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Thomas McLaughlin

Thomas McLaughlin's Articles

  • The Rogue CEO

    By Thomas McLaughlin — December 31, 2015

    We begin with the type of dilemma found mostly, but infrequently, in moderate to very large nonprofits. It relies on a complicated mixture of personalities and the unspoken norm that a CEO gets some latitude for personal behavior, even if it makes others uncomfortable. This situation can be so painful that it chases out good managers and discourages competent outsiders from taking their place.

  • Where’s A Tuba When You Really Need One?

    By Thomas McLaughlin — May 21, 2015

    “That damn composer Wagner. He wrote all those pieces for big orchestras. Didn’t he ever think that 123 musicians might be a little hard to pay, especially in this recession? Let’s cut it to 50, the audience will never notice . . .”

  • Sharing costs, upgrading productivity

    By Thomas McLaughlin — March 2, 2015

    There are co-ops for everything from farmers to food merchants, many of which have existed for decades or longer. So, why not develop technology cooperatives for nonprofits?

  • The CEO Successor Pinch

    By Thomas McLaughlin — February 2, 2015

    Many nonprofits in the United States are in or are about to be in a CEO successor pinch. This pinch is structural, has multiple causes, and will affect the nonprofit sector in multiple ways for the next several years.

  • When Board Members Just Don’t Get It

    By Thomas McLaughlin — November 24, 2014

    Every now and then there’s a board of directors — how can this be written diplomatically — that doesn’t seem to get it. This doesn’t happen often, but when it does it’s never a pretty sight. Usually the not-getting-it board seems to be paying attention, and its members really do want the best for their organization, but somehow or another “the best” never seems to happen.

  • Board Members

    By Thomas McLaughlin — October 31, 2014

    Every now and then there’s a board of directors that — how can this be written diplomatically — doesn’t seem to get it. This doesn’t happen often, but when it does it’s never a pretty sight. Usually the not-getting-it board seems to be paying attention, and its members really do want the best for their organization, but somehow or another “the best” never seems to happen.

  • Solving Insolvency: Managing Money Losing Programs

    By Thomas McLaughlin — September 25, 2014

    There was a recent early summer morning meeting in the offices of a medium-sized nonprofit behavioral health organization in an economically depressed former industrial city. The top three executives were smart, committed, and energetic. The offices were well-situated in a rebounding part of the city, and the organization enjoyed a good reputation locally.

  • Solving Insolvency

    By Thomas McLaughlin — September 17, 2014

    There was a recent early summer morning meeting in the offices of a medium-sized nonprofit behavioral health organization in an economically depressed former industrial city. The top three executives were smart, committed, and energetic. The offices were well-situated in a rebounding part of the city, and the organization enjoyed a good reputation locally.

  • Dealing With An Organization’s Dirty Laundry

    By Thomas McLaughlin — August 20, 2014

    Most children learn about Magic Hampers. These are containers of some sort that the adults in the family put in a kid-friendly location. The formula is simple – put dirty clothes in the thing and eventually, like magic, those clothes reappear neatly folded and clean. The child thinks, how did this happen? That evolves into who cares?

  • Unto Ourselves

    By Thomas McLaughlin — May 1, 2014

    Everyone knows of a nonprofit that seems to exist apart from every other organization and everything. The managers at this organization, usually successful at accomplishing mission and often adequately financed, seem content to keep its distance from peer organizations.

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Episode 4: Apps and Hacks to Stay (Mostly) Sane || daniellejohnson-76

Episode 4: Apps and Hacks to Stay (Mostly) Sane, is all about tips, tricks and tools for sanity. Blackbaud’s own interactive product marketer, Julia Lenz, joins host Danielle Johnson to share some high tech. (and no tech.) productivity tips to help nonprofit professionals stay sane in the crazy world of philanthropy.

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  • Tips for how to spend the first 30 minutes of your day
  • The benefits of 15 minute meetings
  • Why notebooks are still relevant to a successful organization
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  • ...and much more!
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Episode 3: Tech. Connection: Solutions, Strategy, and Staff || daniellejohnson-76

Episode 3: Tech. Connection: Solutions, Strategy, and Staff In episode 3 of the Raise + Engage podcast, Danielle Johnson is joined by Chris Geady and William DaSilva, two IT experts in the nonprofit space, to talk technology integration for NPOs: when you need it, when you don’t, and how to do it successfully.


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  • When to say NO to integration
  • How to set your strategic plan before even looking at technologies
  • Ways to get your entire team on board
  • The importance of identifying a project lead
  • The RFP process - how it should and should not go
And William shares a story about a nonprofit that may or may not have still been using a typewriter. You don't want to miss this one!

Episode 2: From Socially Awkward to Socially Awesome! || daniellejohnson-76

According to Danielle Johnson, straight-shooting host of the Raise + Engage podcast series, if your staff members aren’t the number one advocates for your cause on social media, you’re failing. In the most recent episode, Danielle is joined by Blackbaud’s own social media guru Madeline Turner to discuss overcoming social struggles and creating a social ambassador program at your organization. This entertaining and insightful duo dishes on the importance of making your social media presence human, making the case for a formal social program to leadership, how University of Michigan turned a one time social media campaign into a long term social program, and how Madeline's mom unknowingly became a social ambassador on #GivingTuesday.

Episode 1: Corporate Culture & Development: Shake It Up! || daniellejohnson-76

In the premiere episode of Raise & Engage, Danielle is joined by three straight-shooting nonprofit rock-stars: Jodi Smith of Sanford Health Systems, Veronica Brown of Chicago Public Library Foundation and Ali Burke of Southlake Regional Health Centre Foundation. The group talks organizational culture, problem employees, why its important to celebrate and how to shake things up this year and build a better more authentic team that gets stuff done!

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