Wendy Davis, former Texas State Senator and Director of Deeds Not Words, has no shortage motivation or drive. Her organization, Deeds Not Words serves to help young women become engaged in the political process. This year, they worked with a group of high school students in Austin and Dallas to pass a bill requiring preventative education related to sex and human trafficking in schools. Armed with guidance from Deeds Not Words and statistical information from Allies Against Slavery, the students were involved in every step of the legislative process.
I’m often asked for business book recommendations. While I love many of the more traditional business books, I’ve actually found reading in other genres to be more helpful than your typical Difficult Conversations, 7 Habits of Effective people, or even Shoe Dog, the newest worthy member of the canon.
Everyday we get to meet with individuals, organizations, and companies with ideas that could change the world, and we want to tell their stories. We decided that a podcast was the best way to distribute these stories, so we dove in head first. Here are a few things we've learned along the way.
“Hustle” is on the wall for a reason. It’s our mantra. It doesn’t mean frantic or busy, it means a purposefully lean approach to creating something out of nothing. It’s the art of pushing balls downhill or putting yourself in a place to be the beneficiary of serendipity. Hustling is a practice or approach to your work, it’s not a discrete thing you do - it’s a way of living and working.
Earlier this month, I hopped over to Philadelphia to participate in the city’s inaugural Give Back Hack, a 3 day hack event from Columbus, Ohio that focuses on creating and launching ideas for social impact. I joined a local team to create a new business called Cali Box, an on demand box experience that empowers young girls to create and foster healthy relationships with their bodies through their first bra. It was a rewarding experience and I loved being able to mentor the idea owner to make her first pitch.
250+ of Austin philanthropic leaders attended last weekend’s The Bolder Board Training with Dan Pallotta. The energy that bubbled from the attendees was inspiring and over and over again, we kept hearing people say “I wish the whole board was here.”
We are constantly asking organizations to measure more metrics, collect more data and set more goals, but are we measuring the right things? You’ve probably heard a lot about measuring outcomes and not outputs; what’s the difference and why is it important?
Don’t get me wrong. Timing issues are real, but it’s the job of the CFO, Treasurer and Finance committee to make sure that the reporting takes those issues into account and presents an easy to digest, visual report that correctly relays the health of the organization to the Board of Directors.
From overseeing a complex investment group that puts money into both for-profit startups and nonprofits to serving on multiple boards and commissions to spending time relaxing at Barton Springs, Dan Graham certainly stays busy (and you'll find him juggling coffee meetings all over town). Here are his tips for effective time management.
I recently took a three day trip to San Antonio where we are working to launch Philanthropitch. The event will be held on February 27th, 2018. I met with so many great people and organizations and had so many great takeaways.
The Bolder Board Training was full of bold dreams and actionable ideas. Thank you to every director, board member, organization, small business, staff member, etc. that took the time to join Dan Pallotta, the Notley team and I Live Here I Give Here on Saturday, October 7th.
This kind of analysis is hard and it requires a lot of thought and up front work, and sometimes even rejection of needy kids from the organization’s program in order to create a solid control group. Decisions like that can be hard, but are likely to pay off with solid data for future programs and funders.
"Drop the notion that board members are just check writers. They are often your biggest advocates, and at the very least and in the best cases, are business advisers, marketing experts and fundraisers."
One of the toughest things for an organization to balance is: Impact vs Scale vs Time Frame.
This is similar to the choice companies have between investing in advertising (dollars today) and R&D (dollars tomorrow). There are often easy grant or direct service and impact decisions an organization could pay for, whether you cause is feeding the homeless, providing grants to musicians, or housing for refugees. The harder decision comes when you decide you want to invest in infrastructure, planning, or scaling efforts.
Glasshouse Policy works as a forum in the public to bring policy closer to the people. Traditionally, policy makers will attempt to sell solutions to the public, most of which are difficult to understand. Glasshouse Policy takes a more innovative approach by creating easy to understand games and resources that bring people closer to the issues.
I get a lot of questions about tax deductibility surrounding donations and events. There’s specifically a lot of confusion around businesses donating vs individuals. It’s certainly not straightforward and so I thought I’d break it out briefly although I recommended talking to a tax attorney for ‘legitimate’ advice.
I was having lunch last week with my good friend and founder of Moonshots Capital, Craig Cummings, discussing the veteran entrepreneurial ecosystem and the need for more collaboration and cohesiveness.
Yesterday I hosted a fireside chat for nonprofit executives with my good friend, Blake Absher, market President for BB&T. We talked about the right way (and the wrong way!) to ask for donations, sponsorships and corporate partnerships. Check out the Facebook Live video.
Yesterday we had an intro call with Give Back Hack founder, Suzy Bureau. Needless to say, we are pumped! Suzy has created a model that is a variation on the widespread and popular Startup Weekend event for social enterprises, and we want to bring it to Austin.
The Bolder Board Training liberates Nonprofit Organizations and Social Impact companies from the cultural and financial constraints they feel and empowers them to discover new paths to reach their goals.