Ep 148: Why Nonprofits Are Still Messy in 2021 (with Jim Axelrod)

by Joan Garry

It’s the one-year anniversary of the second edition of my book, Nonprofits Are Messy. Listen in as my friend and neighbor, CBS correspondent Jim Axelrod and I chat about my book, nonprofit fundraising, and the real reason so many small nonprofits are messy.


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Leading a small but mighty nonprofit is not easy — but these organizations are the bedrock of every community we live in. In this special episode of our podcast, my friend and neighbor, CBS Correspondent, Jim Axelrod, joins me to talk about why.

There are 1.5 million nonprofit organizations in the United States, and in many ways, they are the backbone of this society of ours. But, despite the important role these organizations play in their communities, many of them lack the support and resources they need to really thrive.

Yet somehow, small nonprofit organizations around our country continue to do remarkable things. Just imagine the world we could create if these organizations had all the resources and support they need — all the time.

This is one of the many reasons why I was so inspired to write my book, Nonprofits Are Messy. I wanted to write the book that I wish I could have read in my first ED job at a very messy nonprofit.

It’s been one year since the second edition came out, and so much has changed in our sector, while some things have remained the same. As we continue to push through the ongoing pandemic, nonprofits are needed now more than ever — but they are also hungrier for resources than ever.

In today’s special episode of our podcast, my neighbor, CBS correspondent Jim Axelrod, interviews me at a book launch event hosted by our local bookstore in Montclair, NJ, Watchung Booksellers. I invite you to listen in to this virtual salon where Jim and I discuss why so many small nonprofits are messy (i.e. under-resourced), the art and science of nonprofit fundraising, and the the struggles and heroics of nonprofits across the country since the beginning of the ongoing pandemic.

Listen to learn:

  • What has been the long-term impact of the ongoing pandemic on small nonprofit organizations?
  • What is the art and science of nonprofit fundraising?
  • What can small nonprofits learn from Nonprofits Are Messy?
  • Why is it so important for nonprofit leaders to keep their north star vision?
  • How does the second edition of Nonprofits Are Messy differ for the first one?


Contact Jim Axelrod

About Jim Axelrod:

Jim Axelrod is the chief investigative and senior national correspondent for CBS News, reporting for “CBS Mornings,” the “CBS Evening News,” “CBS Sunday Morning,” and other CBS News broadcasts.

While at CBS News, Axelrod has covered a broad range of domestic and international stories, notably the war in Iraq and the American invasion of Afghanistan. In 2003, Axelrod was the first television journalist to report live from Baghdad’s Saddam International Airport immediately after it fell to U.S. troops. His live coverage of the U.S. Army firing artillery rounds into Iraqi positions was the first to be broadcast by a reporter embedded with ground troops engaged in combat in Iraq. Axelrod also covered the departure of U.S. troops from Iraq and was the last reporter to leave with the military in December 2011.

Axelrod’s investigative journalism has been honored with a Peabody Award for his series on West Virginia’s opioid addiction crisis, a George Polk Award for his work , and an Edward R. Murrow award for his reporting on the genetic testing industry. He was also part of the CBS News team honored with a 2010 duPont-Columbia Silver Baton for “CBS Reports: Children of the Recession.” Axelrod also won Emmy awards in 2002, 2014 and 2016.

Born in New Brunswick, New Jersey, Axelrod was graduated from Cornell University in 1985 with a bachelor of arts in history and from Brown University in 1989 with a master of arts in history.

Axelrod is the author of “In The Long Run: A Father, A Son, and Unintentional Lessons In Happiness,” which was published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in 2011.

He and his wife, Christina, have three children and live in Montclair, New Jersey.