Maya Angelou was born Marguerite Johnson on April 4, 1928 in St. Louis, Missouri. When she was three years old, her parents divorced, and she and her brother went to live with their grandmother in Stamps, Arkansas. When Angelou was just eight years old, she was raped by her mother’s boyfriend. When exposing the truth of what happened led to the brutal murder of her assailant, the young Angelou—terrified by the power of her own tongue—did not speak another word for the next five years. From this bout of silence emerged a woman who danced, sang, recorded poetry, and aspired to be in professional theater. Her plans were put on hold at age 16, however, when she became pregnant. Angelou moved to San Diego where she worked as a waitress in a nightclub, got mixed up with drugs and prostitution, and danced in a strip club. Ironically, it was the strip club that led to her being discovered as an artistic powerhouse. Today, she remains one of America’s leading contemporary poets—having achieved much in the fields of acting, writing, theater and as a member of the Civil Rights Movement. Despite her iniquitous and turbulent youth, Maya Angelou provided a positive message of hope, humanity and love. And before you start searching for her multi-volume autobiography to order on Amazon, check out these five nonprofit headlines from the news this week.
When it comes to making management decisions within a nonprofit, the values of the organization should be considered. While this may sound like a no-brainer to many of us in the nonprofit sector, a great deal of recent news coverage illustrates the contrary. According to the Nonprofit Quarterly, when a nonprofit mission does not guide internal practices in the same way it governs impact on the community, a misalignment occurs that could be detrimental to an organization. Want to ensure your nonprofit’s publicly stated values align with private managerial decisions? Click on the link above to discover real-world examples of alignment and misalignment of nonprofit values.
Thanks to the vast reach of social media and news headlines, the #MeToo movement has become a world-wide phenomenon. Highlighting systematic issues of harassment and sexism in nearly every major industry—including the nonprofit sector, the movement has left many employers wondering how to deal with accusations, should they arise. If you are a nonprofit leader faced with claims of harassment or abuse in the workplace, it is pivotal that the situation be handled with the utmost grace and dignity. Check out the link above from Forbes for six suggested steps when addressing a #MeToo incident.
Rola Hallam was a practicing doctor in the UK in 2011 when war broke out in her home country of Syria. Over the course of four years, Hallam volunteered with several Syrian-based organizations to help set up hospitals and deliver medical aid. Inspired by her on-the-ground experience in Syria, Hallam launched CanDo in 2016—a platform that enables the public to directly fund humanitarian projects carrying out work within their own communities. To read more about the TED Fellow and how her platform is reconfiguring humanitarian funding, follow the link from Fast Company above.
The ever-growing needs that nonprofits strive to meet are enormous. These vast, unmet needs—when paired with the effect of economies of scale—make expansion of social impact increasingly important. Many nonprofits, despite best efforts to expand, remain small, and others manage to grow in size but fail to grow in impact. According to the Stanford Social Innovation Review, the nonprofits that do succeed in expanding their impact are those that are scale-ready and meet the seven essential elements of nonprofit performance. Has your nonprofit earned the right to scale? Find out by clicking on the article linked above.
Nonprofit leaders hoping to strike a healthy balance of staffing and support within their organization must approach change in a way that diffuses potentially volatile situations and allows for progress. If issues that arise in the nonprofit workplace are recognized as change agents, leaders can capitalize on opportunities for growth. According to Forbes, it is not enough to point out problems—leaders must also focus on proper engagement within the workplace culture as well as crafting clear solutions. Is your organization running into walls when it comes to tackling issues head-on? Click the link above to learn three tools for diffusing issues and turning them into wins.
That’s it for this week’s Friday Five! We’re spending the rest of the afternoon captivated by an old, beat-up copy of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. See you next week!