Nonprofit Optimist

By Molly MacCready - Nonprofit Founder, Executive Director, Podcast Host, Non-

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The Nonprofit Optimist podcast showcases positive change agents and talks through lessons that their small nonprofits have learned. With interviews of executive directors, founders, board members and staff leaders, we share practical advice based on real experiences working in the non-profit sector. Since most nonprofit professionals wear many hats, this is a great opportunity to learn how to grow your small nonprofit without needing to re-invent the wheel!

Episode Date
NPO 042: Branding for Nonprofits with Stakeholder Input (Julia Gatten, AfricAid) - Part 2 of 2

Part 2 of 2!

Julia Gatten is the Communications Director for AfricAid and she shares some of the biggest lessons she's learned about how to tell your story to donors. In this conversation, we talk about branding, messaging, and logos. It was important to AfricAid to involve stakeholders in that process from both Tanzania and America, and it's great to hear their process.  You can check out the outline of topics discussed here: NPO 042.


Nonprofit Optimist information:


AfricAid information:


Jan 15, 2020
NPO 041: Blogs, Email, and Videos for Nonprofits (Julia Gatten, AfricAid) - Part 1 of 2

Julia Gatten is the Communications Director for AfricAid and she shares some of the biggest lessons she's learned about how to tell your story to donors. In this conversation, we talk about how AfricAid puts together their weekly blogs through contributions of staff in Tanzania and America, and how they engage a volunteer in a substantial role. We also discuss the role of email in their communication strategy, as well as videos. You can check out the outline of topics discussed here: NPO 041.


Nonprofit Optimist information:


AfricAid information:


Check back for part two of my interview with Julia where we'll talk about branding, messaging, and how to involve stakeholders in that process.

Aug 09, 2019
NPO 040: Developing your Major Gifts Program (Sean MacCready and Stephenie Lazarus, Horizons for Youth)

Sean MacCready and Stephenie Lazarus from Horizons for Youth share the lessons they have learned about partnering with donors, creating a major giving program, and participating in their first Giving Tuesday. You can check out the outline of topics discussed here: NPO 040.


Nonprofit Optimist information:


Horizons for Youth information:


Additional Links from our Conversation:

Feb 28, 2019
NPO 039: Creating Space for Local Voices (Dr. Susan Blaustein, WomenStrong International)

Dr. Susan Blaustein of WomenStrong International shares the lessons she's learned about community and international development through her work. You can check out the outline of topics discussed here: NPO 039. 


Nonprofit Optimist information:


WomenStrong International information:

Dec 18, 2018
NPO 038: Announcement & Shout Outs

Super quick episode sharing a fun announcement (picture here!) and a few shout outs.






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Back to regular interview-style episodes on Tuesday! Get excited!!!

Dec 17, 2018
NPO 037: Utilizing Networks and Connections (Rose Hart, Appalachian Outreach Inc.)

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Today's Guest: Rose Hart
        As a lifelong resident of Marshall County, WV, was part of the first graduating class of John Marshall High School in 1969. She spent 30 years of her career working for the United States Postal Service as a letter carrier, before co-founding Appalachian Outreach, Inc. in 2002. She now serves as the Executive Director of AOI. In 2012, Rose also completed her certification in Nonprofit Management through WVU. 
        In addition to her work with Appalachian Outreach, Inc., Rose is an active member in her local community and church. She's currently involved with the local Long Term Recovery Committee, Local Emergency Planning Committee and WV VOAD (West Virginia Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster). She's also a member of St. Jude Parish in Glen Dale WV, where she is the RCIA director, Eucharistic Minister, and Lector, and she is a member of God’s Children of Love prayer group in Moundsville, WV. She completed the Diaconate / Pastoral Ministry program of the Diocese of Wheeling – Charleston in 1987 with a certificate in adult formation.

Nonprofit Spotlight: Appalachian Outreach, Inc.
      Guided by the Gospel of Jesus Christ and inspired by the Holy Spirit, the mission of Appalachian Outreach is to help relieve the burden of poverty and the loss of dignity suffered by the people of Appalachia who, through no fault of their own, struggle to meet the basic needs of daily life.
      They continually look for contacts in counties where accessibility and opportunity are limited and other charitable agencies are lacking or struggle to meet local need. They also look for contacts locally that will support the mission of Appalachian Outreach, therefore building a network where the dignity of all is respected and the love of God is proclaimed through prayer, word, and deed.

Lessons Learned:
In our conversation, Rose shares her experience of leading Appalachian Outreach, Inc. and how it originally got started. Some of the key lessons she has learned through this work are outlined below: 

  1. When getting started:
    1. Realized applying for permits would be time and resource intensive. Instead, asked the mayors of each surrounding county if they could solicit their residents. Led to not only a "yes" in response to that question, but also some really positive public relations opportunities for the mayors and for leadership boards within the community.
    2. "We're too successful to stop now."
  2. Need to build relationships with local contacts.
    1. Created an advisory board of someone who knows each area well.
    2. In order to build trust, you have to go where people are. "Sit on the porches and listen."
    3. Partner with existing organizations!
  3. Funding from/through the Government
    1. NIPS - Neighborhood Investment Program
      1. Allows for donations to be made as a tax credit to the donor.
    2. Rose and her co-founder approached small county commissioners and talked to them about the good they were providing for the county. In return, the commissioners provided some compensation for transportation of the goods.
  4. Income generating opporunities:
    1. Run a store house where they sell building materials at a discounted rate and they only had to pay for transportation.
      1. Mountain Resource
      2. Sharing of Good Network
    2. Clothing donations to World Mission Clothing

Find Appalachian Outreach, Inc. online:

Aug 23, 2018
NPO 036: Maximizing Capacity- partnerships, interns, and professional development (Byron Sigcho-Lopez, Pilsen Alliance)

My guest for today’s episode is Byron Sigcho, the executive director of Pilsen Alliance, here in Chicago. Pilsen Alliance is a social justice organization committed to developing grassroots leadership in Pilsen and neighboring working class, immigrant communities in Chicago’s Lower West Side. They work for quality public education, affordable housing, government accountability and healthy communities. To accomplish this, they use innovative community education tools and programs, direct action organizing campaigns and advocacy initiatives. Their goal is to reflect the popular education philosophy of building social consciousness for personal and social collective transformation.

In our conversation, Byron and I discuss how they tackle such a large mission with a small staff and how they leverage partnerships to increase capacity. We also discuss the importance of addressing issues both large and small in the community, and how he as an executive director approaches professional development opportunities for their staff and board.


Show Notes 


Contact me:


Aug 06, 2018
NPO 035: Free Online Resources (Molly MacCready, CROSO)


  1. Molly will be at Podcast Movement conference next week!
    1. If you'll be there- email me:
    2. Come to our Nonprofit Meetup!
    3. Attend the panel where Molly and other nonprofit rockstars will be speaking! 
  2. Molly's husband (Sean MacCready) has a great podcast you should check out-- The Philanthropy Podcast
  3. Review the Nonprofit Optimist on iTunes.

Free Online Resources:


All show notes available at

Jul 20, 2018
NPO 034: Growing your Funding Base (Stacy Horst, Erin's Hope for Friends)

Today’s guest is Stacy Horst, one of the founders of Erin’s Hope for Friends. Erin’s Hope for Friends believes that extending opportunities to form friendships to kids with High Functioning Autism Spectrum and Asperger’s can change their lives. In our conversation, Stacy shares how they formed their ideas for E’s Club and the different ways they’ve sought funding and support. So many small nonprofit leaders do not come into these roles with professional fundraising experience, and Stacy shares really openly what has been successful for them. I think there’s a lot to learn here, so I hope you enjoy the episode!


Show notes:


Consultation offer:

Jun 01, 2018
NPO 033: Event Planning for Small Nonprofits (Carrie Collins-Fadell, Brain Injury Alliance of Arizona)

Carrie Collins-Fadell is the executive director of the Brain Injury Alliance of Arizona and is today's guest on the Nonprofit Optimist! Our conversation is dedicated to fundraising through events and Carrie has great ideas to share on this! Carrie has been able to plan and execute several large events for their organization and this year, they offered a run/walk for the first time. This interview occurred at the beginning of March and since then, Carrie's event happened and they surpassed their goals, so be sure to listen to her tips!

Show notes: Nonprofit Optimist

Recommend future guests!

Sign up for a 30 minute consult!

Apr 23, 2018
NPO 032: Seeing Patients as Master Teachers (Shay Beider, Integrative Touch for Kids)

My guest today is Shay Beider, the founder and executive director of Integrative Touch for Kids. Shay has been a pioneer in the field of integrative medicine for the past 17 years. Integrative Touch for Kids is a nonprofit organization whose purpose is to enhance well being, minimize suffering and facilitate healing for children with chronic, acute and life limiting illnesses. In our conversation, Shay and I discuss their business model, using volunteers not only for programming, but also for fundraising, and most fundamentally - always seeing the patients as the master teachers. Shay is such a passionate advocate for the works she does, and I think you’ll find there are many lessons to be learned from her approach that can apply to your small nonprofit.


New opportunity: 30 minute consultation-


Show notes for today's episode: Nonprofit Optimist

Mar 19, 2018
NPO 031: The Power of Trust, Accountability and Incentives (Helene Dudley, TCP Global)

Helene Dudley is today's guest and she helped establish The Colombia Project in 2000, a zero-overhead, sustainable micro-loan program. This program evolved to include TCP Global in 2014 and now supports loan programs in 7 countries, including one with former Florida foster care youth in Miami. Helene served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Colombia and Slovakia and is a member of the Board Emeritus of the National Peace Corps Association. In our conversation, Helene and I discuss her philosophy behind this work, some of the lessons they’ve learned about trust, accountability, incentives and resilience.


To see the show notes from today's conversation, visit:

Mar 08, 2018
NPO 030: Taking Multiple Approaches and Sharing Lessons (Liz Ryan, Youth First Initiative)

Liz Ryan, President and CEO of Youth First Initiative, is the guest on today's show. Youth First is a national advocacy campaign to end the incarceration of youth by closing youth prisons and investing in community-based alternatives to incarceration and programs for youth. In this podcast episode, Liz tells host (Molly MacCready) how they measure progress on their big bold goal, how Youth First facilitates sharing knowledge and lessons learned, and how each state’s approach will be different, but that engaging people from multiple angles is always a best practice.


Show notes:

Jan 30, 2018
NPO 029: Email Communication and Maximizing Time (John Zimmerman, Casting for Hope)

My guest today is John Zimmerman, co-founder of Casting for Hope and also serves as the board chair and CEO. Casting for Hope is a nonprofit that focuses on attending to the financial, emotional and spiritual needs of women living with ovarian and gynecological cancers in western North Carolina. In our conversation, John and I discuss the systems he’s put into place to maximize his all-volunteer team, as well as his own time. He shares how he manages his email communication, the importance of having time face-to-face with people and how he carves out time for idea meetings with his board members.


Show notes:

Audible Trial sign up:

30 minute nonprofit podcast consultation with Molly:

Jan 04, 2018
NPO 028: Planning an International Trip for your Nonprofit (Margy and Randy Roberts, CROSO)

Margy Roberts has been a board member for CROSO (Child Restoration Outreach Support Organization) for the past 6 years. She and her husband Randy have been involved in CROSO as volunteers and donors since CROSO began in 2007. Last month, Margy, Randy and Molly MacCready (host of this podcast and executive director of CROSO) traveled to Uganda to visit the CROSO Scholars and their partners. In this episode, they discuss highlights from their trip and then their thoughts on how best to plan an international trip for a nonprofit.


To see the show notes from this episode, visit:  

Dec 27, 2017
NPO 027: Getting Started, Fundraising and Collaboration (Carin Willis, Bridge for Pelvic Pain)

Carin Willis is the guest for today's episode and serves as the founder and executive director of Bridge for Pelvic Pain. Based in Colorado Spring, the Bridge for Pelvic Pains's mission is to connect the global community of chronic pelvic, sexual and genital pain patients to resources, education and hope through an integrative approach. In our conversation, we discuss how she founded this nonprofit, and the importance of planning for a sustainable future. We talk about being part of existing groups that are connected to the mission of your work and how that can help lead you to new donors. We also talk about how hard this work can be and what Carin and I have found to help us.

Episode sponsor:

To see the show notes for today's episode:

Dec 07, 2017
NPO 026: Mentors, Managing Time and Networking (Megan Stith, United Way of Central Kentucky)

Today's guest is Megan Stith, President and CEO of United Way of Central Kentucky. We discuss the importance and values of mentors, recommendations for how to manage time (including some scheduling apps) and how to build strong partnerships with businesses and corporations through networking. This episode has lots of tangible suggestions for how to become more effective and efficient in your work and I'd highly recommend listening!


To see the show notes, visit:

Oct 30, 2017
NPO 025: Creating your Support Network (Jen Cole, Clean Fairfax)

Today's Guest: Jennifer Cole has been the Executive Director for Clean Fairfax Council since January 2009. The mission of Clean Fairfax is to encourage environmental stewardship and urban sustainability in Fairfax County, Virginia through education, programming, and community involvement. Clean Fairfax seeks to reduce littering and to encourage recycling, reusing, and reducing consumption, promote community action by supporting clean-ups and adopt-a-spots and serve as a clearing house for environmental information in Fairfax County.

In our conversation, Jen shared about transition, building a community of support and finding ways to navigate the often tricky dynamics of partnership when people are not mindful of your mission.


For more information, visit our show notes:

Oct 23, 2017
NPO 024: Connecting Your Nonprofit to Funding (Beth Rosenberg, Tech Kids Unlimited)

Beth Rosenberg founded Tech Kids Unlimited, a not-for-profit technology-based educational organization for kids ages 7 to 19 with special needs. In our conversation, she discusses how she initially connected with donors and how she keeps finding new connections whether on a train or through LinkedIn. This is another great episode of the Nonprofit Optimist, so be sure to listen in!


To see show notes for today's episode visit:

Oct 12, 2017
NPO 023: Feelings and Social Media (Jaz Limos, Saints of Steel)

Today's guest is Jaz Limos is the Founder and CEO of Saints of Steel. San Francisco native, Jaz, spent her career in Silicon Valley teaching leaders how to strategically grow their performance and build successful B2B teams. Seeing the rise of homelessness and lack of resources for underserved communities in the Bay Area, she decided to flip her life upside down and dedicate her career towards building ecosystems that offered innovative solutions for people in need. She founded Saints of Steel, a nonprofit that helps people become the best versions of themselves through the human connection of a haircut. Saints of Steel curates environments customized to support communities in need, organizing partnerships that take each haircut to a life changing place. Currently based in San Francisco and Los Angeles, Saints of Steel's next step is to go mobile, so they'll be fundraising for a van soon!


Show notes can be found at

Sep 21, 2017
NPO 022: Values in Programming and Employment Structure (Anne Taube, CYO Camp)

Anne Taube is the Assistant Camp Director for CYO Camp in Brown County, IN. In this episode, she shares how they have been intentional in making sure the core values they espouse for camp permeates every aspect of their organization, not just the camper's experience, but the structure of camp itself. We discuss dynamic pricing models, scholarships for campers and creating employment paths that campers of all abilities can participate in.


To see the shownotes for this episode, visit

Sep 13, 2017
Nonprofit Optimist - Episode 021: Power Inequities in Nonprofits and Community Building; Lessons learned from the University of Dayton

In preparation for receiving the Joe Belle Memorial Young Alumni Award from the University of Dayton, host Molly MacCready takes this opportunity to reflect on the lessons she learned at UD. In light of our current society, themes of power inequities emerged and Molly shares wisdom from the Marianists for how nonprofits might build stronger communities.


This episode is much shorter than our typical episode, but we'll return to our normal content next week.


For show notes, please visit:

Sep 07, 2017
Nonprofit Optimist - Episode 020: Challenging Conventional Nonprofit Notions (Anoop Jain, Sanitation and Health Rights in India)

Anoop Jain is the co-founder and U.S. director of Sanitation and Health Rights in India (SHRI). SHRI was founded in 2011 to alleviate India's sanitation crisis. As an organization, SHRI believes that all humans deserve to live a life dignified by improved access to toilets. Anoop's experience differs from most guests on the Nonprofit optimist. In this episode, the moments that highlight that most are when he discusses  volunteers, sustainability, purpose of board members and even how he views his own role in SHRI. I think you'll appreciate this episode for the questions it will make you ask and the reflection it will encourage.


To see the show notes, visit:

Aug 30, 2017
Nonprofit Optimist - Ep 019: Bringing People Together and Raising Funds (Mark Mullins, Just Live Inc.)

Today, Molly is joined by Mark Mullins, board president of Just Live Inc. Just Live inc is a nonprofit out of southern Wisconsin that focuses on suicide prevention and promotes education awareness in their local communities. In our conversation today, Mark shares about their largest fundraiser each year- a music festival- and also the opportunities for collaboration.


To see the show notes, visit

Aug 22, 2017
Nonprofit Optimist - Episode 018: Office Culture and Management Style (Ann Rhomberg, Solidarity Bridge)

After working with Solidarity Bridge for the past ten years, executive director, Ann Rhomberg, shares how she manages her staff of eight. From clear expectations and weekly meetings to the importance of spending time together as a staff, Ann and Molly discuss what has made the Solidarity Bridge staff work so well together. If you currently are in a management role, or you aspire to be some day, this is a great episode for you!


To see the show notes, visit

Aug 16, 2017
Nonprofit Optimist - Episode 017: Increasing Equity and Avoiding the "Shoulds" (Kim Popa, Pones)

Kim Popa, co-founder and executive director of Pones, talks about how her nonprofit uses dance to create powerful change. Beginning with her own story of founding Pones, Kim discusses the lessons she learned along the way... including the need to avoid the "shoulds" that might lead you away from your mission and organizational heart. In staying true to Pones, they have made intentional strides with their board of directors to reflect the company of dancers and instructors and to create space for dialogue among dancers and board members. This episode is full of creative ideas and perspectives on how to approach nonprofit management that I think could be useful to all nonprofit professionals.


For more information and to see the show notes, visit:

Aug 09, 2017
Nonprofit Optimist - Episode 016: Cultural Context and Questions to Ask Before getting Started (Machelle Norling, Hope Now)

Machelle Norling, founder and executive director of Hope Now shares helpful suggestions about cultural context and how to work in communities where you're not local. Machelle also shares a great list of questions that anyone thinking about starting a nonprofit should be asking. To learn more about the work of Hope Now, visit their website:

gmailTo see the show notes, visit:

Aug 01, 2017
Nonprofit Optimist - Episode 015: Board Expectations and Creating Functioning Committees (Molly MacCready, CROSO)

In this week's episode, Molly veers from the typical interview format and shares from her own experience of leading a nonprofit how they have navigated creating and implementing expectations for the board of directors and organizing functional committees. Molly also touches on how to help transition board members off the board, which can be tricky in small nonprofits.

Jul 28, 2017
Nonprofit Optimist - Episode 014: Power of Storytelling and Advocacy Work (Nancy Cowles, Kids In Danger)

Executive director, Nancy Cowles, shares her experiences with disseminated information and changing practices around child safety products. In this episode she shares the power of storytelling, the importance of coalition building and how to function on a limited budget. This is definitely an episode that can benefit all small nonprofits!


For shownotes, please visit:

Jul 17, 2017
Nonprofit Optimist - Episode 013: Infusing each Donor Interaction with your Mission (Lee Ann Eiland, Playworks Illinois)

Lee Ann Eiland, the Development Manager for Playworks Illinois, shares how Playworks integrates their mission into their work culture as well as their interaction with each donor. Lee Ann and I also discuss some of the lessons she’s learned along the way about who donors are and the different approaches to reach each specifically. From ideas for unique fundraisers to different approaches to direct marketing campaigns, this is an episode of the Nonprofit Optimist that you won't want to miss! 

You can find links, comments and photos about all of these topics in our show notes-


Jul 10, 2017
Nonprofit Optimist - Episode 012: A Bold Vision and Nonprofit Websites (Adam Walker, 48in48)

Adam Walker, co-founder of nonprofit 48in48, shares their bold vision and the ways in which 48in48 are changing the landscape of nonprofit websites. If you are interested in learning how to scale your organization or how to improve your marketing, this is a great episode for you! Also, there are free tools shared in the episode that you won't want to miss!


Show notes can be found at

Jul 05, 2017
Nonprofit Optimist - Episode 011: Becoming an Expert and Tools for Community (Monika Jones, Brain Recovery Project)

Monika Jones serves as Chief Executive Officer and Board Chair of The Brain Recovery Project and is a co-founder of the organization. Through this work, Monika has learned many lessons including the importance of knowing your stuff, where to find funding (and when to know your limitations), how to build community, and she has some helpful suggestions for tools for productivity.


To see the show notes, visit:

Jun 25, 2017
NPO 010: Online Resources and International Partnerships (Chris Stout, Center for Global Initiatives)

Founding Director, Dr. Chris Stout, shares his insights from ten years of leading the Center for Global Initiatives. After receiving many requests for involvement that spread their all-volunteer board too thin, the board re-evaluated. Recognizing their strengths, the Center for Global Initiatives was able to build out their website to share resources and tools that would be useful for other nonprofits. These tools include their quarterly newsletter, their Facebook group and the excel sheet that Chris explained in detail. The excel sheet in particular is an incredible treasure trove of information that CGI has gathered over the years regarding which websites are best for different fundraising efforts, etc.

Chris also spoke to the importance of creating long-standing relationships with local communities rather than "parachuting" in or assuming that we know best on how to address an issue. Sometimes this requires really listening and understanding what gaps in services actually exist. Always, it includes recognizing that we're a guest in their home. That sense of deference and respect for the local culture and professionals there was evident in Chris' attitude.


For more information, please visit the shownotes:

Jun 21, 2017
NPO 009: Strategic Planning And Board Membership (Jake Teitgen, Bethlehem Farm)

Today's Guest: Jake Teitgen
Jake is a native Hoosier who lives in Noblesville, Indiana. Jake lives with three strong-willed and wonderful women: his wife, Alicen, and daughters, Julia & Genevieve. He graduated from Notre Dame in 2008 with a degree in marketing before starting work at Our Lady of Grace, a Catholic church in Noblesville. Jake coordinates youth ministry, young adult ministry, and communications at Our Lady of Grace. He also serves on the Board of Directors at Bethlehem Farm and has been inviting others to join him on adventures to this community in West Virginia since 2005.

Nonprofit Spotlight: Bethlehem Farm
Bethlehem Farm is a Catholic Community in Appalachia that transforms lives through service with the local community and the teaching of sustainable practices. They invite volunteers to join them in living the Gospel cornerstones of service, prayer, simplicity and community.

Story of Good: Michael and Everett
Michael, a high school student, was leading two weeks of service trips at Bethlehem Farm. A project that was assigned to him was to help build an extension for a man named Everett. Everett was not a very social person, but by the second week, Michael and Everett had formed an unlikely friendship that Jake was able to witness while he was doing service there.

Lessons Learned:
Jake shared so many wonderful nuggets of information about small nonprofit formation. Here are some of the highlights:
- The importance of strategic planning (or "master planning" as he refers to it). He talked about who was involved, how their facilitator helped and how it has led to their organization being able to stay on mission.
- Bethlehem Farm has an interesting base requirement for all board members- they must love the mission of Bethlehem Farm. As such, they meet three times a year for a full weekend at the Farm and then have an additional conference call in the remaining quarter of the year.
- The Summer Servant Program is a great way to tap into volunteer (or small stipend) leaders who offer an amazing value to Bethlehem Farm. They've become an integral support role for the summer programs and a neat opportunity to get involved for an intense but short period of time.

Next Interview: Dr. Chris Stout, Founding Director of the Center for Global Initiatives


Never miss an episode of the Nonprofit Optimist podcast by clicking the links below to subscribe!

Jun 12, 2017
NPO 008: Engaging your Board of Directors (Liz Mills, Carlson Community Services)

Liz Mills has been the Executive Director of Carlson Community Services for the past 10 years. CCS provides after school programming, a community garden and a fine arts concert series. In this episode, Liz shares the lessons she has learned about how to actively engage her board members, how to navigate tough conversations and also shares a great idea about "office hours." For nonprofits who have been around for a little while, this interview will be very valuable!


For the show notes, please visit:

Jun 05, 2017
NPO 007: Considerations for Starting a Nonprofit (Jennifer Smith, Black Butterfly Chicago)

Jennifer Smith, founder of Black Butterfly Chicago, shares her experience of starting a nonprofit-- what to expect, who to involve and how to keep perspective. This is a great interview for people interested in starting nonprofits or in the beginning stages because there's lots of advice that you'll appreciate and/or relate to. That said, for those of you who have been working in nonprofits for a while, I think you will appreciate this one too. It's always helpful to hear a fresh take on something that is old hat to you. You never know what ideas it'll spark or remind you of from your earlier days.


You can find the show notes at

May 29, 2017
NPO 006 - How to be a Valuable Board Member (Dr. Emily Richardson, Nanubhai Education Foundation)

Speaking from the viewpoint of an active board member, Dr. Emily Richardson shares what makes the Nanubhai Education Foundation board function so well. Their board members and staff are committed to staying connected to their mission and the diverse perspectives present on their board make their discussion robust. Nanubhai changed their program offerings in the past five years and it was neat to hear how Emily felt integral to that process. 


To see the show notes, visit:

May 23, 2017
NPO 005: Building a Young Professionals Board (Sharon Holdvogt, NPH USA)

 As the chair of a relatively new Young Professionals Board, Sharon Holdvogt gave great insight into what she has learned in managing, recruiting and building this board. This is a great episode for anyone seriously considering adding a young professionals (or auxillary/associates board) to their support structure. Also, if you are passionate about a cause and want to consider forming or joining an associates board, this is a great listen!


The show notes for this episode can be found at:

May 15, 2017
NPO 004: Collaboration and Gathering Information (Laura Ng, Traffick Free)

Laura Ng, executive director of Traffick Free, shares great tips on how to get started with a nonprofit organization. From the importance of gathering information to what kinds of boards to put in place, Laura gives encouragement, realistic advice and funny anecdotes along the way! She shares how collaboration, partnership and humility have played a large role in giving their organization credibility in the community. Laura also talks about the role of filling existing gaps rather than duplicating services and the importance of giving choices to the people with whom she works.


To see the show notes, visit

May 09, 2017
NPO 003: Working in an Office of One (Jamelyn Lederhouse, Global Glimpse)

As the only person on the Global Glimpse staff in the Chicago area, Jamelyn has found creative ways to build community and optimize her work. Intentional choices on where and how to work have led to a more efficient and fulfilling working experience. Chock full of practical suggestions that can help people in any size office, this is an interview you won't want to miss!


Show notes can be found at 

May 02, 2017
NPO 002: Finding volunteers, navigating transitions & board structure

In this interview with Anna Mayer, Executive Director of Taller de José, the Nonprofit Optimist explores how to increase your staff without increasing your budget, how to support your organization through transitions in leadership and how to include the voice of all stakeholders when structuring your boards. This is a great conversation and the first interview to be featured on the Nonprofit Optimist.


To see the shownotes, visit

Apr 26, 2017
NPO 001 - Introduction to the Nonprofit Optimist

Welcome to the Nonprofit Optimist podcast! In this first episode, I introduce the three goals for this podcast:

  1. Encourage the development of small organizations by sharing lessons learned.
  2. Increase the awareness of good that is occurring in the world.
  3. Provide a platform to showcase awesome nonprofits.

The nonprofit featured in this episode is CROSO (Child Restoration Outreach Support Organization). In addition to hosting this podcast, I am the founder and executive director of CROSO. CROSO is a nonprofit that provides college scholarships for former street children in Uganda. To learn more about how (or why) this nonprofit got started and how we've slowly grown as an organization, listen to the episode!

Show notes can be found at

Apr 24, 2017