Inspiration from Women Leaders

July peoplefund

PeopleFund’s July PeopleSpring event featured: Tam Hawkins of The Greater Austin Black Chamber of Commerce, Christine Vu of Raymond James & Associates, Chris Mascaro of Untamed & Creative, and was moderated by Kelly Jedele of Let Kelly.

Austin has an energetic small business community – and that energy was on display at the July 26th edition of PeopleSpring – Ladies, Lunch and Learn. This networking, leadership, and women’s luncheon event was presented by Texas’ PeopleFund – a nonprofit providing business loans and assistance to those with otherwise limited access to such resources – and was sponsored by Capital One.

The panel discussion was moderated by Kelly Jedele of Let Kelly and featured Tam Hawkins of The Greater Austin Black Chamber of Commerce,  Chris Mascaro of Untamed & Creative, and Christine Vu of Raymond James & Associates.

The audience heard many great pearls of wisdom, including:

  • No matter how much one has accomplished, there is always something left to learn;
  • Do things that build your confidence;
  • Model yourself on the best in the industry and then improve upon that;
  • Seek out your tribe to uplift and support you;
  • Enjoy the journey!

PeopleFund will be providing even more opportunities for learning and inspiration for small businesses in August with Innovation Week.

 

 

Image: Erler

 

 

Advertisements

Entrepreneurs: Let’s Talk About Work

work conf

Panel and Moderator speaking about Stress Management on July 14, 2018: Jane Hervey, Ruby Ku, Stephanie Scherzer, Maria Oliveira

Who wants to talk about work on a Saturday? When you gather 300 creatives and entrepreneurs at a conference presented by #bossbabesATX and powered by the Texas MSTC and Texas MBA Programs, it turns out to be a great way to spend a weekend.

July’s “work: a pop-up conference for creatives and entrepreneurs” at The University of Texas’ Rowling Hall offered many great chances to learn and connect. Below is just a smattering of some of the take-aways from the day:

  • If you don’t set a tempo for yourself, then other people set it for you.
  • Invest in yourself.
  • Manage your flow of energy.
  • Do not mix your business finances with your personal finances.
  • True teams come together to get a task done.

Don’t worry if you missed the Summer event, there will be another inspiring edition in February 2019  presented by #bossbabesATX, a nonprofit that amplifies and connects women and nonbinary creatives, entrepreneurs and organizers.

 

Image: Erler

 

 

Women Entrepreneurs: Sharing Wisdom

PeopleSpring2018

The wisdom of experience is priceless. PeopleFund – a nonprofit that provides small business loans and other business assistance – celebrated the wisdom of Austin business women at the “PeopleSpring, Ladies, Lunch & Learn” networking and leadership event in Austin on May 31st.

The focus of the luncheon event was a panel discussion and Q & A with three leaders in the business community: Deborah Whitby, Austin Plumbery Owner; Meme Styles, MEASURE Founder & President; and Quita Culpepper, KVUE Anchor. Some of the key pieces of wisdom the panel shared with the audience of women entrepreneurs included:

  • Spend time on setting business processes and procedures early;
  • When you are struggling for balance, don’t forget self-care;
  • Remember that your community is a source of energy;
  • Own your destiny.

Thank you panelists, PeopleFund and event sponsor American Bank for a wonderful afternoon and for providing an empowering space for female entrepreneurs.

 

Image: Erler

Are your donations wasted?

You have made cash donations to charities. You have probably thought about how those nonprofits are spending the dollars you give. But you trust them to use your donation wisely (otherwise you probably would not have given).

Landscape

In your mind, you might picture the organization using your money to buy cans of soup or bandages or other items to help those in need. How would you feel if your donation was used to buy advertising for the charity, to pay for the nonprofit’s fundraising activities or for other ‘overhead’ costs? Would you feel your donation was wasted?

Overhead Costs

There are two conflicting opinions on the question of overhead. Briefly summarized, they are:

  1. The less a charity spends on overhead costs, the better
  2. A nonprofit’s effectiveness at solving problems is more important than the amount it spends on overhead.

Charity Watchdogs

There are a number of charity watchdog groups that help people decide how to donate their money. Charity Watch is one such group that takes the first position (the less a charity spends on overhead costs, the better). In fact, a nonprofit’s spending is a big factor in the rating Charity Watch gives. If a charity spends 36% or more on overhead costs, that organization will receive an efficiency grade of C+ or lower (all the way down to an F).

Charity Defenders

A number of people and organizations are starting to speak out on the other side of the “overhead” question. The founder of the AIDS Ride and self-described “Charity Defender” Dan Pallotta gave a TED Talk (that garnered over 3.5 million online views) supporting the second opinion (A nonprofit’s effectiveness at solving social problems is more important than the amount it spends on overhead).

In this TED Talk (titled “The way we think about charity is dead wrong”) Pallotta says “…the next time you’re looking at a charity, don’t ask about the rate of their overhead. Ask about the scale of their dreams, their Apple-, Google-, Amazon-scale dreams, how they measure their progress toward those dreams, and what resources they need to make them come true, regardless of what the overhead is.”

Define “a wasted donation”

This is a fascinating debate, and I encourage you to visit Charity Watch’s web site to see how they calculate their ratings and I encourage you to take a look at Dan Pallotta’s TED Talk to hear more about his experiences and thoughts about overhead. Taking a look at these positions may even change your definition of a “wasted donation.”

14797260413_879388a8cb_m

My position on this is closer to Pallotta’s than to Charity Watch’s. Although it makes my stomach hurt to watch reports on 60 Minutes about charities that abuse the trust of donors by pocketing donations for the personal benefit of the administrators instead of serving those in need, I think that a Charity Watch-type black and white grading system is not the solution. How a nonprofit achieves its mission is a nuanced road – and as Pallotta points out, there are some “unwritten” rules that need to be rethought. I believe, for example, that one “rule” is that grant funds should not be given for overhead costs. As a grant writer, I have seen this rule backfire. I have seen, too often, a nonprofit decision-maker hope that creating a new (and unneeded) program will somehow obtain a sliver of funding for vital overhead costs. Trying to “game” the system in this way demonstrates that there are many “unwritten” standards constraining the work of nonprofit organizations. And if a nonprofit is constrained, how can it achieve its mission?

Questions: What goes into your decision to make a donation? Have you consulted Charity Watchdog ratings? If so, what did you think?

Images: U.S. National Archives, Internet Archive Book Image

Ever heard of a Nonprofit Geek?

Many of you know computer geeks or math geeks. But have you ever met a nonprofit geek?

“Just what do you mean by a ‘nonprofit geek’?”

Picture the computer geeks you know – what are they like? They could spend hours thinking about computers, right? The math geeks could tell you the difference between the K Theory and the Algebraic K Theory. (I agree: snore).

They know their stuff

The bottom line is, just like the other geeks you know, nonprofit geeks know their stuff – about nonprofit organizations.

Geek Images

And what other images does the word geek bring up for you? Are you picturing a smooth Casanova used car salesperson-type. No way!

Not a wolf in sheep’s clothing

wolfinsheepsclothing

A geek is someone who is most interested in facts, truth and accuracy – and being approachable about it. Once you got to know those geeks in high school, they turned out to be nice, welcoming and loyal, didn’t they? Plus, if you invited them to a party they would help you with your homework too.

Like trusted scouts

So a nonprofit geek is an approachable expert about the community sector – someone who wants to be helpful.

Scouts

Image Credits: J.W. Barber (first image); Adolph B. Rice Studio (second image).

Blog questions: what do you think of when you hear “nonprofit geek?” Do you imagine someone helpful and knowledgeable? Have you ever known a nonprofit geek? And if so, what were they like?