Quaking Soul Review

Happy Fourth of July! This holiday makes me think of vacations and reading good books. This week we take a break from nonprofit work to celebrate the launch of a book I was privileged to read as an advance reader. I love fiction, and especially fiction that is a page-turner. To be fair, I usually don’t go for adventure fantasy, but I will follow the Hidden Mystics series because the first one was SO good!

Quaking Soul gripped me from page 1. I wanted to know what would happen next, so I finished the book in a week. Plan a vacation so you have time to read this book (or plan on getting no sleep); You won’t want to put this book down!

Jennifer M. Zeigler’s writing style keeps the action going while not forgetting the storyline. I’m not a big fan of action scenes, but Jennifer knows how to make it work! The many unexpected and clever twists and turns in the plotline keep me from getting bored. Predictable plotlines drive me crazy. Even worse are characters who do things out of character—you expect them to behave in accordance with their personalities. In Quaking Soul, the unpredictability of actions in addition to the predictability of her characters is a careful balance and Jennifer does it with ease. Her talents shine is this novel, and I can’t wait to read the next book from her. What a treat.

Thank you, Jennifer, for delighting me and your many other readers with such a great novel!

I have received a copy of this book for a fair and honest review. (And then, I bought a half-dozen copies to give away!)

© 2021, Mollie Bond. All rights reserved. Originally published at www.molliebond.org.

Note: I did not receive any compensation for this blog post. I recommend books, products, or services that I have enjoyed using and believe you will benefit from as well. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

How To Start Succession Planning

But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.

John 16:7

It was a momentous occasion. In a meeting about fundraising, one of the board members said, “It’s no longer your vision, it’s our vision.” When a leader is able to communicate the vision in such a way that others grasp it and start to call it their own, the first step toward succession planning has taken place.

Many nonprofits struggle with Founder’s Syndrome. That is when the founder is such a charismatic figure in the nonprofit that no one can imagine the nonprofit without that individual. In other words, the nonprofit is the person. While that means the nonprofit can thrive for quite some time, it also means that when that person leaves or passes away, so does the nonprofit. The good work stops, the people flounder looking for another resource, and there is no legacy for future generations.

Jesus knew about Founder’s Syndrome. He knew that succession planning and support systems are important. He also knew that it would take many people (not just one) to continue the work. He gave us the Holy Spirit, which lives in every believer, to ensure that the good work can continue.

If you are part of a nonprofit, consider what would happen if you stepped away tomorrow. Who would step up and do what you are doing? Do they know how to be the most successful? They may not do it exactly the same, but would they have the tools to be successful?

Challenge: Take time today to identify one or two people who would be great in your place. What is the first thing you need to do to empower them to take over when the time is right? Like this post when you have that name and next step in mind.

Pre-order Hopelessly Hopeful During Separation, a 28-day devotional for people who are separated from their spouse because of marital struggles, before September 28, 2021. A pre-order helps make the book more visible on September 28. Thanks!!

Find me on Facebook @HopelesslyHopefulBooks. https://www.facebook.com/HopelesslyHopefulBooks

Photo by Mantas Hesthaven on Unsplash

© 2021, Mollie Bond. All rights reserved. Originally published at www.molliebond.org.

What to do When Someone Leaves

Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked. The day on which this took place was a Sabbath, and so the Jewish leaders said to the man who had been healed, “It is the Sabbath; the law forbids you to carry your mat.”

But he replied, “The man who made me well said to me, ‘Pick up your mat and walk.’

So they asked him, “Who is this fellow who told you to pick it up and walk?”

The man who was healed had no idea who it was, for Jesus had slipped away into the crowd that was there.

John 5:8-13

When staff leave, it’s not easy. You lose talent, institutional knowledge, and, most likely, sleep.

A leader once told me that when her staff left, it wasn’t what she wanted. However, it presented her with the opportunity to be “on the front lines” again. She got to interact with clients, linking arms with her staff in the day-to-day tasks, and it warmed her heart. It had been decades since she took the administrative role and had been one step removed from the direct client service. Being so far from the action—the reason why most gets involved in a nonprofit—is necessary and can also be hard.

Jesus was in the action. And sometimes he was instructing those who were in the action, like an administrator. He did what He could for people. But don’t miss three lessons.

1) Jesus did what He could for the person in front of Him. Jesus helped the person become whole who wanted it. He also helped the Pharisees learn and see. For those who were open, Jesus was available. Whether you directly serve people or if you serve the people indirectly, serve the person in front of you. Serve who you see.

2) The second lesson in this passage is that the Jewish leaders questioned the person and missed the miracle. They had their standard and didn’t pause long enough to recognize the person in front of them—one that was unable to walk was now walking. Don’t miss the miracle.

3) Which leads to the third lesson: Look for the wonder. The leaders had a moment to stop and take in the wonder. Recognizing the grace for the day in themselves and in this other could have restored faith. It could have been a mile-marker day. But instead, it became a day when they couldn’t walk a mile in another’s shoes. Being open to the wonder of God will wow you. Look for the wonder.

Serve who is in front of you.

Don’t miss the miracle.

Look for the wonder.

And get more sleep should your staff move on to other successes. You’ll have another miracle, another wonder-full moment if you serve who is before you—whether that is a client, board member, donor, staff, or volunteer.

Which lesson will you be watching for today? Perhaps it is God, perhaps it is another person. Be on the lookout, and then share your story on Facebook @HopelesslyHopefulBooks. https://www.facebook.com/HopelesslyHopefulBooks

Pre-order Hopelessly Hopeful During Separation, a 28-day devotional for people who are separated from their spouse because of marital struggles, before September 28, 2021. A pre-order helps make the book more visible on September 28. Thanks!!

Photo by Gemma Evans on Unsplash

© 2021, Mollie Bond. All rights reserved. Originally published at www.molliebond.org.

When You Feel Guilty About Leaving

When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets. Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him.

Mark 1:19-20

My clients—women who are feeling stuck in the nonprofit sector—often feel guilty over leaving their role, whether that is volunteer, staff, or board member. Most likely, the attraction to the nonprofit sector began because they could fulfill a need and found a place that suited their passion and style. And, of course, they connected with the nonprofit’s pursuit to make the world a better place. But what happens when those needs are no longer a challenge? What happens when she totters on the edge of burnout? What happens when the woman knows it’s time to move on, but can’t because the thought of that exposed need is uncomfortable?

Jesus knew the needs. He knew when people needed him, and he was the only one who could do what would make them whole. He also knew when to leave.

In fact, the people he called to be part of his team left the job. Not with a month’s notice. Quite literally, they left the job unfinished, when the clock on the shift was running, with the need exposed. Even worse, it was the family business! Yet, they left.

Jesus says elsewhere that the poor will be on the earth for as long as the earth exists (Matthew 26:11). The work of those in the nonprofit sector will never be done. The need for one more person, one more passion, one more service to make this world better for one more person will exist.

And sometimes, you have to leave before the celebration from a job well done. If you know that your time at a particular nonprofit is drawing to a close, consider taking the following steps:

  1. Be honest with yourself, and those around you in what is coming next in your life.
  2. Wrap up as many projects and tasks that makes sense, or at least to a place where the next step launches a new phase. Do the things only you can do. Settle yourself in knowing the work won’t be done when you are done.
  3. Find your finish line through prayer. There will be things undone but being able to say you are done is powerful.
  4. Pray for the person who will be the next to fill the gap. Pray for their growth, and empowerment to bring their own strengths and flavor to the role. Ask the God of Peace to provide for that person…and for you!

Once Jesus calls, you must follow; Even with undone tasks and projects.

Prayer: Jesus, I can appreciate feeling needed at a nonprofit. But I know you have great plans for me, and for the people in the nonprofit I serve. May I be attentive to your call when it is time for me to move on.

Do you have a finish line in your sights? Like this post so I can pray with you, or share your story on Facebook. @HopelesslyHopefulBooks. https://www.facebook.com/HopelesslyHopefulBooks

Pre-order Hopelessly Hopeful During Separation, a 28-day devotional for people who are separated from their spouse because of marital struggles, before September 28, 2021. A pre-order helps make the book more visible on September 28. Thanks!!

Photo by Mitchell Ng Liang an on Unsplash

© 2021, Mollie Bond. All rights reserved. Originally published at www.molliebond.org.

Hopelessly Hopeful During Separation

You know that feeling when you have finished a big project? That satisfaction, pride, and enjoyment? I’m feeling that this week and wanted to share it with you. This week, I’m sidestepping the usual devotional for exciting news you won’t want to miss.

It is with great joy that I am able to announce that Hopelessly Hopeful During Separation will be released on September 28, 2021! This short book is a 28-day devotional designed not to help a person determine if divorce or reconciliation is the path forward, but simply a hand to hold when no hope is found.

Would you consider helping me in one of four ways? The first should only take you a minute:

  1. Share my Facebook post, pinned to the top of this page.
  2. Pre-order your copy (or two!). Please pre-order a copy or sharing with friends who would benefit before September 28. The more pre-orders, the more visible the book becomes on Amazon when it is released.
  3. Save the date for September 28. There will be a launch party, with guest speakers and celebration!
  4. Save your spot on the launch team. This group of people will be invited to the virtual launch party on September 28. Before then, I’ll send you ways to help share about the book. For each action you take and let me know about, the more points you earn. The more points you earn, the more times you are entered into a raffle for prizes after the party! Want in? Email me at mollie@nonprofitsonamission.com and I’ll get you started on the first Points for Prizes activity.

Pre-order Hopelessly Hopeful During Separation, a 28-day devotional for people who are separated from their spouse because of marital struggles, before September 28, 2021. A pre-order helps make the book more visible on September 28. Thanks!!

Find the latest on Facebook @HopelesslyHopefulBooks. https://www.facebook.com/HopelesslyHopefulBooks

© 2021, Mollie Bond. All rights reserved. Originally published at www.molliebond.org.

Are You Failing as You Finish?

…but he comes so that the world may learn that I love the Father and do exactly what my Father has commanded me.

“Come now; let us leave.”

John 14:31b

I was at a conference where a woman shared her struggles about succession planning, but she wasn’t struggling with finding the next leader. She knew her executive director was making plans for her to take over, and she didn’t want to take the lead. It’s not the first time I’ve heard this expressed from a female nonprofit leader; That while they love the organization, they don’t want to lead the organization. Oftentimes, the desire to be on the front lines instead of administration, or younger children at home, or even just evaluating the hours a top leader puts in is enough to keep a woman from wanting to be the leader.

In this particular case, she felt that if she were to leave, that the organization would be let down…that there was no one who could fill her shoes and enter leadership within the next year or two. Not only would the executive director be leaving, but also the one who had been in training for 11 years. That’s no small decision, knowing the organization might flounder.

Yet, she said something profound that has rattled in my mind. While thinking about what would be left undone, and what would be difficult for the organization to achieve without her institutional knowledge, she felt a deep sense of failure on her part for leaving. The guilt of knowing that it would be difficult for new leaders to learn the lessons she learned. And then, she realized that “it’s not failure. It’s a finish line.” What profound words.

How many times do we continue to push, just one more task, campaign, year…only to realize there’s another task, campaign, year? How many times do we claim that this job was the calling, and that without it we aren’t doing what God “wants?” How many times do we determine that our vocation is our calling, when in fact, it may be part of the calling, but not the ultimate vision God has for us?

In her release of the guilt and responsibility, this woman physically looked happier, brighter, and more loving. She found what Jesus may illuminated in John 14:31.

Jesus sets the example to do what our Father says to do. But he doesn’t stick around to make sure that everything gets done the way we want it, or that the person coming after doesn’t experience failure. Rather, Jesus makes a bold statement that he does “exactly what my Father has commanded” (emphasis mine), and then, he leaves.

Quite literally, the disciples hear the lessons of how to love well and prepare better, and then they physically leave the room. However, metaphorically, I see how this could be an indication that after we have done what God said to do, we leave. There’s no permanency. When the task is done, leave. It’s not failure, it’s a finish line.

Don’t get stuck in the prep work or the guilt of moving on. When it’s clear it’s time, finish, even when it feels like failure. The leaving is a way to follow God’s command.

In what spaces are you potentially hindering the mission because you feel guilty for stopping? Where are you stuck in leaving? If the struggle is real for you, give a like on Facebook so I can pray for you. @HopelesslyHopefulBooks. https://www.facebook.com/HopelesslyHopefulBooks

Attend a free one-hour webinar, Organize Your Organization on this Thursday, June 3 at 5:30 pm Pacific Time. This webinar is to help you set up your organization, and also a few tips on how to organize your own work. Register here.

Photo by Leon Seibert on Unsplash

© 2021, Mollie Bond. All rights reserved. Originally published at www.molliebond.org.

What are Your Habits?

Some wanted to seize him, but no one laid a hand on him…but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them.

John 7:44; 8:1-2

Email, meetings, donor calls. Or maybe, clients, reports, timecard. Or perhaps, payroll, complaint, handbook. Our days fill with what our roles require. However, we have the power to choose and end each day with a routine that allows for consistency. And, as John Maxwell says, “Consistency compounds.” What you do on a daily basis grows into easier tasks, stronger projects, and more strategic living and working. Habits are the key to consistency.

Habits provide comfort and stability, and habits can also pave the way for growth. Those things that you mark daily or tick off in routine can advance your mission if you have intentional habits. To start building your habits, try these steps:

  1. Review all your projects. I mean all your projects. David Allen has a great system in Getting Things Done, and perhaps one more project you want to add is to read his book (or listen to the audiobook as you collect your “open loops!”)
  2. Categorize: Doing, Done, Delegate, Defer.
  3. Out of the doing, what are things only you can do? What will most likely advance the mission?
  4. What are the three things that must be done daily—consistently—to create forward motion? Those are your habits.
  5. Create an ideal week. Literally make a week calendar of what you would do if the world was your oyster and you could do whatever it took to advance the mission. (See a link for my favorite template here.) Make sure your “doing” is on the calendar, as well as your habits.

It’s been said that to know a person’s passions and priorities you only need to look at a bank statement and a calendar. It seems to me that Jesus’ calendar included death threats, prayer, and teaching.

Jesus had done some miraculous work. There were threats on his life, but he went to the Mount of Olives. There are other occasions where Jesus goes to the Mount. Perhaps it was a place of retreat, a habit of prayer and peace. I imagine that Jesus got away so that he could engage in the work again. The habit formed a multiplying effect. In other words, the habit of getting away made way for productivity.

What are those habits that help you engage in the work? What is your sanctuary? When do you go? Share your three “musts” that you do each day on Facebook. @HopelesslyHopefulBooks. https://www.facebook.com/HopelesslyHopefulBooks

Make it a habit to invest in yourself and become more productive! Attend a free one-hour webinar, Organize Your Organization on Thursday, June 3 at 5:30 pm Pacific Time. This webinar is to help you set up your organization, and also a few tips on how to organize your own work. Register here.

Photo by Jason Hogan on Unsplash

© 2021, Mollie Bond. All rights reserved. Originally published at www.molliebond.org.

Note: I did not receive any compensation for this blog post. Some of the links above are “affiliate links.” If you use this link, I receive a small affiliate commission. I recommend books, products, or services that I have enjoyed using and believe you will benefit from as well. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

What if I Don’t Want To?

But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet to warn the people and the sword comes and takes the life of one of them, that man will be taken away because of his sin, but I will hold the watchman accountable for his blood.

Ezekiel 33:6

You know that part of the job you don’t like to do? Everyone has that one task that drags on them. The one that you avoid, postpone, procrastinate on doing is usually the one that isn’t quite as fun. And yet, necessary.

Nonprofit work is fun. There’s an element of creativity, innovation, and passion which adds up to bringing new ways of serving. The mission is in sight—if only it weren’t for that one task standing in your way!

There are certainly parts of nonprofit work that aren’t as fun. The paperwork and reports, the failed events and lack of funds, the clients that won’t apply themselves and the volunteers who don’t show. The things that can’t be delegated to someone with that strength, or isn’t available, or it’s just flat out your responsibility. These parts are necessary, but not fun.

Some nonprofit leaders shy away from the hard or the parts that make them uncomfortable. They hem and haw, procrastinate, whine. As leaders, though, they should set the tempo for holding the ground and pushing through those necessary tasks. Sooner or later, leaders are held to account. In other words, accountability counts.

God holds people accountable. In my Bible, I wrote next to today’s verse, “I am not responsible for their reaction, but to obey what God asks of me.” This verse reminds me of another that motivates me to stay accountable in the same chapter: “Yet, O house of Israel, you say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ But I will judge each of you according to his own ways” (Ezekiel 33:20). If God holds us accountable to do as He asks, we should also hold ourselves and our employees accountable, too.

How do you hold someone accountable? Try these:

  • Set a deadline. If you or the other person miss it, get curious and ask why. A lack of motivation doesn’t count.
  • Set an award. Find what brings a little joy and save it for after the hard task.
  • Set the intention. Realize (together) why this is a need, and communicate it in a way that will resonate. This can’t be done without knowing you or a person better. Understand why this task is a road blocker and help the person to see the importance of what is before them (or you).
  • Set the stage by asking questions. Learn how much of a need this is, and how much of it is something that would be nice to have and can move to stage left. Your expectation may not be met, but it may not need to be met.
  • Set your eyes on the horizon. Look at your mission and see how this piece fits into the grander vision. A shifting of perspective can motivate to stay accountable.
  • Set the outcome. Establish what success looks like. Low hanging fruit is easier to pluck, so consider what is the next success if it is a larger task or project.

Perhaps these quick ideas are ones you can apply when there’s something you will be held accountable to, but isn’t your favorite thing to do. In the end, fun or not, nonprofit work is valuable to your community. Your work is valuable. Staying accountable gets you one step closer to the mission that can change the world.

What do you do to stay accountable and motivated? Share your tip on Facebook @HopelesslyHopefulBooks. https://www.facebook.com/HopelesslyHopefulBooks

If organizing your organization is what is that unlovely task that is holding you back from productivity, join me for a FREE webinar on Thursday, June 3 at 5:30 pm Pacific Time. Register here.

Photo by Vidar Nordli-Mathisen on Unsplash

© 2021, Mollie Bond. All rights reserved. Originally published at www.molliebond.org.

What To Do With Problems

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

John 16:33

If you work in the nonprofit sector, then you know of problems. Problems in getting clients the support they need, problems with internal systems, problems with budgets and paperwork. Personnel problems, software problems, facility problems. It’s a lot of problems that may overwhelm a person! So, how do you overcome all these problems?

I read recently in John Maxwell’s Everyone Communicates Few Connect that there will always be problems. The goal is not to live void of problems, but have better problems. A better problem is one that means you are on track to reaching your mission. For example, your current software program isn’t flexible in the way that your growing nonprofit needs it to be, and so now you have the problem of finding a different software solution. Or, you had an event that brought in so much money that your team is maxed out on entering in donations, calling donors, and storing the new banners. Those are better problems to have than the alternative—an event that didn’t bring in donations and donors, or no need for new marketing materials.

There’s even better advice to share on better problems. Jesus says to have peace. You will have troubles. It’s a reminder I need too; Next to this verse, I wrote my name to remind myself that I am not immune from problems.

So, the next time you run into a problem (and you will), consider first if this is a better problem. And then, take heart and ask Jesus for the peace that has overcome the world.

Prayer: Jesus, problems aren’t fun, but I know You didn’t promise a problem-free life. Help me when I run into problems and give me a creative spirit when I have better problems. Thank You for supplying me with peace in those situations.

Will you choose peace today? If so, give a like to this post on Facebook @HopelesslyHopefulBooks. https://www.facebook.com/HopelesslyHopefulBooks

Photo by Colton Duke on Unsplash

© 2021, Mollie Bond. All rights reserved. Originally published at www.molliebond.org.

Note: I did not receive any compensation for this blog post. Some of the links above are “affiliate links.” If you use this link, I receive a small affiliate commission. I recommend books, products, or services that I have enjoyed using and believe you will benefit from as well. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

To Begin a Nonprofit, Be Trustworthy

Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. So, if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own?

Luke 16:10-12

We ran into each other in the hall at work. She was an extraordinary student I got to know through her part-time job with my department. Her story of trial and triumph was inspirational—foster care to serving in Africa—and she truly had a passion to help people who had experienced what she had. So, as we walked the halls, she asked, “What tips do you have for a new nonprofit?”

To which I answered, “Who are you currently helping?” The slightly awkward pause told me that this particular student didn’t help anyone…yet. She hadn’t asked what her community needed…yet. She hadn’t been among those she wanted to help…yet. She had a passion and an experience, but not the trust factor with clients, donors, or volunteers to be in a place to start the nonprofit.

Did she have the passion? Yes. Did she have the capabilities? Yes, to a fault. You see, this student had already started 3 other nonprofits before which had permanently closed. The conversation reminded me of a mentor who once told me there are those who start things, and those who maintain things. You need both in life.

Starting a nonprofit is fun. It is also hard work. No one starts in greatness, with a stable influx of clients, flush with cash, and every programmatic element running smoothly to help millions of people in the first year. And, if it does happen, there’s often a sharp incline downward because the experience needed to handle crises hasn’t formed yet. Rather than celebrating centuries of service, they celebrate completion when the nonprofit closes its doors.

Jesus teaches us that to be trustworthy with big things (like big vision and big plans), prove yourself trustworthy with the small things. If you are involved with a big nonprofit, this means taking care of the little things, like paperwork, donors who don’t give large donations, and responding to the many requests for the many needs. It may seem insignificant, but it is a step toward trustworthiness. As Dr. John C. Maxwell states, “Consistency compounds.” These consistent actions over time will prove yourself capable to handle the bigger issues and challenges larger nonprofits face.

On the other hand, if you are a smaller nonprofit, get good first (Paul Martinelli). Develop your people, processes, and policies to be timeless resources. Prove yourself trustworthy with all the small details. And, while you’re not looking, you’ll grow into that world-renown nonprofit helping millions.

And if you are a student looking to impact people who have experienced a past similar to yours, use that. There’s no need to get a 501c3 to extend a hand or provide a listening ear. You don’t need millions of dollars to connect with another and ask how you can help. A systematic program doesn’t need to be followed by the one you are helping. Go, make a difference in your community one person at a time. And then ask, “What tips do you have for a new nonprofit?”

What will you do to help another person today? Share your story on Facebook @HopelesslyHopefulBooks. https://www.facebook.com/HopelesslyHopefulBooks

Photo by Tim Marshall on Unsplash

© 2021, Mollie Bond. All rights reserved. Originally published at www.molliebond.org.

Note: I did not receive any compensation for this blog post. Some of the links above are “affiliate links.” If you use this link, I receive a small affiliate commission. I recommend books, products, or services that I have enjoyed using and believe you will benefit from as well. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.