Category: Blog

Category for Blog Posts

How To Organize Notes

We receive information from many, many sources -books, articles, podcasts, newsletters, social media, mainstream media, and IRL (in real life), of course.

Not always, but hopefully frequently enough, we learn something interesting, insightful, helpful, or all of the above. But then what? What do you do when you finish a book, good enough for notes in the margin?

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Four Steps To Organizing Overwhelm

We’re on what seems to be day 756 of lock-down. Children have only had 34 days of in-person school this year. While I am languishing, I also feel like I’m running on the fasted treadmill of my life. Perhaps you are experiencing something similar?

Nonprofit professionals notoriously wear many hats. In times like this, it’s okay to just hop from one urgent task to another at first, but this is unsustainable for strong program management. What’s more, when you actually do have time to work, it’s hard to know where and how to start. Follow these four steps to get started:

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A Guide to Being Gutsy

For March Services in Action’s Book Club learned about Gutsy Women. There are some stories that show an ordinary act having an extraordinary outcome. These are the most inspirational stories. Sure, in some occasions people had privilege, wealth, or position that ensured a seat at the table or access to someone who could catapult an idea, but in many cases, it was just one person’s decision to act, and ability to organize, and persistence. Here are a few examples:

Juliette Gordon Low heard about the Boy Scouts in the UK and started Girls Scouts in the US. This afterschool program turned into a generational life-long movement, with an alumni of 59 million US women.

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Supporting The Aged Family Uganda

We are turning our attention to The Aged Family Uganda, (www.tafu.org/) an NGO in Kampala, Uganda. TAFU provides support for elderly people at home and in hospital.

Elderly people in Uganda receive little attention. Yet their role, especially grandmothers, is an essential part of the growth and wellbeing of the country. As HIV/AIDs has left many children without parents, it is grandmothers who step in to the caregiving role. It is TAFU’s mission to care for elderly people, check in on them, and advocate for the them.

In the April 2020, little was known about the spread of COVID. When Nataria Namusisi, 82, in the Nakulabye Kimwany town in Luweero came down with the flu, her family was concerned how this would affect them. Right away, her granddaughter Rose was brought home from school to help care for Nataria. Rose’s mother informed a family member of the illness, this family member also happened to be the Chair of the COVID task force.

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Top 5 Podcasts for Nonprofit Professionals

Over the past year as life has changed, many of us have responded by taking up new hobbies and routines. I for one, have discovered the incredible world of podcasts and audiobooks. Although I have always had a keen interest in listening to stories, this new hobby has really gained momentum. I listen all the time, mostly while doing other chores such as cooking. 

I listen to a lot of podcasts for nonprofit professionals and how to do good better. While not all podcasts are created equal, here is my list of top choices:

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2020 Round Up

As we set goals for the year to come, it is important to recognize where we have come from. Despite many setbacks and struggles, some incredible strides were made.

We’ve had smoother years in the past. We’ve had easier years in the past. But this past year truly represents what Services in Action is:

Visit for the information services -the tools, resources, direction, and advice, and stay for the project that you just need someone to take care of for you!

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Playing Favourites with Vaccines

The nonprofit industry is made up of people who care passionately, putting people before profit.

Unlike government and other influential decision-makers who respond to the changing requests of the people they serve, the nonprofit industry upholds their organization’s mission unwaveringly.

This past week some headlines have read “Who can get the COVID vaccine in Florida? Hint: It helps if you have donated to a hospital” and “Playing favorites? Hospital boards, donors get COVID shots.

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The Origin

My first job in the nonprofit sector was with a large, national charity. On the first day, I was being trained by the person whose job I was hired to fill. I asked about a magnet I saw which had another charity’s contact information.

“Oh,” she replied, “we get a lot of calls from people in the community we serve asking for support groups, which we don’t offer. So, I refer them there.”

“They provide support groups; I didn’t know that.” I said.

“I don’t actually know if they do, but the person in this role before me told me that’s what she did, so I did as well.”

Well!” I thought to myself. “How irresponsible! Couldn’t you at least call and find out? That is one of the first things I will do.”

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Storing, Retaining, and Deleting Files

Should it stay or should it go?

Over the past few weeks, we’ve looked at the management of files. We’ve looked at how to organize them and what to label them. Now let’s turn to storing them.

A record is a file, photo, video, -anything that captures information. Sometimes they matter and sometimes they don’t. Knowing what to keep is an important part of a well-organized filing system, which is essential for not duplicating work, improving organizational memory, organizational knowledge, and being able to tell the complete story of a project, event, program, or system. 

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Miscellaneous is not a category

Last week’s blog outlined six steps to organizing a desktop. The steps begin by identifying the different themes of your work. Each theme is a category. When each category has been identified, two things must be true.

  1. Each category must be mutually exclusive. That means it only contains the information about one subject. It must be exclusive from the themes of other folders.
  2. Each category must be collectively exhausted. That means that every file belongs somewhere. If there is a file that doesn’t seem to belong anywhere, then there are not enough categories.
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