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Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Not For Profit Outlook: Pinching, Stretching, Tightening Belts

The non-profit sector employs about 10% of the U.S. workforce and accounts for about 5% of our GDP (or at least it did until the recession hit hard). Taken as a single economy, it would be roughly the world's 7th largest. To be blunt, as goes the non-profit sector, so goes the economy as a whole.

I am heartened that organizations like Wingspan are looking to be innovative with their fundraising appeals in order to survive (full disclosure: I was in charge of their fundraising over the summer as an interim consultant, but no longer have any formal relationship with the organization). I also appreciate that Tohono Chul has had to make some very difficult staffing decisions to meet budget.

Unfortunately, non-profit organizations tend to be no strangers to functioning in crisis mode because funding is often tenuous. I try to coach non-profit leadership to try and see beyond the short term crises and think about long-term sustainability of programs and services. There may be a budget deficit today, but how will cutting a program or professional development or operating hours impact your ability to fulfill your mission in the long term? What is your competitive advantage and how can you maximize your position in the market?

Please give as generously as you can to the non-profit(s) of your choice before Thursday. They need our support now more than ever.
About Economy
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Friday, August 22, 2008

please take note

An open letter to my past, current, and potential clients:

I am deeply grateful for your trust and business over the past year. It has been a year of exceptional professional growth and opportunity.

After careful and difficult deliberations, I have decided it is in my best interests to make some changes to my current business model.

First and foremost, thanks to the horrific Bush-McCain economy, I can no longer afford to offer any of my services pro-bono, unless I sit on your board of directors or receive some tangible non-monetary benefit of like value. That means no more advisory committees, special event committees, brain-picking meetings over iced chai, or phone/e-mail consultations UNLESS the meeting or consultation could lead to a paying job for me.

The other major change is that I will no longer be accepting individual graphic design projects. There are other local designers who specialize in these kinds of projects and who enjoy them. They are simply not lucrative
enough for me on the scale that I currently engage in them.

These were not easy decisions for me to reach. But I have recently realized just how much my generosity of time and spirit has been taken advantage of by groups and individuals who expect my volunteer services but will not pay for me to provide those services. So unless and until local non-profit organizations come to their senses and accept that this cash cow will no longer provide his milk for free, they will have to do without my particular dairy products.

As a reminder, my specialties include communications planning, junior staff leadership development, fundraising and development planning and implementation, systems development, and strategic planning. My hourly rates are far more affordable than most other consultants in the Arizona non-profit sector, and I produce high quality work. References are available upon request.

Thank you for your understanding and I look forward to truly mutually-beneficial working relationships in the future.

Warm regards,
Michael Mandel

Saturday, July 12, 2008

at the learning annex

So I'm still working on that post about my trip.

In the meantime, I've become obsessed with Facebook (find me if you know me and we can be friends). This video clip will offer but one of many reasons why Facebook is OK, but that other site owned by the devil is not:

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Friday, July 04, 2008

independence day

I'll be posting about my trip to New York shortly, now that all my photos and videos are uploaded. Until then, enjoy the foundation of our Republic and the reason we celebrate today:
IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

Monday, June 02, 2008

catsitter needed

As many of you already know, I'm making a triumphant return trip to New York at the end of June for Pride and, hopefully, some job interviews.

In my zealous rush to book my flights before JetBlue jacked up the prices AGAIN, I forgot about Leif. With Hillary in Europe and Brandon in New York, I'm without one of my regular catsitters.

If there are any faithful readers who live or work around the east side (Pima/Wilmot area), and are willing to come over every day for a week to give Leif some food and attention, please e-mail me.

He really is a darling man-pussy, and I'd be happy to make a modest but reasonable contribution to your gas fund. He doesn't generally bite the hand that feeds him, though some initial hissing may be in order. He'll get over that quick when he's starved for affection.

Leif would need a caretaker from Friday, June 27 through Wednesday, July 2. Please and thank you!

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Monday, May 19, 2008

in need of an update

I'm very pleased to announce that Miriam has finally moved her blog out of the depths of MySpace and onto a real blogging platform. Now all of us adults can read it, too.

I am such a bitch about MySpace, but really, it's the devil's tool. You should stop using it. Right now.

Since she added me to her blogroll, I plan to reciprocate. But this also opens another can of worms that I've known for some time needed opening: I need to seriously update my main site. The services offered on my website no longer coincide with the range of services I provide to Tucson's non-profit and political communities.

To wit: I've made sort of a cottage industry out of interim development work. I'm currently Interim Development Director for Wingspan, southern Arizona's LGBT community center. It seems to be where there's the most need among Tucson non-profits right now, and I'll gladly do the work.

So keep your eyes peeled for an upgrade to m2powered.com over the next couple of months. And since my contract with Wingspan ends on July 31, please also keep your eyes peeled for new opportunities for me to support the non-profit sector.

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Friday, May 02, 2008

i don't know nothin' 'bout birthin' no babies

There are probably about two people who missed it and are out of town and haven't heard and also happen to care a whit, but Tucson's two domestic violence organizations have merged and unveiled the new organization identity on Thursday morning:

(clicking on the link brings you to the full size image and the home of one of the parent orgs)

I like this name and logo a lot. I think the research paid off - more than 600 stockholder surveys and 6 or 7 focus groups.

I spent the last eight or so months as Interim Development Director for one of the parent organizations, so I witnessed firsthand and participated in the merger process, which will continue for a while to come.

It feels good to see the nascent merged organization start off on the right foot. I wish them all the best.

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Friday, February 29, 2008

more goji berries

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Thursday, February 21, 2008

what about edith wilson?

I haven't said much about the Presidential campaign. After my justification for voting for Hillary Clinton in the Arizona primary, I've still been paying attention to but haven't talked much about the race. I stand behind my vote and really am getting more than a little tired of the deification of Obama on the part of his supporters. I sincerely apologize if that's how I came off regarding Howard Dean four years ago. I understand how the Obama supporters feel about their candidate, he just doesn't inspire me in the same way he does them. I feel a little sorry for them when they ultimately realize he's only human and has human weaknesses.

But that's not what this post is about. In listening to some of the coverage of tonight's debate in Texas, I'm struck once again by the talking heads lauding the historic nature of this election because either a black man or a white woman stands is supposedly the first person of their respective race and gender to possibly become President of the United States.

This is of course an insulting and ignorant assessment absent any substantive historical context. Remember the hot water Joe Biden got in last year when he gave Obama those backhanded compliments about how "well-spoken" he is and that, according to Biden, was why he was "viable". And to think, that guy's campaign never caught fire.

But this post is about women who have been close to being President. There was of course Carol Moseley Braun in 2004. And Geraldine Ferraro was the Democratic Party's nominee for Vice President in 1984. And of course Pat Schroeder in the 1970's. There have been other women, of course, who have stood decent chances of becoming President (or at least a heartbeat away).

Hardly anybody mentions Edith Wilson, President Woodrow Wilson's second wife. When the President purportedly had a debilitating stroke during his second term, his wife is said to have essentially assumed the duties of the Presidency rather than allow her husband to leave or be removed from office. Ironically, the stroke struck about a year after President Wilson reluctantly changed his mind and decided to support the 19th Amendment guaranteeing women the right to vote. Of course, that amendment wasn't ratified until the year after his stroke.

So in future discussions about women and the presidency, let's also keep in mind that Edith Wilson had done the job almost a century before the media decided that Hillary Clinton is the first women eligible for the job.

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Friday, February 08, 2008

free yoga passes still available

This is just a reminder that I have two free passes to Yoga Oasis for anyone who's never taken a class there. I got them as part of the package with the Maha Moyo Challenge that ends next Friday (the free passes don't expire then, though).

The passes are available on a first come basis, so let me know ASAP if you want one.

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Thursday, January 31, 2008

my primary vote

I've had a lot of people asking me who I'm voting for in next week's Arizona Presidential Preference Primary Election. Ever since Bill Richardson proved himself too inept at basic progressive messages to deserve my continued support, I've been uncommitted. I'm not bowled over by Hillary Clinton. I like her well enough, she's incredibly brilliant and, when not under the often-inexplicable tight controls of her advisers and consultants, is actually very warm and caring. She may not be a liberal lion, but I'm voting for her anyway.

A lot of people I know and like and respect very much are voting for Barack Obama. The enthusiasm with which they support the Senator from Illinois just baffles me. I have yet to see what they see. He talks a good game, but there's always been something mostly intangible that kept me from really feeling like I could get behind his candidacy. Until this week. I figured it out.

I'm looking for a fighter. I'm a red meat voter. As important as ideology and experience are to me, I want a nominee who will be a partisan pugilist. This isn't just a short-term battle for an elected office. This has long-term, big-picture implications for how elections will be won for generations to come.

Here's my major beef with Obama: his "post-partisan" message does nothing to shift the center of mainstream political discourse in this country back to the left, where it historically sat. He praises Ronald Reagan. He says the Republican Party is the party of ideas. He defends a homophobic preacher who he allowed to emcee a fundraising concert on his behalf with the excuse that we have to accept all points of view. This is worse than failing to shift the discourse to the left; "post-partisan" just reinforces the current rightward tilt of the center of mainstream political discourse. Nothing will change with this as Obama's message if he is the nominee, because the Republicans will not stop distorting and lying and attacking anything that would even remotely benefit the common good.

He talks a good game sometimes, but then he talks about elevating the discourse as though Democrats are the ones playing dirty tricks and dragging their opponents through the mud. There's just no comparison, and Senator Obama is sending mixed messages - at best - to Joe and Jane Everyguy. He may cause previously unengaged people to vote Democratic, but his rhetoric does nothing to sustain that partisan identification. This is the politics of personality, not the politics of possibility.

This approach may be bringing a lot of new people into politics who have never participated before. But I would rather people be engaged because of the issues, and the fact that Democrats are, by and large, right on the issues, than by empty rhetoric about how mean everyone in Washington is toward each other. This is especially frustrating because it is the Republican Party who has been, by and large, wrong on the issues but never reluctant to attack their political opponents anyway.

Let's not forget that George W. Bush ran for President in 2000 by claiming to be "a uniter, not a divider". Then he went on to become the most divisive and reviled and destructive president since the Civil War. Obama's message is rhetorically identical, but the difference is he believes his own hype. I worry that he won't fight back when he's attacked because he's so concerned about maintaining the moral high ground. Remember how John Kerry lost in 2004 because he seemed constitutionally incapable of fighting back hard enough or fast enough when he was attacked? We've seen Senator Obama and his surrogates willing to attack his primary opponents, but we've seen little evidence that he's willing or able to attack Republicans or Republican ideas (the really dangerous ones that he actually seems to herald).

I can find fault with Senator Clinton too, many of them in fact. But I know that when she's attacked, she'll fight back, hard and fast. She won't cede any more of the political discourse to the reactionaries on the right. I believe that she, more than Obama, will move the country back towards the left where it needs to be, has historically been, and belongs.

In other words, Obama supporters don't seem to see the forest for the trees when it comes to the long-term implications of a "post-partisan" campaign.

This is a primary competition, after all. Where's my red meat?

With all that said, I will enthusiastically support whichever Democrat wins enough delegates to secure our nomination. That person will make history as the first African-American or woman President of the United States.

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Tuesday, January 01, 2008

my 2008 wish for you

My New Year's wishes for all my loved ones are more or less the same wishes I have for myself: a life well-lived, full of love, bliss, grace, compassion, success and peace of mind.

2008 is going to be our best year yet. I can just feel it. My most sincere and heartfelt thanks to all of you faithful readers for helping me through 2007 and making it memorable and mostly positive. May we each continue on our individual paths of personal growth and fulfillment in 2008, with new breakthroughs and ever more profound epiphanies.

I send my love to you and to those who only read rarely or not at all. We create our own destinies, and 2008 will surely be a year of fulfillment of those amazing, terrific, empowered destinies.

Please use the comments to set your intention for the year and share it with others so that we may all be inspired by it. My biggest intention for 2008 is to manifest the resources and the courage to create the life for myself that I want to lead, which may or may not take me to NYC permanently.

Your turns.

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Sunday, December 30, 2007

the benefits of yoga

I've blogged quite a bit about the benefits I've realized through my yoga practice, but I recently discovered two very tangible benefits that I thought I'd share.

The first has to do with my recent vacation. While in New York, I did not have the opportunity to physically practice, nor did I meditate at all. And even though I was having my dream vacation, I could feel the same positive energy running through me that I had only previously attributed to a good practice. This endured even after I returned to Tucson, before I had a chance to attend a class or sit down to meditate. It's like there's this kind of yoga residue that sticks with you, that we store up, even when our practice lapses for a short time. I didn't really believe that was true, though I'd heard about it, till I recently experienced it myself. Very cool!

The more tangible benefit that I attribute to my yoga practice is really to me the more remarkable of the two. I hadn't weighed myself in five or six months until earlier today. What a pleasant surprise to look down and see that I've gained 10 to 15 pounds! Really. I weighed myself again just to make sure I didn't read it wrong the first time. I believe most of that weight gain is muscle, and some of it may be due to how my yoga practice has helped normalize my metabolism. Either way, I'm very pleased.

So if you're contemplating starting or delving deeper into your own yoga/meditation practice as a new year's resolution, I'd strongly encourage it. It worked for me!

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Friday, December 28, 2007

the bitch of living

From Spring Awakening:

Can you tell why I loved it?

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