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. 


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?