A holiday gift that won’t add pounds, except to your brain

The holidays are upon us (this really feels like the longest shortest year ever, doesn’t it?), and I’ve been contemplating a gift I could give to our loyal PiP clients, followers, and friends. Since I haven’t hit the lottery yet, the large donations will have to wait until my luck changes. In the meantime, though, I thought you might be interested in some sources I regularly turn to for humor, a reality check, and gratitude on the days I need it most.

I wish I could say this was an original idea. Many moons ago I belonged to a book club and met this pretty cool lady. This lady actually WANTED to read books rather than drink wine (such a tragedy!). I chose not to hold that against her. Anyway, she would email an annual holiday greeting to her friends and family. In this greeting was a list of her favorite “top reads” over the past year. Along with this book list was a brief Cliff’s note summary of each—just enough to tickle your fancy or not. It saved all of us who were the lucky recipients of this greeting both the time and headache of figuring out what to read when we got the urge.

In that spirit, I’d like to pay forward her tradition with a twist. In addition to books, I’m going to share blogs, e-newsletters, or podcasts that I dig and that I hope you’ll dig, too. My criteria for those making the list?

1) They have good, stand up people associated with them, some of whom I personally know and others whom I’ve followed for years.
2) They are practical resources ripe with authenticity. No BS.
3) Collectively they represent a healthy mix of thought provoking, tested-in-real-life nonprofit land, and feel good…a magical combo!

Below is my round up for 2020….drum roll, please….

Nonprofit AF – Exploring the fun and frustrations of nonprofit work: The title says it all. Speaker, writer, and nonprofit practitioner Vu Le produces some of the most hilarious, irreverent, and no-nonsense blogs about nonprofit life. When you need a good laugh delivered by a seasoned nonprofit pro who also happens to love unicorns, this is the place to go.


Nonprofits Are Messy – First things first. I want to be Joan Garry when I grow up. There. I said it. In all seriousness, though, I appreciate her wisdom, insights, and experience from her years in the field as an Executive Director. This interview-style podcast answers the most pressing questions nonprofits face by bringing in guests from all sectors to share their expertise. Check it out during your next drive or perhaps listen intently during a warm shower (not that I’ve done that or anything….).

Art of Gratitude – This Facebook page provides a wonderful channel to connect with others who share their art and heart for gratitude. Whether you’re new to a regular gratitude practice or just want to explore what’s out there, this is a safe, welcoming place to do so. And if social media isn’t your jam, Darin Hollingsworth, the initiator of this Facebook page and someone I am lucky enough to call friend, also has a podcast called Working Gratitude.

Dare to Lead with Brené Brown – This podcast is all about conversations with change-catalysts, culture-shifters and more than a few troublemakers who are innovating, creating, and daring to lead. And the bonus is you get to listen to all of these bad ass people AND get Dr. Brené Brown in the process. For those who don’t know her, check out this podcast or her other (Unlocking Us), any of her best-selling books (The Gifts of Imperfection, Rising Strong, Daring Greatly, Braving the Wilderness, and Dare to Lead). Her work is a perfect blend of real, raw, and super smart but shared in a way a non-Ph.D. like me can understand. If you dig topics on courage, vulnerability, and empathy–and prefer that it is research-based– this is is your gal.

Seth Godin – I don’t even remember when I got introduced to the work of this master who covers everything from effective marketing and leadership to the spread of ideas and change. Since the very beginning, though, I have been intrigued. He is the only person whose material I read every day– he makes that easier since he produces a daily blog. Can you imagine publishing something every single day for 20+ years? He’s 7500 blog posts strong as of December 2020 and that calls for massive props whether you like his style or not. For those not into blogs, you can check out any of his 19 best-selling books, TED talks, or take one of the awesome courses he has created, and you will be changed. I was accepted into his altMBA program. It was the most rigorous 30 day experience of my life– one that turns traditional education on its head in a way we need to see more of.

Bloomerang – Let’s not kid ourselves. There are a number of donor management systems that can meet your budget, whether it’s a Sedan or Cadillac. Some are better than others, and while I won’t endorse any particular donor management system, what I will endorse is a company that helps strengthen the capacity of the nonprofit sector. Bloomerang stands apart from the rest with the boat load of helpful resources they offer. If you are looking for a webinar, template, or tool of some kind, this is your place to go. I’m also a bit biased since I met Steven Shattuck, their Chief Engagement Officer, years ago when he asked me to do a webinar. He’s a cool guy. Two thumbs up on this one.

Blue Avocado – This online publication provides practical, tactical tips and tools to nonprofit leaders. Content is sourced from a wide range of practitioners, funders, and experts. What I love most about this resource is the wealth of topics they cover in a very direct, jargon-free style that doesn’t make your head spin.

Nonprofit Everything – This is a shameless plug since I co-host this podcast along with Andy Schuricht, also known as Mr. Smarty Pants. A Q&A style format, this podcast provides a vehicle for nonprofit board and staff leaders to send us their pressing questions, and we do our best to answer them or at least pretend like we know the answers. And if we don’t, we call in experts who know way more than we do. Added bonus: you even get a sticker sent to you when you ask a question. Now who doesn’t want a cool sticker?

If you like this gift, will you drop me a line and let me know? Maybe—just maybe—I’ll make this a tradition.


Holiday sprinkles of joy, love, and kindness,