The Best Websites in the Industry

I love branding.  I love messaging.  I love talking points.  From time to time, we will feature what we believe are great websites that perfectly communicate the mission and vision of nonprofits in microenterprise and small business development.  My criteria? Whether my parents can get the central message and be able to repeat it within 60 seconds. Not a low bar, in my experience.

Check out Centro Community Partners in Oakland, CA.  It mission is to build thriving communities by providing underserved, low-income entrepreneurs with entrepreneurship education, one-on-one business advising, mentoring and access to capital.  The site is easy to navigate and does a masterful job in explaining its purpose and services to a wide audience.  The photos are top notch and video is not a chore to get through. I think one area for improvement is in illustrating impact.  How do they measure success?  What are the tangible outcomes of the businesses they support? I have no doubt they will and I am looking forward to sharing those results with you.

Microenterprise and Microgreens!

Growing Microenterprise: “Vertical Farm”  Start-Ups Flourish  

NYT Microgreens for MicroenterpriseCheck out this New York Times article on how growing microgreens in a spare room in a Baltimore row house has led to a growing microenterprise!! “Consumer demand for locally grown food and the decreased price and improved efficiency of LED lighting are driving the creation of more so-called vertical farm start-ups,” said Chris Higgins, editor of Urban Ag News.


Nonprofit Organizational Culture

Got Good Culture?

nonprofit organizational cultureWe are getting requests for advice on how to address issues related to nonprofit organizational culture. Organizational culture is a system of shared assumptions, values, and beliefs, which governs how people behave in organizations. These shared values have a strong influence on the people in the organization and dictate how they dress, act, and perform their jobs. Think about culture as the personality of your nonprofit. It defines the environment in which employees work. It is shown in:                                            


(1) the ways the organization conducts its business, treats its employees, customers, and the wider community,
(2) the extent to which freedom is allowed in decision making, developing new ideas, and personal expression,
(3) how power and information flow through its hierarchy, and
(4) how committed employees are towards collective objectives.

But what if those values have not been articulated, practiced, and periodically evaluated?  The result is often staff dissatisfaction, low morale and turnover. I really like this article from Nonprofit Quarterly that references the Principles & Practices for Nonprofit Excellence, by the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits. Check out the 19 practices designed to set out an explicit set of expectations for leadership from board members, managers, and volunteers and encourage broad participation in important discussions and decision-making. How many of these are embedded of your organization’s culture?