Image from  Musique dans le noir , an interactive exhibit by Jean-Robert Sedano and Solveig de Ory.

Image from Musique dans le noir, an interactive exhibit by Jean-Robert Sedano and Solveig de Ory.

Today is August 26. The next Friday Five will be in September, which, if we stopped to think about how fast time was moving, would be terrifying. But we don’t have to think about that yet.     

The them of Today’s Friday Five is  communication: good communication (1), inadequate communication (2), learning to communicate (3), failing to communicate (4), and miscommunication (5).

1) Our first story is an excellent example of out-of-the-box marketing… and also truth in advertising. The Humane Society of Silicon Valley takes an unusual approach to promote its dog Eddie the Terrible for adoption. One hysterically blunt quote from the post reads: “Want your kids to grow up with a full complement of fingers and toes? Not the dog for you.” Old organizations may be able to learn some new tricks from this post. Not only did Eddie get adopted, but the post itself went viral. Find out more about Eddie the Terrible:

2) The 1023-EZ form can be useful and provides an affordable option for small nonprofits. It’s made life easier for a number of our clients. But is it possible the 1023-EZ is too easy? The San Francisco-based Foundation Center’s blog asks the tough questions, pointing out that an organization using the 1023-EZ doesn’t even have to file any supporting evidence. What are the other concerns? Check out the Foundation Center’s writeup for details:

3) Daniela Papi-Thornton  is the deputy director of the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship at Oxford’s Saïd Business School, and she’s just released a major report entitledTackling Heropreneurship.” What’s heropreneurship? Basically, it’s the misguided idea that a social entrepreneur can jump in and solve a social problem without having experienced it or, at the bare minimum, taken the time to truly educate him/herself on the problem. So how can an individual or organization avoid heropreneurship? Writing for the Stanford Social Innovation Review, Ms. Papi-Thornton sets us straight:

4) Nonprofit Quarterly featured this story out of Pittsburgh. Three Rivers Center for Independent Living, a federally funded nonprofit in Pennsylvania that provides funding to disabled people, just sent out letters informing its clients it would be closed for business as of September 8 and that they’d have to seek services elsewhere. When a crisis hits, the best thing an organization can do is ask for help—it’s vital for an organization to reach out to all its networks when trouble comes calling. The worst response is to pretend that everything’s fine. Unfortunately, it appears that’s exactly what Three Rivers did. NPQ’s overview has the gory details on what went wrong:

5) Missouri is having a bad day. Via Josh Marshall’s Talking Points Memo, we get a lesson in the importance of precision in legal drafting. The Missouri Supreme Court handed down a decision stating that stealing is no longer a felony. Apparently when the Missouri legislature amended its criminal code in 2002, the legislature defined “stealing” in a way that contradicts a pre-existing clause in the criminal code.[1]

Pay attention to clauses. Pay attention to definitions. And if you happen to work in government for the other 49 states, don’t let this happen to you:

That is our Friday Five. Tune in next Friday for our picks for the most helpful and/or entertaining items from the nonprofit world. If you want to communicate with us about anything, will do the trick. See you next week!

[1] As of January 1, 2017, the error will be fixed. In the meantime, a lot of convicted criminals are appealing their sentences.