We Are Bigger Than Ourselves


We Are Bigger Than Ourselves

Summer is winding down and fall is just around the corner. Where did the summer go? In just a blink of an eye we are into August! Typically, it’s time for school supply shopping if you have children or maybe one last quick trip to the beach or the lakefront. Yet, this summer and the start of the school year is very different because of the global health crisis. Beaches are closed, folks aren’t really traveling and communities are grappling with the decision about how to educate our children. Cities around the globe are working to figure out how to keep citizens safe and healthy. In the midst of our new normal for now, many of us in development shops are also gearing up to plan fall events.

The good news in planning our fall events is that we have some playbooks at the ready. Many organizations in the spring had to quickly pivot and change the format of their events. We’ve seen everything from virtual walks, galas and more. I encourage you as you plan your fall events to tune in to what others have done and find out what worked and what didn’t. One of my clients is gearing up for a fall event – a full gala with a live and silent auction, a paddle raise and more! As we began planning, we reached out to other colleagues at other not for profits to learn from them. We’ve attended a variety of virtual events. We’ve also tuned in to webinars and taken advantage of some free offerings from some online bidding companies.

Here’s the big takeaway. People are willing to share and be helpful in providing advice. Everyone we’ve talked to wants to help us be successful. And, we are learning so many new things! In this new virtual world, we are learning how to produce videos and becoming experts at Zoom and YouTube. While things in the world right now feel stressful and worrisome, we’ve experienced a sense of “we are all in this together” with our non-profit partners. It’s about sharing resources and communicating more than ever before. Because at the end of the day, we are all working to support missions that make the world a better place. So, dive into that fall event. Learn new things! Share what you’ve learned. When we do this, we are all a part of something much bigger than ourselves.

by: Susanna Decker, Senior Consultant HPS Chicago

We Belong to One Another


We Belong to One Another

 “If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.”                –Mother Theresa

 Today, as we witness the chaos and violence throughout our country in response to the tragic recent violent deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, at the hands of white officers, I’ve been thinking a lot about Mother Theresa’s statement. At its heart, this is basic social contract theory — that as humans we have a responsibility to care for one another.

As nonprofit organizations, I believe we inherently subscribe to the social contract. We’ve committed ourselves professionally to working every day to fulfill missions that serve others.

Yet, like many, I keep asking myself, is that enough? What more can I – must I – do to make our world a just place for all humans – black, brown, white, lesbian, gay, transgender, immigrant, refugee (the list goes on)? In that spirit, I am sharing this list of things we can all commit to doing to fight racism in our country, courtesy of the National Network to End Domestic Violence. Please click on the link for detailed how-tos: https://nnedv.org/latest_update/8-everyday-ways-to-fight-racism/.

  • Learn to recognize and understand your own privilege.
  • Examine your own biases and consider where they have originated.
  • Validate the experiences and feelings of people of color.
  • Challenge the “colorblind” ideology.
  • Call out racist “jokes” or statements.
  • Find out how your company or school works to expand opportunities for people of color.
  • Be thoughtful with your finances.
  • Adopt and intersectional approach in all aspects of your life.

Thank you for all you do every day to make our world more just. Please share any additional resources or ideas you have in the comments section.

by: Molly Galo, Senior Consultant HPS Chicago

And Now For Some Good News


And Now For Some Good News

Listening to a broadcast of the evening news these days can be a daunting experience.  Is the nation really more divided than ever, or does it just seem that way?  Is the world in hopeless peril, or will human ingenuity rise to the challenges that face us as a planet?  Are news stories more shocking than in prior eras, or are we desensitized because everything comes at us so fast and in such gruesome detail?  Listening to a news broadcast is tough!

Local and national news broadcasts almost always carry one “good news” story—usually toward the end of the broadcast—that stands in stark contrast to all the grim news that precedes it.  The focus of this one story is about something really good happening in the world.  It is likely a story about people helping people, overcoming differences, circumventing the bureaucratic solutions to offer direct service, and about a collective group from a community coming together to help an individual or small subset of the community.  Almost always, these human interest stories are about a non-profit organization doing its wondrous work.

Non-profit organizations are more important today than ever before, because they shine the light of goodness in what otherwise can seem like a really bleak world. I would like to see a news broadcast that turns the formula on its head and presents the NPO as the lead story.  Instead of putting the story at the end of the broadcast as an antidote to all the evil that came before it,  let this story serve as a reminder that the overwhelming efforts of the majority of people are focused on family, and neighborhood, and community and on acts that unite us rather than divide us.

All this matters because those of us who lead these non-profit organizations are at the vanguard of righteous action in the world.  To paraphrase a movie title we are the “Guardians of Good in the Galaxy.”  If your work seems hard today (which it is), the hours long (which they are), the mission challenging (which it must be), the opportunities unending (also true!), then celebrate with me, because you are part of something wondrous, and powerful and great, and that is the community of non-profit organizations that are absolutely essential to our future and well-being as a society.  And that is not fake news!

by: Steven Murphy, Ed.D., Senior Advisor, HPS Chicago