Thoughtful Non-Profit Leadership
Helping you make the most of your resources

I attended a rally on Juneteenth which was inspiring--among the many amazing speakers was a black man who is a public school teacher--in part, he encouraged us to Be Courageous. That has resonated with me since. This manifests in many ways--for me right now, it's speaking up on a nominations committee where too few candidates are people of color. I am often averse to "ruffling feathers" but I spoke up, suppressing my discomfort. That's what white privilege means to me right now. It's my job--to look around and join my white friends in talking through what that privilege looks like in our daily lives.

It's hard, it's painful, but I hope you'll join me.
Check out some of my current clients!
This isn't a short term problem...
As we enter the fourth month of Life with Covid, we are seeing more clearly that our nonprofit world will never be the same. The changes we are making should be considered long term, not temporary. I would be happy to help you think through operational and systems changes you may need to consider over the next year. If working remotely becomes a large percentage of your work, do you need to pay staff for internet and cell phone usage? Is Zoom the best meeting software? How do you manage people when you can't sit in a room with them? Though I started from finance, over the years, I have learned how critically important it is to map out all the pieces of the system that goes into making a nonprofit organization function. Let me put that experience to work with you and your organization.

My newest client is Amy Wilson Sheldon, who is launching Metrowest Readers Fest, grown out of Amy's Metrowest events called A Lifely Read (click on the link above to go to their website). As an avid reader, I'm excited to help them "become" an organization; we've filed for nonprofit status, created a Board and are now working on thinking through structures to help them move forward.

I've also been working with several clients to revise their Board financial reports to ensure that the right information is presented and clear. The key is to first ask: how do we want to use this information to help us move forward?

"Self-care" is both personal and structural
I want to share what I learned from consultant friends who have started a Facebook chat called Coffee Time with Master Minds. Their recent topic was Self Care. Our critical organizational resource is our staff. I urge you to think about "Structural Care". We ask so much of our staff, who are super dedicated to our missions, often to the point of burnout--and this pandemic has added immense pressure to an already challenging work. It is OUR responsibility as organization leaders to do whatever we can to avoid that burnout syndrome and to actively address care of our staff--we shouldn't put the added burden on staff to take care of themselves. Make staff wellness part of your organizational culture! Build in time for them to do what they need to do to recharge their batteries. If you have enough interest, for example, hire a yoga instructor to hold a staff class. If working from home makes it difficult to set limits on the work day, encourage them to break and take a walk (my personal recharge tool!). Build a toolbox of options and demonstrate to your staff how you value them by giving them time off.

If staff are regularly working 50 hours a week, consider why? Too much on their plate? Spinning their wheels? Do you need more staff, or less work? During my recent interim ED work, I mapped the needs of the organization and the skills and responsibilities of the staff; the resulting Venn diagram helped the Board see that a new staff position was needed, and the result was that the staff felt appreciated, felt they were heard, and job responsibilities became much better defined. Can I work with you on a similar exercise for your organization?
Ellen Sturgis
12 Canterbury Road Stow MA 01775
Call Us At: 978-460-0883