Monday, November 09, 2009

Psychic benefits? Women's work? Any excuse.

Someone said to me this morning, men won't take jobs in human services because they can't support their families. The women have spouses or partners, so it's ok to pay so little.

Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

To many woman working in nonprofits are single family households and are one or two paychecks away from homelessness themselves. They frequently work two, sometimes three jobs.

They are dedicated people who have spent as many dollars and years on their degrees.

They deserve better.

in reference to:

"In 2003 BusinessWeek surveyed the compensation packages of MBAs 10 years out of b-school. The median compensation package with bonus was $400,000. By contrast, the average 2004 salary of the CEO of a $5 million-plus health charity was $232,000 and of a hunger charity, $84,000. There's no way you're going to get people with a $400,000 annual pay package to take a $316,000 annual pay cut on the basis of the psychic benefits that await them. Instead, consider the enormous psychic benefits that people in the for-profit world enjoy as philanthropists. Think about this: It's cheaper for the MBA to donate $100,000 a year to the hunger charity than to go work for it. She gets $50,000 in federal and state tax savings, which leaves her $266,000 ahead of the game. On top of that, she gets a seat on the board of the hunger charity; indeed, probably chairs the board. She now gets to supervise the poor bastard who's running the hunger charity. She gets to dictate his strategy and how he goes about executing it. And if that weren't enough, the MBA is now elevated to the status of respected philanthropist in the community (while the hunger charity CEO gets demonized at the annual board meeting for wanting a $10,000 salary increase — "shame on you, that money could be going to the needy," they tell him). And, with a $100,000 annual contribution to the hunger charity, at some point the "philanthropist" gets her name on the top of the charity's headquarters. And maybe she loves her for-profit job on top it. Sounds like an awful lot of psychic benefit to me. Don't fall for this Puritan self-sacrificial psychobabble. It's not the poor who are asking you to work for less. It's the donating public, including many a wealthy donor. They're asking you to end poverty and every other great social problem and to do it for them at a discount. And they're exploiting the images of the poor to get you to agree. The fact that someone makes a one-time sacrificial gift doesn't mean you're obligated to make a lifetime sacrificial career choice. If you do the math and the psychic benefit comes up lacking for you, then ask the people who want you to make the world a better place for another kind of benefit that begins with a "p." Pay."
- The "Psychic Benefits" of Nonprofit Work Are Overrated - Dan Pallotta - (view on Google Sidewiki)

Monday, November 02, 2009

What about differences within nonprofit sectors?

in reference to: Amaze Your Friends with these Nonprofit Factoids | Blue Avocado (view on Google Sidewiki)

I'd like to see these figures broken out by sectors within the 501 (c)3 category, as well. If, as you mention below, you take out the hospitals and universities, I believe the differences would increase even more dramatically.

Why? The impact of unionization and/or more men working in hospitals and and universities?

Thanks, Rick Cohen at Blue Avocado, for pulling together the data.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Political genes?

Other deadlines interfered with my good intention to post on climate change on Blog Action Day yesterday. But, deadline behind me, I've spent some time reading what others posted. It led me to this post on Planetizen.

The post sheds some light on what I've often thought of as people being born with a Republican or Democrat gene. "Egalitarian" and "individualist" may be a better description, though, and linking such disputes to "clusters of values that form competing world views" is more useful than waiting for science to discover the politics gene.

in reference to:

"Some of my acquaintances believe that climate change may end human life (or at least civilization) and that the only way to save humanity is to massively reduce economic growth and consumption. Other acquaintances believe that climate change is, if not an outright hoax, a minor problem—and that even the slightest attempt to regulate emission-creating industries will itself destroy American civilization.
Whole lotta head-shakin’ going on.Most of these people are not scientists (let alone scientists specializing in climate-related science), so I strongly suspect that their opinions come from Al Gore’s movie and Rush Limbaugh’s talk show, rather than from a comprehensive review of the footnote-filled scientific papers addressing climate change. Nevertheless, they are as certain in their opinions as real scientists are. How come?"
- The genesis of the climate change stalemate | Grist (view on Google Sidewiki)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

You Can Make Music with Bobby McFerrin

What a great three minute break. This little excerpt is wonderful.

Bobby McFerrin
demonstrates the power of the pentatonic scale, using audience participation, at the event "Notes & Neurons: In Search of the Common Chorus", from the 2009 World Science Festival, June 12, 2009.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Another Woman Who Made a Difference: Wilma Cozart Fine

I'm always interested in reading about women who have made a contribution, especially in a field dominated by men. Wilma Cozart Fine had an extraordinary talent.

This NYTimes obituary provides a good overview of her contribution to classical recordings.

in reference to:

"Mrs. Fine was one of the first women to excel at record production, a field that is still dominated by men. She brought sensitivity and taste to her work, which included notable recordings by the conductors Rafael Kubelik, Antal Dorati and John Barbirolli; the composer and conductor Howard Hanson; the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Detroit Symphony; the pianists Byron Janis, Gina Bachauer and Sviatoslav Richter; and the cellist Mstislav Rostropovich.

With Mr. Fine, an ingenious recording engineer whom she married in 1957, she developed recording techniques that, even in their early monaural recordings, seemed to capture not only the performance but also a sense of the space in which it took place. The Fines were among the first to make mass-market stereo recordings, and in the early 1960s they experimented with recording on 35-millimeter film instead of on magnetic recording tape. Among their productions were sonic spectaculars like a 1954 recording of Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture” by Dorati and the Minneapolis Symphony, with bells recorded at Yale University and a cannon recorded at West Point, and a 1958 remake, with different bells and cannon.

Mrs. Fine also had a brilliant marketing sense. One of the first things she did when she joined Mercury, in 1950, was persuade the label’s president, Irving Green, to sign the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, then floundering. Mercury’s first recording with that orchestra, overseen by the Fines, was Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition,” with Kubelik conducting, in April 1951. When the recording was released that fall, along with another recording of works by Bartok and Bloch, Howard Taubman wrote in The New York Times that “unless this recording has flattered the ensemble’s competence out of all recognition, one must welcome the Chicagoans back to the top rank of American orchestras.”"
- Wilma Cozart Fine, Classical Music Record Producer, Dies at 82 - Obituary (Obit) - (view on Google Sidewiki)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

All Washed Up: using influence to change behavior

Here's a great study in how to use influence to change behavior from the folks who brought us Crucial Conversations and Crucial Confrontations. Now they bring us Influencer. Well worth the six minutes. Tell me what you think you could apply this lesson to.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Challenge of Maintaining Creativity

I love to take a break from work and watch/listen to a TED Talk. Here's one on education and creativity that I think all my clients providing after-school programs should watch. Actually, I think we should all watch it. And, enjoy laughing, too. Sir Ken Robinson is very funny.

Friday, August 28, 2009

FiveThirtyEight: Politics Done Right: How to Poll on the Public Option

Rally: Health Care for ALLImage by ^Berd via Flickr

Someone called me yesterday to ask my advice on a questionnaire they planned to distribute at a large event later this week. As I thought about the difficulty of designing clear objective questions I remembered that I had a note to myself to blog about this post by Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight.

Nate describes the essential ingredients of a good poll. He goes on to say that the health care debate is suffering from poorly designed polling questions. I recommend you read the whole post, but here's the difference a well designed public option question can make.

FiveThirtyEight: Politics Done Right: How to Poll on the Public Option: "So, who gets it right?

Regrettably, almost all of the polls on the public option succumb to one or more of these sins. However, there are two exceptions. One is the Quinnipiac poll, which asks:

Do you support or oppose giving people the option of being covered by a government health insurance plan that would compete with private plans?

This is a perfect question. It makes clear that the public option is an insurance program, rather than a program to provide health care services. It uses the less ambiguous phrase 'government' rather than the more ambiguous phrase 'public'. It makes clear that the public option is a choice. It avoids leading the respondent by comparing the public option to Medicare. And it asks in unambiguous terms whether the respondent supports or opposes the proposal.

62 percent of people support the public option in Quinnipiac's August 5th poll, versus 32 percent opposed."
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Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Dear Parent, Don't Lose Your Patience - Adpunch

What do you think of this ad? Will it change our thought pattern as the creators intend?

Dear Parent, Don't Lose Your Patience - Adpunch: This print campaign is all set to shake our conscience. This will scare us, linger in our mind for a long time, but, it will, quite possibly, make a change in our thought pattern."

Friday, February 20, 2009

Is Twitter Changing Your Life?

I'm in stage 3, I guess. What stage are you in?

Here's a nicely done slide show from Minxuan Lee about how Twitter has change her life, not mine.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Brain Fitness: Building Memory Muscle

A standard telephone keypad.Image via WikipediaOne of the exercises focuses on remembering sounds in order. I gave up on phone numbers a long time ago. My excuse -- too many things to remember, I have to leave room for other, more important things. But, truth be told, it's really inconvenient not to remember numbers, and other things, in order.

So, anyway, I'm doing relatively poorly on this exercise. A few steps forward, a step backwards. Today I started out at four sounds, had to drop back to three, back up to four. Four little sounds that challenge my short term memory to its limits!

But, I find I'm not discouraged. I'm challenged to improve. Pleased to know that research shows I can improve. I don't have to write myself off as old.

And, yesterday, I remembered my cell phone number for the first time! I wasn't even trying. I guess I am building my memory muscle.

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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Supporting Fatherhood in the Hudson Valley

Reading togetherOn Friday I met with a group of folks about starting a Fatherhood Alliance in the Hudson Valley. I'll keep you up-to-date about our discussions as we proceed. We welcome your thoughts and participation.

Some of the goals we discussed include:
  • Changing the language and expanding the meaning of the words used in the fatherhood movement, eg. child support means more than money; 'deadbeat' dads are usually 'deadbroke' dads who need job training and opportunities.
  • Strengthening the understanding and skills HV nonprofits need to engage and support fathers in their efforts to be responsible for their children.
  • Identifying and collaborating to fill the gaps in services that help fathers become more responsible.

Here's some information about some of the people involved and links to more about them.
  • Donna Linder and her staff members Ed , Ray, and Sherrie (apologies - I don't have everyone's last name) at ChildFind of America. Through their phone-based ParentHelp program, funded through the HHS Fatherhood money, they deal with the issues of separated parenting every day. I wrote the ParentHelp grant for them and know, firsthand the quality of the work they do.
  • Kenneth Braswell has been focused on fatherhood issues for a long time. You may know him from Fathers, Inc. which he started in 2003. He's the Director of the NY State Fatherhood Initiative for the NYS Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance where he works within the Center for Child Well-Being to involve non-custodial parents in the economic and social well-being of their children.
  • Alicia Marie Crowe, Attorney/Author of Real Dads Stand Up! What Every Single Father Should Know About Child Support Rights and Custody. It's a guide to help Dads stay connected to their children despite the failed relationship with the other parent.
More to come. I don't have everyone's information yet. But that's a start.
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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Am I making progress?

Is Your Hotel's Coffee Cup Clean?Image by The Rocketeer via FlickrDoe, Poe, Cut, Cup, Pup!

I never knew these sounds could be so difficult!

I just finished Brain Fitness lesson six. These exercises are simple in structure but challenging in practice. And, it's clear that what's challenging for me isn't going to be the same as what's challenging for you.

I'm amazed by the relearning process. It happens pretty quickly. I was having a terrible time discriminating between two sounds. I went to the practice button and listened to the sounds over and over for about a minute and suddenly I could hear the difference so distinctly that, for a minute, I thought they must have changed it!

Brain plasticity in action. As they say, it's not your hearing that's the problem. It's processing the sounds. And, you can relearn that. Wow!
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Monday, January 05, 2009

Brain Fitness Is Installed and Ready to Go

Radiograph of my head -  Do you find my brain?Image by alles-schlumpf via FlickrWell, my guess was right. Posit Science was closed Friday and didn't change their message. Nasty me, I couldn't resist chiding David about their lack of customer focus when he followed up on my Friday message this noontime.

Anyway, David was very gracious and sorted out the problem quickly and confidently. It was one of those Windows software protection options several layers deep. Glenn had changed it from the default. Once it was changed back we were in business.

So, tomorrow is day one. I've decided to make it the first thing in my day -- before the phone starts ringing and I feel the pressure to respond.

I'll keep you posted.
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Saturday, January 03, 2009

Brain Fitness or Crossword Puzzles?

{{de|:de:Phrenologie}}Image via WikipediaNot too long ago an assisted living client included Brain Fitness in a grant I was writing for them. I'd never heard of Brain Fitness so I did a bit of research and was impressed -- the research supports the brain's plasticity and the testimonials are impressive.

The benefits have been rolling around in the back of my mind since then. It costs a hefty sum for the two-person versions of both the visual and auditory products -- almost $900 before the Holiday discount and the rebates upon completion -- but I decided I'd invest, a Christmas present for Glenn and me.

Several of our friends are interested in how it goes so I decided to write about our experience here.

Here's our first installment.

Installation Nightmare
The package arrived New Year's Eve but we weren't ready to get started until Friday. We ordered both the Brain Fitness and Insight products for two figuring we'd work on different products and compare notes.

The installation directions seemed straight forward. We're both computer savvy, and Glenn hovers on the border of geekiness, so we expected no problems.

Closed all running programs. Addressed the firewall. Installed. Nothing. Neither program installed correctly. Uninstall. Reboot. Reinstall. Nothing.

Two different machines, two different programs. Nothing.

Checked the website. Little troubleshooting help, none that addressed our problems.

Called the support line - open Monday thru Friday.
The message -- "Support is helping other customers. Leave a message or hold on."
After holding for 15 minutes, I was switched automatically to the message system.
Then, no one called me back.

Here's my guess: It was yesterday, the Friday after New Years, and no one was there -- but they didn't change their message. A company run by academics who haven't made the switch to a customer focus. They run the company for their own convenience. Take the long weekend off. After all, school is closed. Don't even bother to change the phone message or put a notice on the website. Grrrrrr.

So, we've had a rocky start. No way to resolve the issues until Monday.

  • What if we were 80 year-olds, counting on a family member who works 9-5 to install for us? (We work from home at our computers; we'll be here Monday.)
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