A Treasure Trove of Information for Activists

Nonprofits that help nonprofits (NTHNs) ... That's what I call nonprofit organizations/services that provide no- and/or low-cost resources to other nonprofit organizations. 

Yesterday, I discovered a new, much-needed NTHN: Bolder Advocacy. This resource is a project of Alliance For Justice (AFJ, another great NTHN).

Bolder Advocacy provides nonprofit organizations and foundations with information about:

  •   the power of advocacy, and
  •   how to harness that power.

This site is a wealth of information. Some of my favorite features:

  • the Bolder Advocacy Blog (Check out Warren Buffet and the Billionaires, by Sue Hoechstetter.)
  • Bolder Advocacy's toolkits - on both advocacy and organizing
  • "Ask-An-Expert" - one-on-one technical assistance that can be accessed by email or phone.

From Bolder Advocacy's website: "As public policy debates are increasingly dominated by wealthy and powerful special interests, it is more important than ever for nonprofit advocates to understand how best to influence decision-makers and serve their communities."

How true.                                            

Website Information:                                             
Alliance for Justice:

Bolder Advocacy:   


If It's Not Okay for Walmart to Do ...

 Do any of these practices describe what happens in your organization? 

You advertise an open position as half-time, even though the job description outlines a list of responsibilities that would be difficult for a person to do as a full-time employee.

Your fund development coordinator position isn’t a coordinator position;  it’s a development director position.

According to the job description, your organization's resource development director must:
  • Work with board of directors and management to create a fund development plan
  • Work with board and management to acquire new donors, and retain and upgrade existing donors
  • Help board secure major gifts
  • Assist board with planning and putting on annual gala
  • More fundraising stuff...
  • More fundraising stuff...
  • More fundraising stuff….
  • Recruit volunteers and board members
  • Screen and place volunteers
  • Orient and train all volunteers and board members
  • Produce monthly newsletter
  • Maintain website
Your list of required qualifications for the development coordinator position includes:
  • Superior writing skills
  • Proven track record soliciting gifts of $25,000 and more from individual donors
  • Proven track record obtaining grants of $500,000 and more for organizations opposed to deep-water drilling based in Montana
  • Experience with successfully patching the ozone layer
  • Fluent in both English and Swahili
Your organization pays a living wage...provided the employee in question lives in a studio apartment, is childless, and has no plans to retire. Or eat.

Do you ever go to the grocery store - the bulk section - to buy a couple pounds of flour or whatever? And you copy the five digit number (shown on the bin) onto the twisty that binds your bag shut?  Would you copy the number from the conventional flour bin onto your bag of organic flour to save money?

That’s the grocery shopping equivalent of what you’re doing if you call your development director job a coordinator job. Ditto the three-in-one job. And the full-time job you prefer to think of as “part-time.”  And the job for the bilingual person with ozone-patching experience.

"But," you say, "my organization is a nonprofit. We help people in need. The more money we save on salaries and benefits, the more we can help people who need our services." 

Walmart defenders often make the same claim (except for the nonprofit part). Why is it okay for your organization and not for Walmart?


Cut This!

Here we go again. Our elected leaders are pushing yet more cuts: “unavoidable” cuts, cuts-that-no-one-wants, cuts-that-hurt-me-more-than-they-hurt-you, haircuts (as in “we all gotta take one”), and on and on. And, some of them say, if we don’t make the necessary cuts, our unborn children’s children will most certainly face a DEFICIT which will most certainly be a BURDEN SO HUGE that it will most certainly CRUSH THEM.

Here’s my translation:
These things are too expensive:
·         Clean air/water
·         Safe food/drugs/other
·         Literacy
·         Old people
·         Children
·         Sick people
·         Poor people
·         Etc.

Our nation has only so much money, and we can spend it on only our highest priorities:
·         War
·         The market’s mental health (The market doesn’t like “uncertainty.”)
·         Reduced tax rates for corporations and rich people

     We are supposed to believe that the federal budget proposal that passed the House  is “serious” when it: 
            1) would eliminate and/or reduce SNAP (food stamp) aid to millions,  
            2) is authored by U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) of $350/bottle wine fame
        In a nation where 
... we are supposed to believe that there is no more money for shelters for the homeless or food for the hungry? 

Moreover, we are supposed to believe that we have to make cuts to programs like these - that we are spending too much money on the homeless and the hungry?

I have developed my own list of recommended cuts. I call it
  • Tax breaks for billionaires, 
  • Healthcare for hypocrites*, 
  • Education aid for economic elites**, 
  • Corporate welfare, 
  • Retirement benefits for Congress***, 
  • Aid to needy CEOs, and 
  • Pentagon boondoggles” 

“Cut THE CRAP,” for short.

You might find the name of my proposal to be a bit crass. But there is no denying that “crap” is an apt description of the cuts proposed by Paul Ryan. If you agree, please make your perspective heard. Here are some ways to do it:
  • Ask candidates for public office in your community if they will pledge to fight cuts to Social Security, Medicare,  Medicaid, and other assistance programs.     
  • Send a letter to, visit, or call your elected representatives to ask if they will pledge to fight cuts to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and other assistance programs.     
  • Send a letter to the editor. You know what to say. Or ask.
  • Ask candidates who support cuts if they will pledge to renounce their pensions, perks, health care packages, etc. 
  • Volunteer for candidates who pledge to oppose cuts, especially to support  Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.
  • Vote for these candidates.
  • Know someone like minded who needs transportation in order to register to vote and/or getting to the polls? Offer to give her/him a ride.
*Cut health insurance offered by the government to government officals opposed to health insurance offered by the government.
** Cut taxpayer-funded vouchers for children from wealthy families to attend private schools; those taxpayer dollars could fund public schools.
***Cut pensions for lawmakers who advocate cuts to pensions for public workers.


Women Can't Afford to Vote For Candidates Who Devalue Their Labor

It was not surprising to read that U.S. Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Spokane) currently has so much more money to spend on campaigning than does her challenger, Democrat Rick Cowan.

However, it was a bit surprising to observe, recently, just how ill-informed and out-of-touch she is on women’s issues.

It was bad enough that McMorris Rodgers voted against the 2009 Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. Last week, on national TV, she insisted the war on women is a “myth.” She also claimed there is no gender-based pay gap, suggesting the gap talk was a distraction created by Democrats, in contrast to "real issues" that should be paramount in voters' minds, like the national debt.

No pay gap? Really?

You would think she could have taken a minute or two to go online and get the facts before going on TV, spouting “myths.”  Had she done so, she would have found that, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2010, female  workers (full-time, year-round) earned 77 cents for each dollar earned by male workers (full-time, year-round). An additional minute or two online and she would have found that in 2010, of 265 occupations surveyed, women earned less than men in 264 - the one being personal care and service


And trying to pass off the national debt as something voters must address before anything else – like women workers getting shafted an average of over $400 every two weeks...


Say I’m a single mom and wait tables (breakfast/lunch) to support my family.  If I could earn more money, maybe rising rents wouldn’t force us to move multiple times per year, my kids wouldn’t have to switch schools at least once each year, my son might not have to repeat 8th grade, go to school hungry, dodge bullets and/or drug dealers on the way to school, or do without his inhaler because the clinic has a wait list. The restaurant where I work does not hire women servers for the dinner shift. Too bad... because dinner servers earn two-to-three times what breakfast-and-lunch wait staff earn.


But McMorris Rodgers wants voters to focus on a hypothetical situation a decade or so into the future instead of demanding solutions to the very real crises that millions of people face right now.


Whether you live in Spokane or Seattle, a McMorris Rodgers win is likely to mean one more person in Congress voting against women’s interests, and going on TV with a lot of myths to justify those votes. Contact your friends and family in Spokane and the rest of the 5thdistrict; urge them to stop sending McMorris-Rodgers money and send her packing instead.