A highlight from Ep 133: Choosing the Right Nonprofit Business Model (with Rinku Sen)


Five. Oh one c. Three applications and the overwhelming majority of these applications sale through the paperwork may be a pain. But let's just say that. The united states government is not particularly selective. I found myself wondering if that was the right path for the folks who apply or just the obvious and then as they continue to wonder the question gets broader. Still this overall pass in the standard model. How's it holding up. Is that the right pass or do folks just do what others have done. You know the path your organization likely travelled this way an individual or a group of individuals found themselves fired up about something they saw gap. Todd crawford realized that there was no organization out there. Raising awareness of the symptoms of a brain aneurysm. Have there been one his wife. Lisa call grassi. Might be alive today. How others see a new approach to solving a societal problem. Like robin steinberg at bronx defenders. These folks were relentless and they brought people to the cause before they knew it. Perhaps folks were offering funding and this ignited the need for five. Oh one c. Three to accept the donations and grow the work. The work grows it gets visibility and poof. It's an institution a beast that needs to be fed if you will board members staff and the quest for funding. We do this because that is how we do it. And yet we're seeing other models different ones. The most visible maybe black lives matter but there are many lindsay. Hoffman from my team is part of a group that has organized via slack to support people during covid. It started as a small group in brooklyn of about twenty people. They wanted to help neighbors who could not get out during the pandemic. it's now over. Five thousand folks who have raised over one million dollars that's been passed through to over twenty two thousand households. I'm working with this organization. Oklahoma city called free. Mom hugs sarah cunningham. Deep christian faith led her to reject her gay son when he came out. Her journey brought her to acceptance during her first pride march. She made and wore a button. It said simply. Free mom hooks. She strolled through. She strolled through the parade and a young woman walked up to her and asked for hug a warm hug. And then this. I have not gotten a hug from my mom in four years and so it began if you viral social media posts and today over eighty thousand people from all over the country are hungry to get involved but the question is how to do what could it just be an organization that hugs lgbt people from non affirming households or does it have to be an organization at all. Maybe it's a movement of folks who self organize and make choices to hug literally or metaphorically however they choose we're working through this with them and hoping they will be open to considering different bottles to help in our work. I thought i should seek out some expertise on this topic. Tell me seeing through questions like is the current model working us. What other models are out there. How do they work. What are the pros and cons building institutions. Well today i found myself one hell of a good source. And then i realized that all of you would benefit from this expertise to so. I thought i'd have the conversation here on this podcast with that expert so you can hear a to greetings. Welcome to nonprofits her messy. I'm your host joan. Gary founder the nonprofit leadership lab where we help smaller nonprofits thrive. I'm also a strategic advisor for executive directors and boards of larger nonprofits. I'm a frequent keynote speaker. Blogger and an author on all things. Leadership and management learn. More at joan gary dot com. I'm a one with a mission to fuel. The leadership of the nonprofit sector my goal was each episode is to dig deep into an issue. I know that nonprofit leaders grappling with. I find just the right person to offer advice and insights. Today is no exception. Rinku sen is a writer. Social justice strategist. She is formerly the executive director of race forward and was publisher of their award. Winning news site color lines under her leadership race forward generated some of the most impactful racial justice successes of recent years including drop. The i word it compan- from media outlets to stop referring to immigrants as illegal resulting in the associated press usa today the l. a. times and many more outlets changing their practice she was also the architect of the shattered families report which identified the number of kids in foster care whose parents had been deported. Her books stir it up and the accidental. American sierra is a model of community organizing that integrates a political analysis of race gender class poverty sexuality and other systems as a consultant rinku has worked on narrative and political strategy with numerous organizations at foundations including policy link. The aclu and the nathan cummings foundation. She serves on numerous boards including the women's march where she co president and the foundation for national progress publisher of mother jones magazine. And i don't even think we've told folks what you do today so rinku. Thank you so much for joining us for helping me think through. I'm glad you're here and welcome. Thank you so much joe. It's a real thrill to talk with you today. So and well actually. You just listened to me for the last several minutes so the goal here is to get you talking so i re as i read your bio. I realized that we actually didn't talk about what you do today. So you wanna you wanna give folks sense of that. The new adventure. You're on now. Sure i in early december. I became the executive director of narrative initiative. Which is an organization that puts different kinds of creative people together to make interventions In the big stories we tell and live into so We do a lot of work with right now. The green new deal network to help them. Think through what what kinds of messages and frames they need to move out until the world that will build support for progressive policies and we We also provide a ghost writing service for grassroots organizations. That need help getting things written. So we're here to help. People change the big stories that shape so many of the institutions that in turn control our lives. What a what a fabulous organization and that is words words. Absolutely matter don't they. They do words matter and pictures matter to yes absolutely before we start a conversation about different models for having impact in the social sector. Let's start with the standard model that i described that we all know pretty well. Is it working. i mean goodness knows. There are a lot of them but the model has limitations right. Let's talk through those looking at the. Let's talk through those. Yeah i think it's the five. Oh one c. Three model that we're talking about and the most important thing to remember is that that is a legal taps designation It doesn't say anything about the purpose of the organization other

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