At the end ofÂ a national nonprofit conference last month in Detroit, my head filled with visions of funders, evaluation protocols, and sugarplums, I hailed a taxi for the airport. My driver was Donna Handy, a career cab driver with a lot of good stories, including this one:
"See that building over there? That used to be a shelter, one of those places where they take in women who’ve been beaten by their husbands. Well, they know me, and they call me when they need a cab. Might have been about a dozen years ago, I picked up this one woman with two little children, and they had a voucher for a hotel [from the shelter], and I took them to that hotel, but there was some problem with the voucher and the hotel wouldn’t take it.Â
"Well, I don’t know but seeing those two little faces, I said I would pay for the hotel for that night. And the mother was just so grateful. But those two little faces still looked sad and hungry. So I gave them some money for dinner and maybe a little for the next day. I went back the next night but they were gone.
"And all these years I still drive by this building and I wonder what happened to them. Did she go back to her husband? Did she leave town? What happened to those two little ones?"
My head still filled with PowerPoint presentations and longitudinal outcome studies, I had to ask: "Are you glad you gave them the money?" She made an impatient sound and replied, "Of course! It was the right thing to do. Those two little ones needed a chance. I don’t know what happened and I’ll never know, but they needed a chance."
I left the taxi thinking: So who knows more, anyway? A taxi driver or a foundation-paid evaluation consultant?
To celebrate the end of our second year, we’d like to share with you the most popular articles from 2009, based on clicks, comments, and blog mentions (some articles were mentioned in more than 200 blogs!). This issue also has a Nonprofit Job Site Directory, and a First Person Rant. Have a safe holiday season, and we’ll see you next year. — Jan Masaoka & the Blue Avocado Steering Committee
Ten Most Popular Articles from 2009:
And Now for Something Different About Nonprofits & the Economy: Less frequently-heard advice, such as "Do less with less."
Tracking Volunteer Time to Boost Your Bottom Line: A Complete Accounting Guide: Just what it says.
Embezzlement: More Common and More Preventable Than You Think: Stories and easy-to-implement controls
Nonprofits Portrayed in Popular Culture: We recap movies and televisionÂ dramas that feature nonprofit folks . . . and find some unexpected themes.
Survival Strategies for the Arts: Arts funder and artist John Killacky tells it like it is.
Criminal Record Checks for Prospective Staff and Volunteers: What you find out shouldn’t automatically rule someone out, but here’s how to do the background checks.
Amaze Your Friends with These Nonprofit Factoids: Perfect for a lull at the holiday party.
A Fresh Look at Diversity (Part 1 in the Diversity Series): Okay, you’re tired of hearing about diversity. This article is for you.
Six of Our Board Members are in Prison:Â If Justice Now’s incarcerated board members can be highly engaged leaders and fundraisers, so can yours.