What Will You Accomplish This Year?

Everyone else was getting ready to ring in the New Year, but you were in the office. Checking email on your phone. Making a final post office run to pick up mailed checks. Those and a million other invisible things we do at nonprofits are what make year-end campaigns a success. When others count down to midnight, we count up -- our donations!

But that also means we need an special jolt of energy come January, and this issue of Blue Avocado delivers. Discover an interview with one of the true visionaries in the field, practical advice for all of you living in newly 420-friendly states, engaging stories of personal growth and what Blue Avocado readers think about the financial outlook for 2017. It's all full of get-up-and-go goodness.

Happy 2017!

Ask Rita in HR: What About Marijuana Decriminalization?

Dear Ask Rita in HR: Since Proposition 64 was approved in the recent California election, I have been receiving a number of questions from employees who are asking how these changes in the marijuana law will affect our nonprofit's drug policy. We have a strong drug-free workplace policy and rigorously enforce it. What can we tell our employees?

Signed, Dazed and Confused

Robert Egger: “Our Sector Is About To Be Hit, And Hit Hard” A Blue Avocado Interview

For 24 years, Robert Egger served as president of the DC Central Kitchen, which has created more than 30 million meals and helped 1,500 men and women gain full-time employment. Today he runs the astoundingly successful L.A. Kitchen on the same model of food recovery, job training and social enterprise. In the interview below, Egger dishes to Blue Avocado on what he would tell young nonprofit leaders, how the sector has changed since he got into it three decades ago, and why it's more important than ever that we take risks.

Divorce and the Nonprofit Board Member

Over the course of seven years, I have served on the boards of two nonprofit agencies and on the education committee of a third. I'm a professional academic, with the organizational skills and the flexible schedule that make me valuable as a volunteer leader in the nonprofit sector.

Today I will offer what I would call a case study, if it were someone else. As it's me, perhaps it would be more honest to call it a partial confession. The second year I served on the board of a regional arts organization, several board member proposed to terminate the group health plan for the four employees. The Affordable Care Act was beginning, and the opportunities for staff to choose seemed to offer cost-saving for the organization.

Nonprofit Mergers Are Like Falling In Love

A question was recently submitted to American Nonprofits about the organizational and legal issues of merging two nonprofits, by someone right in the middle of such a merger. We asked Ron Kratofil to share tips and resources for that situation.

The continuing pressure to do more with less and the growing challenge of maximizing our community impact have created a challenging environment for nonprofit organizations. So where do concepts like merger and acquisition fit into our evolving discussions? Having had the opportunity to be involved in both a full blown merger and an acquisition, I can relay to you the lessons I have learned.

First Person: I Am A Young Social Entrepreneur

Editor's Note: What does it take to be entrepreneurial? We invited Anika Stephens to share her recent experience in an incubator for young leaders who have already made a positive social or economic impact in their communities and her advice for others interested in starting their own social venture.

I recently came back from an unforgettable trip to the United States. A trip that gave me the tools I need to grow my small socially minded business. As a small business owner I understand it is important to work together. Changing the world is not a one-person job.