Upliftingstshirts dot see eh website

The Aftermath of UpliftingT-shirts.ca | eps 40 #InTheLab

“It worked, it really worked!”

We went into this class not knowing what to expect. It was my first time teaching entrepreneurship and I wasn’t going to pass up an opportunity for some hands on learning!! A few weeks back before we started UpliftingTshirts.ca I filmed this #InTheLab episode asking the question, how do you teach entrepreneurship?  At that time I had no idea what would happen with our newly founded company disguised as an experiment disguised as a class.

A business disguised as an experiment disguised as a class

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Capital C the Movie

The Sharing Economy: The Biggest Change Since The Industrial Revolution

Presented Nov 24th at the Regina Realtors Association Business builder day. Here are some of the videos we had a look at.
From the documentary on Netflix, Capital C comes the story of “Freaker USA”. One of the coolest Kickstarter success stories.

Freaker Kickstarter from freakerusa on Vimeo.

Next to put into perspective what goes on in a given year of search on Google.


Finally when you get depressed about when someone says something bad to you online watch this:

Country Music artists read out angry tweets written about them.

I don’t think you can find a better song about the new online world. And Alanis Morissette just had a way speaking to my soul. Hope you enjoy!

 

Want to see a brand new website the @Stratlab team just launched? Welcome to Normanview Dental

At Normanview Dental we want to see you smile-dentists regina

Every Cool company needs a t shirt

Why Your Company Needs a T-Shirt || Eps 26 #InTheLab

T-shirt marketing has been around for years. I’m not sure who started it, probably someone who loved making people smile. Any way, what we wear has changed so much over the years. Clothing can affect the way you think(peoples’ perception of you changes), from the psychology of social signalling and Status Anxiety, to understanding that most of what we do is centred around attracting the opposite sex (see the book Spent for a fascinating look into this theory).

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humans vs robots

Humans vs Robots || Eps 21 #InTheLab

Humans vs Robots, a series of Podcasts produced by NPR’s Planet Money Podcast that are nothing short of amazing. The first one I listened to on the way to presentation in Saskatoon, I used one of the stories in my presentation. It was that good!

As the human race progresses, we invent easier ways to do things. The lightbulb put the candle makers out of business. They were outraged. Why wouldn’t people support the candle makers anymore? Doesn’t society have a duty to support the candle makers?!?

The car put horse and carriage drivers out of business. The Better Business Bureau put the snake oil salesmen out of business. Cassette tape put the record stompers out of business, the digital camera put Kodak out of business, Napster put 60% of the record industry out of business, Google put the phone book out of business, what do you think will be next? Are you in that industry? Better yet, are you in the industry that’s going to displace a current market?

Dr. Nick Bontis talking about industry displacement and why you need to retool, relearn, re-certify, re-professionalize to stay relevant.

The Planet Money Podcast

Human vs RobotPlanet Money podcasts

In this podcast they lineup three competitions of the epic showdown, HUMANS vs ROBOTS!

Battle 1: Who can fold a towel better?. At MIT there’s a project that has students developing an algorithm that allows a robot to reach into a load of laundry, grab a towel, and fold it in to a prefect square. The students did just that, but it took the robot 18 minutes to complete the task. They also had a young child try folding a towel. It took less than a minute.

Humans 1 Robots 0

Battle 2 was Ellie. Ellie is a computer program that interacts with people. It was made for people with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and severe depression. The theory was that some people just won’t open up to another human, what they’ve been through sometimes it too traumatic to tell someone. But it’s easier to talk to a machine that won’t judge you.

Ellie the psychologistThis part in the podcast is worth listening to alone. They have a war vet from the Canadian Military talking about his experience with Ellie, it was a positive one. His story is a moving one, I won’t ruin it for you. Go listen to it!

Human 1 Robots 1

Battle 3; who can write faster a machine or a journalist from the BBC?

Yup, they’ve created a machine to write the news. All the major websites (Reuters, Yahoo news, Huffington Post, etc.) have stories created by WordSmith, a software program that can write news articles. All you need is a companies annual report (the competition in the story was based on Denny’s annual report) and WordSmith puts together an article that isn’t fancy but gets the point across.

The result? WordSmith took two minutes to finish the articles, the journalist took just over seven minutes however the journalist had a little more flare to his article.

The judges had to give it to the robots.

Humans 1 Robots 2

 

The Machine Comes to Town

This is a story about a small town in the US that’s slowly being taken over by factories, and no, not traditional manufacturing factories, robotically run factories. This is completely changing the job landscape for many people in North America. It’s scary but you can’t stop technology, some how you have to get a head of the curve.

iWaiterAt what point to you become the food runner and what point to you stop making tips

The future of restaurants will involve this thing called Ziosk. It’s like an iPad for your table where you can order on, get a drink refill, and order dessert. What will happen to waitresses and waiters? They interviewed some of the staff at an Applebee’s that has Ziosk’s. The wait staff hate it, not surprisingly, but it shortens table turnaround (very valuable in casual dining) and increases dessert sales by 30%.

Just think, you may be ordering your next meal from a machine, who will you tip? Do machines need tips? The future will tell.

The Last Job

This podcast is a fictional story of “the last job”. It’s kind of funny, but also somewhat erie. What will we do in the future? We won’t all be working. What will we spend our time doing? It’s an interesting thought.

Whatever we learn before age ten is the hardest to get a robot to do

What is a Brand?

What Is a “Brand”? | Episode 1 of #InTheLab

We hear this a lot; “Our image is our brand!” “Our logo is our brand!” “That ad is our brand!” “Our name is our brand!”

Wait, so what the hell IS your brand?

I like Bill Leider’s definition in his amazing book Brand Delusions

Your brand is a widely held set of beliefs and expectations of what you deliver and how you deliver it, validated by customer experiences.

Until communication was put on steroids thanks to the creation of this little thing called the Internet, “your brand” was just a set of beliefs and expectation of what you deliver and how you deliver it. Customers for the most part never talked. There was no Trip Advisor, Urban Spoon or Yelp. Back then your expectations of a product or service could be influenced by commercials, billboards, and other advertisements.

Companies (Brands) could change the way you thought of them based simply on a catchy tune played before a movie or during your favourite sitcom….

“My baloney has a first name…”. 

“Everyone loves Marine land!”

“Don’t cha put it in your mouth…”

“Let’s go out to the kitchen…”.

Have you heard an amazingly catchy jingle as of late? Possibly the Charlie Bit My Finger kid or Susan Boyle would be the closest.

Back then it was much easier to get your message out to the masses. You really could create major awareness for your brand or product, and it worked. The problem now is we don’t have one channel we always watch, there’s several hundred. Also, because we’ve been seeing these ads since we entered the world it’s hard to differ the signal from the noise.

Back to the definition of a “brand”.

You no longer are in control of your brand.

Everyone else is. Your brand is what people say about you behind your back. Your brand is what I find when I Google you. Your brand is what your customers say about you once they’ve left your store. Your brand is what people think of you whether you like it or not.

You can’t control it. You can only influence it. Customer service can help it (think Westjet), advertising can grow it (think Tim Horton’s), a smart HR policy will enhance it (think Whole Foods), but it’s the combination of every tiny little thing you do. Every time you come in contact with a customer or potential customer they either like you a little bit more or a little bit less. If you still think people can be indifferent to your brand, they probably can, but that’s a recipe for a competitor to come in and steal those customers away from your mediocre organization.

You’re better off creating remarkable experiences with every touch point you have with customers. From answering the phone and e-mailing, to your business cards and promotional items. Everything communication tactic is a chance to show the world what your brand is made of. Hopefully, after coming across your innovative brand several times over, your potential customer says:

“aww shucks, who is this amazing company that keeps making me smile?”. Now you don’t have to sell to them, they already are sold.

 

90-percent-of-the-data-in-the-world-today-has-been-created-in-the-last-two-years

9 Lessons Learned Volunteering on Not-For-Profit Boards

1. The world is changing faster than you can imagine.

“Every day, we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data — so much that 90% of the data in the world today has been created in the last two years alone.”

-IBM

On a single day on the Internet there are:

  • Over 2 million Google search queries

  • 48 hours of new YouTube videos

  • 684,000 bits of content shared on Facebook

  • More than 100,000 tweets

  • $272,000 spent on e-commerce

  • Source: Webopedia

If you disappeared tomorrow, who would miss you? What distinct advantage does your organization create? Why is your mission a noble cause? Ask these questions early and often or else you may find your organization obsolete. To the Not-for-profits that take advantage of the changing online landscape and embrace technology your audience will adore you and you will attract a new smarter customer who (if you do your job right) becomes a loyal evangelist.

2. Every year, every month, every day, people have less attention than they did last year, last month, and yesterday. How are you getting peoples’ attention?

There’s a new not-for-profit starting up tomorrow who’s mission is better than yours, who help more people than you and who can do what you do for cheaper. What are you going to do about it? How will you stand out? How will you be remembered? How do you get to the point where people seek YOU out? If you don’t standout you definitely aren’t going to be remembered. You need to create a “Social Object” that people can associate with your cause.

3. You’re only as smart as the feedback you’re getting.

Not-for-profits are really bad at this. Trying to get feedback as an organization is a very forward thinking endeavour. Not-for-profits are not very forward thinking entities(rash generalization but true). Every year they talk about what they did last year and how well it went. No critical breakdown of what happened, no holding people accountable to goals set last year, and no wants to change in the future to get better. It’s that last part that bothers me the most. Because these aren’t profit generating entities it doesn’t make sense to adapt and innovate and strive to lead a market.

The only thing more risky than changing is staying the same.

The only thing more risky than changing is staying the same.

Everything about business is changing at an alarming rate right now, your only hope in survival is ensuring you’re getting feedback from your customers and employees.

Since we were children, feedback has been the only way we learn. Why is that any different for not-for-profits? You need a feedback strategy, and an honest one. If you have a 56 Question Questionnaire providing your feedback for you, just know you’re basing your information on the sick twisted person that would fill out a 56 question Questionnaire.

4. You can’t change what people say about you, but you can influence it.

“Branding” in 2014 is what people say about you behind your back. As a Not-for-profit if your members smile to your face but bad mouth you behind your back that’s a terrible brand. If you have complete board turnover every year that’s bad. IF you have past board members that refuse to be contacted, that’s bad!

Your reputation precedes you. Google your name, what comes up? You have a personal brand whether you like it or not, most people don’t understand they can influence it if they want to. Not-for-profits usually have an advantage here, your reputation is what you’ve done, the people you’ve helped and the impact you’ve created. The RedCross is one of the most recognized “brands” in the world and I would argue it has nothing to do with their messaging (though the logo is pretty ubiquitous), it has everything to do with their impact. Otherwise when you see the infamous Red “+” sign you wouldn’t immediately attribute positive characteristics.

5. Face the brutal facts. 

Yes this is stolen from Jim Collin’s book Good To Great. You must face the brutal facts about your organization and marketplace. People don’t have time to care about your organization, no one does. You have to pitch why your not-for-profit matters. I’ve been on a board where we only talked about the good things we did, how great every event was, and never brought up any criticism or created an urgency to get better.

Confront the hard facts, the longer you put off the truth the worse it gets when it finally becomes a reality. Business changes, Not-for-profits change. The only ignorant thing to do is assume we know what we’re doing and not seek out feedback.

What if we don't change at all and something magical just happens?

6. You can tell people’s priorities by the way they allocate their resources (time, money).

I’ve met people who give their time selflessly year in and year out. I look up to these people, they truly understand priorities in life. They put relationships before money. People before work and organizations over themselves. These people are the builders of our communities. You have no idea how much these selfless people have given in time to ensure that people they don’t even know get to enjoy (insert community event, sports team, or club here). From Brownies and Scouts to Hockey and Basketball organizations, boys and girls clubs and sports clubs. The one thing they have in common is people like you and me built them.

The unsung heros are the people who tirelessly volunteer their time to work, coach, organize, plan and do all the things that it takes to make Not-for-profits tick. If you meet someone who’s been a part of a Not-for-profit for a while just assume they’re amazing, you have no idea how much they’ve given.

If you want to find out about someone’s work ethic ask somebody they volunteered with on a board or an organization. Reputations go a long way. I find myself recommending people I’ve volunteered with and coached with a lot. You trust someone on another level when you know they believe in giving their time back to help others.

7. At any given moment, one or a few people can ruin it for everyone, you must ignore past these people.

People love to complain. You have to constantly remind yourself that it’s easy to be a critic and it’s hard to take negative feedback and actually act upon it. On volunteer boards I find this to happen a lot. People LOVE to complain without offering any other solutions. People love to tell you you’re wrong. People love to say “it won’t work”. You have to ignore these people.

Create a culture of proactive feedback, never are you allowed to say “I don’t like it this way!” without providing another plausible way.

8. There’s nothing more important than having a clear vision that everyone understands.

Those who built the visionary companies wisely understood that it is better to understand who you are than where you are going – for where you are going will almost certainly change.

-Built to Last by Jim Collins & Jerry I. Porras

Many business folks I’ve met underestimate the power of a vision. But most companies try to explain “everything we’re good at” without “pissing some department” in their mission statement. Effectively making it useless. Einstein said you only truly know a subject when you can explain it to a six year old. that’s my philosophy when it comes to your organizations vision, simply down to a few words that you could explain to a six year old. 

Examples:

Regina Volleyball Club: Lets grow Volleyball

University of Regina Alumni Association: Build Pride 

Regina Police Service: Public Servie First

Creative Options Regina: Gentle teaching

9. Fun can be a competitive advantage.

In the future the best organizations will have done the most important thing, attracted the best people. To attract the best people you have to have an amazing cause, but not just that, you have to create a work environment that people would seek out. A workplace to love. People will take a pay cut and make other sacrifices just so that they can work with people they like, and people we like are the people we have the most fun with.

Fun can be a competitive advantage

Fun can be a competitive advantage.

Think about it, at a board meeting have you ever asked: “how could we make our meetings more fun?”. Most don’t bring that up because they still think doing what they’ve always done is enough to attract younger, smarter, better talent. If your meetings are fun it’s going to be easier to attract better people in the future.

If you encourage your employees to have fun more often they will respect the workplace more, tell people about how great it is to work there, and when shit really does hit the fan, employees you’ve encouraged to have fun will be there for the organization. It’s when we’re at our worst our allies matter the most. Make strong supporters out of your members, encourage them to be themselves and have fun.

NYTimes Innovation Report

The Leaked New York Times Innovation Report and Why It’s Important

The New York Times (on purpose or not) leaked an innovation report which ended up being a scathing analysis of how far behind the times the Times really are. From one of the worldwide leaders in Journalism comes a humble look at their own efforts digitally. They recognize how behind they really are but it seems that they have a plan to become more relevant to a larger audience in the future.

Some important highlights of the 90 page report:

  • Competition is increasing and some of their competitors are producing some massive numbers. EG: Flipboard getting more traffic to the New York Times’ own articles than the Times’ receives to its’ own site.
  • The journalism industry is being “disrupted” with a cheaper easy to find version of “news”. The example given in the report is strikingly similar to Clayton Christiensen’s The Innovators Dilemma. In the book he talks about when entities get too large within their own industry, smaller, faster more nimble businesses innovate to create the future product offerings.
  • They’ve named and provided stats on some of their competition. Some very familiar names on the list such as: Huffington Post, Flipboard, and Buzzfeed.
  • The mentioned the NY Times “Influencers”. Every organization at one point will needs to know who their influencers are and how to leverage them.

The NewYork Times Audience:

  • 30M web readers in U.S. per month
  • 20M Mobile readers in U.S. per month
  • 13.5M News Alerts audience
  • 11.3M Twitter followers
  • 6.5M E-Mail Newsletter Subscribers
  • 5.7M Facebook followers
  • 1.25M Print Subscribers
  • 760K digital subscribers

The Proposal:

  1. Discovery – getting our work in front of the right readers at the right place and at the right time.
  2. Promotion – we need better advocates of our over work.
  3. Connection – our readers are perhaps our greatest untapped resource.

This seems more like a game plan for ANY organization that wants to grow in this new digital world. They’ve identified that is has to start at their core if they hope to have any chance of surviving the disruption that the journalism/publishing industry is facing.

Some important quotes from the report:

“Digital staffers want to play creative roles not service roles.”

“We need makers, entrepreneurs, reader advocates and zeitgeist watchers”

“Evergreen content is appealing to readers if resurfaced in a way that is smart”

“The newsroom can fall into old habits about experiments like this one, raising concerns about  turf, quality control and precedents.”

“One-offs are laborious, so we should focus on making such efforts replicable and scalable.”

 

13 Grievances For The 2014 Social Media Season

How-many-twitter-followers-do-you-have-

1. Don’t ask me to like your page, Retweet you or buy something.

If it’s important I’ll find it on my own or a friend will tell me about it. I’ll buy it when I’m good and ready, stop asking me to do ‘something’ for you, and start doing things for others so that you may get something from them one day.

2. Your website sucks, so does mine.

I’m updating and improving my website today, what are you doing?

3. You can’t judge someone by their Twitter, Facebook or Instagram account.

You can only judge a person’s Twitter account, Facebook profile, Instagram account after meeting them in real life. Paradoxically you can lose all respect on social platforms by saying one thing wrong. And no, tweeting a couple things ‘right’ or automating your tweets gains you no respect whatsoever.

4. Giving people recommendations on LinkedIn for the sole purpose of increasing your own recommendation number is lazy and if you do that I hate you.

Just clicking a button to vote for a certain someone to be an “expert” in something is just lazy. Never talk about your recommendations on LinkedIn, it’s nothing to brag about. Now, instead why not write a couple of paragraphs about the person you work with that never gets credit but is one of the best coworkers you’ve ever had.

Bosses and manager, write nice thing about your people. If you can’t find nice things to say you’re not looking hard enough.

5. Nobody cares about the amount of Twitter followers you have or what your Klout score is. Stop bringing them up.

Didn’t think I had to mention this, but if you mention “Klout” or your “Klout Score” you are a huge nerd. Stop doing that.

6. It can be terrifying to face the metrics, but if Buckley’s taught us anything, things that are awful are good for us.

As Jim Collins says, you must face the brutal facts, what’s the most important thing to measure that determines success?! The ironic part of measurement is once you start measuring yoy really don’t need to do much further. Just the fact that you’re measuring results, humans tend to perform much much better when they can correlate what they’re doing with the results.

7. We get it, you have a Facebook page, now stop inviting us to your events.

Remember, there’s nothing easier than starting a Facebook page, creating an event, and inviting people to said event. If it’s “easy” EVERYONE IS GOING TO DO IT!!! Making your event no different than the other hundred events we get invited to on Facebook every day.

8. Nobody likes the “new” social network until everyone likes the “new” social network.

Be picky about where you spend your time but not too stubborn that you’ll end up still using a Blackberry in 2013.

9. Don’t ever use the phrase, “OH GOD YOU HAVE TO BE ON (insert any social platform)!”

To each their own. Stop thinking you’ll know exactly what someone else would prefer.

10. If you think being on Google plus is beneficial to your websites search engine optimization show me why, don’t just tell me to get on.

That goes for all social platforms by the way.

11. I get it, you like Vine.

But if you’re a person who’s in charge of your company do you think your best time is spent making and editing extremely short videos? (if you’re the exception to the rule please let me know in the comments below)

12. If you’re not on a social network or don’t know much about it don’t make fun of it or discount its legitimacy.

Few things make you look more unintelligent than poking fun at something you don’t understand.

13. If you still think Facebook and Twitter are good demand generation tools you’re way off your kilter.

They’re customer service and brand building tools. They are horrible at creating demand.

 

Digital Darwinism

The Nine Laws of New Business Strategy

Adapt-or-die-strategy-lab

1. A room is always smarter than the one person standing in front of it. The challenge for leaders, coaches, teachers, and managers is taking advantage of connectivity, to inspire the pack to do the right thing. To inspire the tribe to keep reaching for more. To see their combined potential, to push them further than what any one of them could do on their own. To help internal communication. To improve culture. Read Too Big to Know: Rethinking Knowledge Now That the Facts Aren’t the Facts, Experts Are Everywhere, and the Smartest Person in the Room Is the Room by David Weinberger  

2. Your Brand is what Google tells you it is.  With a click of a button anyone in the world can find everything they can about you. If they don’t find very much they’re going to find your competitors and hire them instead. It’s a different world we live in, a world where we like to “meet people” online first before in person. What’s your Twitter handle, what do they look like on Facebook, where have you worked-checking the LinkedIn profile, and finally what does Google say about you? These are all questions you should be asking yourself before a competitor or a sneaky friend of yours finds those pictures of you from that Halloween party in University. Your Mother would not be proud of that picture.

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Professional Stock Photos-the wait a minute, i have one more really important something to tell you

3 Reasons Why Your Nonprofit Won’t Exist In Five Years & What To Do About It

Underwhelming leadership, a reactive approach to technology, and a communications strategy that hasn’t evolved since 1999. This is the sorry state most nonprofits find themselves in. Leadership’s difficult to change, technology changes too much to understand, and marketing teams with a bad case of the “but it’s what we’ve always done!’s” syndrome.

You’re worse off than you thought if you don’t admit to having a problem.

The good news is that there is hope for you. Change isn’t fatal, not adapting is. Below are three thoughts on why I think many nonprofits are becoming obsolete. Agree or disagree, let me know in the comments below.

and make it a better place. it is in your hands to make a difference.

1. It’s never been easier to create a nonprofit.

It’s easier to start a business today, for and not for profit, than it was 20 years ago. The fact that you can start a nonprofit without leaving your couch (over simplification) is bound to increase the amount of entities that are started. The ease of entry to the market has caused an influx of nonprofits starting and subsequently dying before they had the chance to see the light of day all because some other organization with a more pressing issue moved into town. They cannibalize the publics’ wallet share for donations, with more and more organizations asking people for charitable dollars, the more difficult it is for charities to acquire the donations they used to collect with little to no effort.

Solution: Create loyalty. I weird concept for a nonprofit? Not anymore. How do you create loyal contributors? How do you increase repeat donations? How do you set up a referral engine for giving? Every organization is a little different but if you can Answer these questions for your nonprofit and you’re half way there. Keep reading for the other half.

2. There’s a nonprofit overseas needs more help than yours does.

The worldwide need for nonprofits is much more apparent. We communicate worldwide in real time now, problems on the other side of the world are now our problems too. As we learned with “Kony 2012”, within a couple clicks (or Retweets) I can see what some of the most important issues are today. And yes, we’re not always right in our first impression and sometimes we support organizations which later we regret (insert Kony 2012 into this category).

In the future we’re going to be exposed to the horrors of our world overseas and in the furtherest places on Earth from where we currently reside. Geography doesn’t matter. When humans need help on the other side of the world wallets begin opening and all those charity dollars that went to the local chapter of the Lions club all of a sudden left the city, province and country. 

SolutionMake an emotion connection with the problem you’re solving and the intended audience. The only reason donor dollars are going out of country is that there is a major perceived(real or fake) need for aid in other parts of the world. Rarely do local nonprofits make a compelling case as to why you should donate to your local food bank versus feeding children in a third world country. Find peoples heart strings and gently tug on them. First and foremost we Canadians need to ensure the wellbeing of our people so that in the future we can help other areas of the world.

3. We’re all looking for something to believe in and your organization isn’t doing it for me anymore.

As countries develop and generations get older, people look for ways to feel fulfilled, a purpose per se. This is getting increasingly more difficult. But more and more people are looking for alternative ways to get that rush in the bottom of their stomachs. That moment when you realize you’ve actually changed someones’ life for the better. Volunteering for an organization is one way to achieve this feeling.

Our world isn’t about to get less confusing (quite the opposite actually) and “giving back” is still an easy way to get that feeling that you’re putting a dent in the universe. With the decline of traditional spiritual/religious paths, the Y Generation and Millennials need a new outlet to find their own spirituality, a feeling found through serving others. But we’re not loyal to a fault. If your mission is getting stale, if your strategy has never evolved, if you’re behind on technology, you’re giving people a great reason to check out your competition.

Nobody wants to board a ship that’s sailing nowhere.

SolutionDefine (or redefine) your why. The reason your nonprofit exists. Develop the model of how you’re going to scale the impact you’re creating. Remember, a nonprofits ‘brand’ isn’t the logo or the advertising, or the website, the ‘brand’ is what the organization has done. Events ran, program put on, people affected. If you want a forward thinking brand set a BHAG, empower your people, try new initiatives, acquire feedback, and constantly improve upon last quarters results. Simple as that.

It always seems impossible until it's done.

Sources:

Nonprofits Are Growing, What Is It That They Do?

Nonprofit Fundraising Study – Covering Charitable Receipts at U.S. Nonprofit Organizations in 2011

Why Don’t the Best Nonprofits Grow?

Growth in the Non-profit Sector and Competition for Funding

 

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