The Podcast

Nonprofits are messy

Answering the most pressing questions faced by nonprofit leaders around the world, my podcast is created for the heroic leaders in our society who commit themselves to public service – executive directors, senior staff, heads of school, development professionals, board leaders, and many more who provide service to the nonprofit sector.

Our goal is simple. We aim to find just the right expert to answer the questions on the minds of our listeners. And in so doing, we offer a conversational forum that will inform, entertain and inspire.


Subscribe on Apple Podcasts
Subscribe on Android
Subscribe on Google Podcasts
Subscribe on Spotify

Ep 206: The Nonprofit Sector’s PR Problem – And How We Can Fix It

The nonprofit sector has a serious PR problem that impacts its ability to garner adequate support. Nonprofit leaders have a powerful opportunity to be ambassadors and advocates for the sector as a whole. In this episode, I make a poignant call to action for nonprofit leaders everywhere to rally to the side of saving public perception of the important work they do.

Ep. 205: The Power and Influence of the Nonprofit Sector

with Dr. Akilah Watkins

Let’s discuss collective nonprofit power – what it is, what it isn’t, and what the nonprofit sector could do to harness it. To do more good in the world, we need to stand in our collective power which includes, ironically, taking a seat at the table.

Ep 204: Build Your Volunteer Dream Team

with Matt Miszewski

Need to build capacity? Fix your fundraising? Graphics design or marketing? HR support? Then you need to know about Catchafire, an organization that is bridging paths to stronger communities by aligning nonprofits with expert volunteers.

Ep 203: Can You Answer These 10 Funder Questions?

Congrats! A funder is considering donating to your nonprofit and they have questions. For some, this request instills panic. Here is how to prepare!

Ep 202: The Master of Mobilizing Movements

with Jeremy Heimans

Since he was 8 years old, Jeremy Heimans has been mobilizing movements that galvanize people for social change. He is the guru to ask about how to reach people and motivate them to take action. In this episode, he shares his insights.

Ep 201: Cultural Intelligence: A Major Key to a Thriving Nonprofit

with Dr. Pablo Otaola

You’ve heard of IQ and EQ. But, CQ is the third intelligence that empowers a nonprofit leader to mightily drive the mission with the strong, rallying support of a unified team. Listen in to learn what CQ is, how it works, and why it matters in the nonprofit landscape like never before.

Ep 200: The 200th Episode: Gratitude & Observations About This Amazing Journey

Releasing episode 200 of the Nonprofits Are Messy podcast is a milestone. It has been a journey full of insights, observations, and a big fat “I told you so”. This is a look back at how far we’ve come together.

Ep 199: The Fearless Election Year Fundraising Plan

with Tom Kissane

Conservative and risk-averse boards tend to lower expectations and pull back on fundraising during an election year. In this episode with Tom Kissane, Vice Chairman of CCS Fundraising, he shares compelling reasons to go boldly forward with your organization’s fundraising efforts in 2024.

Ep 198: Challenging the Status Quo in Long-Standing Organizations

with Cica Dadjo

What is the secret to implementing DEI strategy in long-standing nonprofit organizations? Cica Dadjo, Chief GEDI at the IRC, shares universal lessons that can help nonprofit leaders disrupt the status quo of organizational culture.

Ep 197: Stop Calling It Microaggressions: A Call To Action To Intercept Subtle Acts Of Exclusion

with Dr. Tiffany Jana

It is a misnomer. There is nothing ‘micro’ about microaggression. What is the real meaning of microaggression, what should it truly be called, and how can a leader recognize and take action to tackle it? Dr. Tiffany Jana shares her insights, why she has stopped using the word ‘crazy’, and what organizations can do to create a culture of awareness.

Find an Episode

Required Listening


No one should attempt to work at or lead a nonprofit (or maybe any company) without Joan! Always timely and relevant.”

Thank You!


“I run a national nonprofit, large in reach and impact, but small on budget. I’ve been gobbling up resources and at times feel like I’m boing an ocean as I click through the hyperlinks on Google docs, looking for the answer on how to lead and do the right thing in a global pandemic! Joan kindly reminds the listener that the answers are within us and are core to our leadership attributes, and coaches the listener on how to focus and pivot with great suggestions and resources. Thank you!”

Best Thing Ever!


“This is my new favorite podcast! Joan knows her stuff and she had a great guest who also knows their stuff! Every episode is interesting and informative. I highly recommend this podcast to anyone working in the nonprofit!”

Best Nonprofit Podcast!


“Real, in-depth interviews that provide tangible steps and tools to nonprofits!”

So Informative!


“I just started listening to this podcast and I have already learned so much that I can immediately apply to my job and my organization. Thank you for the extremely relevant and practical information and discussion. It has already made me see my job in a new light!”

Nonprofits Are Messy is typically listed as #1 in the nonprofit category on Apple Podcasts!

Want to learn more? Download our one-sheet.





Request your invitation

The Nonprofit Leadership Lab

With more than 5,000 active members, the Nonprofit Leadership Lab is the world’s most effective
and supportive online membership program for board and staff leaders of smaller nonprofits.