We're Just Souls Whose Intentions are Good . . . editor notes issue #87

I'm just a soul whose intentions are good
Oh Lord, please don't let me be misunderstood!
(see music video here)

Like a mirage, we in the nonprofit community keep seeing a vision where everyone understand nonprofits. We think: if they only understood everything that we do, they would fund us, donate to us, appreciate us, respect us. We want not only to do good work, but to be recognized for it.

After all, we're human. This mirage beckons to many sectors: farmers think that if people only understood how important farming is, pro-agriculture policies would pass and we wouldn't complain about the price of peaches. Restaurants think that if people only understood how many jobs restaurants create, restaurants would be less regulated. Scientists think that if people only understood how much training and discipline their work requires, they would get paid more than bankers.

In short, we all want to be understood, and in a complex society none of us can expect ever to be understood. We ultimately hurt ourselves when -- in efforts to combat stereotypes -- we overemphasize professionalism and neglect to discuss volunteerism, and when we let those chips on our shoulders show.

When agribusiness speaks to Congress, they proudly conjure up the image of the family farm. Paradoxically, it is the nonprofit sector that is comprised of family farms -- small nonprofits -- yet we keep trying to portray ourselves as a gigantic industry with huge companies. Let's argue for the importance of a healthy, brilliantly tumultuous ecology in the nonprofit sector, and embrace the small nonprofits as residing at the heart of our community.

* If you are a nonprofit CFO, accountant, board treasurer or otherwise responsible for nonprofit finances, please take the American Nonprofits/Blue Avocado survey on nonprofit finance professionals! Click here.

* With 735 readers signed up for last week's Nonprofit Sustainability webinar, we're pleased that this issue has a summary "How to Create a Matrix Map" article from the book. We've also got HR advice on Obamacare, advice for executive directors who want to keep their boards under their thumbs, and more. Oh, and isn't spring wonderful? --Jan Masaoka

Comments (8)

  • Anonymous

    i love Blue Avocado! i want to remember to tell you every time.

    Apr 16, 2013
  • Ok you have made my day, my year! Thank you so much on behalf of myself, Susan Sanow and all the others who work on Blue Avocado.

    Apr 17, 2013
  • Anonymous

    We should also strive to NOT run ourselves like a business, but like a WELL MANAGED nonprofit, too.

    Apr 16, 2013
  • I've found your articles helpful, insightful and creative. Thanks and, yes, spring in wonderful.

    Apr 16, 2013
  • Great issue...as always! Love me my avocados--Blue and green!

    Apr 17, 2013
  • Anonymous

    I did not receive my April issue of Blue avocado and I so enjoy it. Please send

    Apr 30, 2013
  • You can always find the current issue of Blue Avocado at www.blueavocado.org.

    Also , be sure to send me your e-mail address and I can confirm it is current: susan@blueavocado.org

    Apr 30, 2013
  • Anonymous

    You have the monopoly on useful information-aren't monoplies illegal? ;)

    May 09, 2013

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