Joan Garry’s Blog: A Guided Tour

by Joan Garry

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I find myself gobsmacked by the number of folks who write me each week and the volume of new subscribers who join my tribe.

Mostly humbled. Knowing that I can add some value, insights, levity or all of the above to your week and in so doing, help you to feel more confident, capable, less alone (and less crazy?) gives me such a sense of satisfaction.

Last week, as I tried to answer emails from subscribers, I realized that I can often point someone to a piece already on the site.

So using emails from my subscribers as a guidepost, this week I thought it might be useful to give you a guided tour of the blog by highlighting some of the posts tribe members have found most valuable.

I think there will be something useful for everyone.


The Five Attributes of a Great Executive Director

The key word in this very popular post is ATTRIBUTES because it focuses not on what you DO but who you ARE.  And I use a puppet to make my case. Yes, a puppet.

Five Ways to Make Sure Your Best Employees Never Leave

If I were to create a “word cloud” of all the emails you all send, I believe the word “burnout” would be the largest. The best way to avoid burnout? Focus on what to do to retain your stars.

Nonprofit Retreats The Right Way

Retreats are a big investment of both time and money. So many of us have been to retreats we can barely remember. The action items and commitments that are made go into a folder on your desktop marked “Retreat” and that folder is opened only 6 weeks before the next retreat (if ever) and with nothing accomplished. This piece shows it does not have to be like that.


Readers will notice that this blog is intended for both the paid and unpaid leaders of the organization. I love that so many of my tribe members are board members and that they get value in what they find here.

How To Select First Rate Board Members

This may be the number one question I am asked by both board and staff leaders. It is usually preceded by the word HELP!!!

How To Write A Good Board Report

The popularity of this one surprised me until I realized that everyone on my blog either has to write one or read one. Board members are typically not clear about what they want and need until you’ve already finished writing that 16-page report that took you way too long. And then nobody on the board reads it anyway.

10 Smart Questions Board Members Should Ask

So often board members complain that they are talked at for hours at board meetings (“bored” meetings?). From the opposite perspective, many Executive Directors don’t want to hear from board members – “Just let me do my job.” Well, that’s not how it’s supposed to work. So to change the dynamic, I encourage board members to raise their hands and start asking good questions. Here are 10.


Why Do So Many Nonprofits Live and Die By Special Events?

Board members love ‘em. Staff members hate ‘em. What’s the problem? Read on.

What Makes A Great Board Fundraising Committee?

I won’t give away the answer but I will tell you what the answer isn’t. The answer is not “supervise the development staff” or “make sure the development staff is doing its job.” In fact, the right answer is a lot closer to “make sure that the board is doing its job!”

Interview Questions for Development Directors

I shake my head (left to right) when I hear something like: “Let’s say you are lucky enough to have the resources to hire a full-time development staff member.” Here’s a guide to making sure you hire a star.


Ten Things to Do When You Are Having A Bad Day

Even if you don’t read the whole thing, click to watch the video at the beginning. This is you every day. You’re in the major leagues and sometimes you fall down. Falling down isn’t failure. It’s about how you get up.

The Top 12 Reasons To Work At A Nonprofit

I wrote this because there are so many days at the office, so many moments at the boardroom table, when it’s not always so clear. Here’s a piece that reminds you what it’s all really about.


I don’t want you to feel overwhelmed by what’s available here. If you have a specific question, we have a search box on just about every page on the site. Use it.

Or, if you prefer, you can always do a Google search and if I’ve covered it you’ll likely find my content near the top of your results.

There are also pages on the site that help organize the content for different people. For example:

Nonprofit leaders need all the resources they can get. What you do is so important.

The world is counting on your success.