Lessons from Leaders

Each mission-driven organization is on a journey, whether a day or decade old. Our “Lessons from Leaders” essays are designed to offer help from those who’ve faced the same challenges you do now – whether it’s creating an online presence, engaging with communities, fundraising, best practices or other issues. We hope these short essays will help you on your journey – and someday that you’ll offer your own perspectives to help the next generation of mission-driven organizations. 


Learn how Nicole Morris, Executive Director of Women Giving Back (WGB), an organization that provides quality clothing at no cost to women and children in crisis, successfully pivoted her organization’s programming during Covid-19.
Letters to Strangers began as a school club in California and now reaches teens all over the world. Learn how Diana Chao, Founder and Executive Director, grew her .ORG into the largest global youth-run non-profit focused on destigmatizing mental illness and increasing access to affordable, quality treatment.

Using Data to Inform Action

A Conversation with Stephanie Chan

Stop AAPI Hate's Research Manager, Stephanie Chan, shares how other non-profit and mission-driven organizations should use data to better understand the communities they serve.

Growing your Mission through Human Connection

A Conversation with Mark Bergel 

Mark Bergel, co-founder of The Shared Humanity Project, shares how conversations with community members can grow and strengthen your mission and lead to greater impact.

Building Community Within Your Organization

A Conversation with Jorge Valencia 

Jorge Valencia, Executive Director of Point Foundation shares why it is important to build a sense of community between students to help them to achieve both their educational and personal goals.

Leading without an Age Limit

A Conversation with Aniya Butler

Aniya Butler shares why it is important for youth to have a voice in their communities and how she became a leader at Youth vs. Apocalypse.

.ORG: A Signal of Seriousness

A Conversation with Rick Yount

Rick Yount of the Warrior Canine Connection speaks to how the .ORG domain reflects the seriousness of Warrior Canine Connection No-Fail mission to support veterans reconnecting with their communities and each other.

Pro Tip: Growth Pays for Itself

By Stuart Patience, Founding Board Member at Saya Suka Membaca

Non-profits need to fund their operations, but what’s the best way to do this? They can engage in fundraising efforts, seek out corporate sponsors, or simply collect donations.

Pro Tip: Do Your Homework

By Maureen Silva, Co-Executive Director at Mandela Partners

How do community-based organizations identify the programs and services needed within a community? This issue is always in play for Mandela Partners.
How does a mission-based organization find ways to increase awareness, maximize donations, find volunteers, and educate the public on its mission and goals?

Pro Tip: Trust Your Volunteers

By Meredith Horowski, Senior Director of the Brigade Network at Code for America

How does a .ORG that relies heavily on volunteers best support them to unlock their true potential?

Pro Tip: Scaling to Success

By Zareen Khan, Director of Development at SMASH

How does a new and growing .ORG manage growth while delivering on its mission?

Longevity Pro Tip: Two Keys to Success

By Leigh R. Allen II, Interim Chief Executive Officer and VP of Marketing and Development at the Council on Legal Education Opportunity (CLEO)

How does a small organization remain viable and thrive?

Collaboration Pro Tip: Tools are Essential

By Jessica Williams, Chief Communications Officer at Days for Girls International

What is the most effective way to collaborate, especially in a COVID world?

Engagement Pro Tip: Keep Enagagement Authentic

By Emily Wasek, Associate Director of Development at Jacksonville Speech & Hearing Center

How can you best engage the communities you serve?

Fundraising Pro Tip: The Value of a Monthly Donation Program

By Kirollos Barsoum, Digital Giving Manager at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

What is the most effective way to fundraise?