going our way?


The Best of od180 at your fingertips

We're all looking for the best thinking in our field to help our non-profits. OD180's expertise on many topics makes us a logical place to look.

Below we offer some White Papers on various topics to benefit the non-profit community. Feel free to share these with friends and colleagues, and let them know how to find more.

We'll post more White Papers from time to time, so check back here regularly!

five essential concepts in management

Most nonprofits are nothing if not stretched these days and the same holds true for their leaders.  When so few are attempting to do so much with so little, it becomes very easy to get mired in whatever is urgent but not necessarily important.  So, to help you stay focused on what truly matters, I offer this…

creativity in approach: adapting to context

How do we adapt to our circumstances?  How do we change not for change’s sake but for the sake of doing what we are called to do with sustained vigor and effectiveness?  There are two essential elements...

what do we do now?

Nonprofit leaders with whom I have talked are often confronted with the same multi-faceted yet monochromatic, anxiety-producing challenge.  Grant receipts are down…and so too are individual donations…and endowment income…and fees for service.  Set aside program enhancements or expansions.  Forget about new investment in capacity-building.  How do we just get through the year intact?  If the question resonates with you, read my counsel to troubled nonprofit CEO’s.

courage of commitment

No matter what our organization is or what it does, the contentment we found when we got involved is eventually disturbed.  We may come to a crisis.  We need to make a decision (or support one) that will be controversial and incite criticism, even opposition.  It is a situation that calls for the courage of boldness. Other situations call for the courage of perseverance. Either way, it takes commitment...

creativity… it's never been just for artists

Within the context of leading and managing nonprofit organizations (NPOs), creativity has both contemplative and active modes.  When we are “being creative,” generally we are thinking along new lines and perspectives.  When we are “doing something creative,” we are doing new things. How can we stir creativity in ourselves and our colleagues?

generosity of spirit: expressing gratitude routinely

All too often, non-profits are stingy when it comes to showing appreciation. The well-managed non-profit makes a habit of expressing gratitude. To inspire your own thinking about the people to whom your organization owes a debt of gratitude, I offer these suggestions...

honesty in communication - the whole truth

Nearly all of us in the nonprofit sector affirm truth-telling as a fundamental value in conducting our affairs. Yet, more often than we would care to admit, we are faced with dilemmas about just how transparent we are going to be. How do we resolve these dilemmas? Do honesty and prudence ever conflict? When, where, and how do we tell what to whom?


Most non-profit leaders do the work they do because they genuinely want to make a positive difference. They want to have an impact – sometimes they intend to change the world. Yet sooner or later, the road toward progress is no longer exciting, and the views have long since become tedious. We feel burned out. How to we avoid or overcome this inevitable problem?

steadfastness of purpose

Steadfastness of purpose is the practice of staying true to and clear about one’s aim.  And doing so, it seems to me, is essentially a matter of critical thinking applied regularly and consistently to operational decision-making.  It is what helps us stay on course toward realizing our organization’s vision and avoid that pesky weed which is forever popping up in the nonprofit garden, mission creep. How do you remain clear-sighted and true?

what leadership requires

I find these four basic qualities to be the most important by far for successful leadership: being honest, forward looking, inspiring, and competent. While other traits certainly add to a leader’s effectiveness, these are all essential.