, Twin Cities, Minnesota

During the month of April, for every pair of red loafers purchased from Tom's Shoes, another pair will be donated to the new Pope. "This is just another way that Pope Francis can reach out to the masses while supporting a good cause," said a Vatican spokesperson.

Supreme Court bows to Facebook

"I was convinced by all those red equal signs on Facebook," said swing voter Supreme Court Justice Kennedy. "How could I vote against same-sex marriage given those?" he asked. The Court appeared deadlocked, though, on whether the national dance should be Gangnam Style or Harlem Shake.

***********

Congratulations to Blue Avocado readers for submitting the winning items for this special April Fool's Day issue: Penny Eardley, Cathy Enright, Michael Edwards, Leslie Garvin, Leanne Jaskowiak, Lee Kaplan, Dan Lozier, Sarah Martinez-Helfman and Sara Sternberger. Your books are on the way! And for the dozens of others who submitted . . . better luck next contest.

Who picked the winners, anyway? Thanks to our judges Siobhan Kelley of the Nonprofit Insurance Alliance Group (and part of the Ask Rita team), Blue Avocado humor columnist Vu Le and Blue Avocado project manager Susan Sanow. They know April Fool's Day funny when they see it!

NEXT ISSUE: Our next "regular" issue comes out next week . . . keep your eye out for What Your Nonprofit Needs to Know About Healthcare Reform, Have Your Cake and Restrict It Too, Matrix Map for Financial Sustainability, and more. JM

Take a 3-Minute Vacation to an Oscar-Nominated Film Starring Avocados

Has anyone else seen an avocado in an Oscar nominated film this year?

It's not too often we at Blue Avocado take a strong stand on who should win a Best Film Oscar, but we are rooting for for an Academy Award 2013 Best Animated Film (Short) nominee. For your consideration: "Fresh Guacamole."

This one minute 45 seconds has to be the tastiest film ever. Watch it twice for a full 3-minute vacation.

The Founding Fathers Write a Grant Proposal

"Just look at this second sentence!" groaned Samuel Adams. "'We hold these truths to be self-evident . .' This flies in the face of 'evidence-based practice'! We'll never get funded!"

Another delegate had a different complaint: "This mission statement is way too long!" he wailed. "Mr. Jefferson, no one will ever read this 'Declaration of Independence' of yours."

In the meantime, George Washington had been working up a budget for the revolutionary war (earlier called the innovative war). His initial figures . . .

Take a 3-Minute Vacation with a Root Beer Float Party

"You look happy," said Liz to Jack on 30 Rock recently. "Did you just have a root beer float?"

Thrill your office this end-of-summer. Go get vanilla ice cream and root beer (straws nice but not necessary). Announce a 3:30 pm root beer float party. At 3:25 make the root beer floats. And be happy.

And then join Snoopy for 3 minutes while he gets drunk on root beer floats to big band music and does his Happy Dance . . .

Take a 3-Minute Vacation to a Country Picnic

Wouldn't it be nice to be under a blue sky (instead of fluorescent lights), on a picnic mat (instead of in your cubicle) and eating fresh cooked corn on the cob (instead of a stale granola bar)?

You can be! Bring in two fresh ears of corn and cook them in your microwave at work. Give one to a co-worker. Put a screensaver of blue sky on your computer and sit on the floor.

Or at least do the corn. Really. It's amazingly good. Click here for the 39-second instructions.

Vote with Your Mission Campaign in California

We like the new campaign to get 100% of nonprofit staff and volunteers to vote: the Vote with Your Mission campaign at the California Association of Nonprofits. After all, if 100% of the people who work and volunteer for the arts voted, we'd have better arts policies. If 100% of the people who work and volunteer against domestic violence voted, we'd have better domestic violence policies.

More than 100 nonprofits have already signed on in the first three weeks of the campaign. To sign on, a nonprofit agrees to do two items from a list of six. Example: "If you have a document such as 'Board Member Responsibilities,' add to it: 'All board members will vote in every election while they are on the board.'"

If you're a California nonprofit, sign on here. For everyone: remember that 13 million Americans work in nonprofits. Shouldn't we all be voting with our missions?

3-Minute Vacation: Bring Your Local Pub to You!

April is a very competitive month. The NCAA basketball tournament (and all of the office pools that come along with it) has just wrapped up, baseball season has begun, NHL hockey playoffs are in full swing, and the NBA basketball post-season is right around the corner. So let's bring a competition out of the pubs and into your office with a nice game of office darts.

To get started, you'll just need some common items from your desk or office supply room: push-pin tacks, rubber bands, sticky notes, tape, and paperclips. To learn how to fashion these items into darts, click here.

For the record, we never encourage violence in the workplace. No throwing the darts at each other. Nor do we encourage throwing darts at pictures of media folks, rival sports teams, politicians, or funders. Here are a few dartboard images to use.

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