First, Julie Andrews famously sang about them in The Sound of Music. Then, Oprah commandeered the term and used it to set off a feeding frenzy on items she deemed to make her list. Favorite Things. It’s become a holiday staple, used to encourage people to check out or purchase what they’re in to these days.
They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery; well, Oprah, we’re about to compliment the heck out of you. Our staff collaborated to come up with a list of Envision’s Favorite Things of 2019. Matt wanted us to include Air Pods—we rarely see him without them in his ears, though we sometimes wonder if he’s actually on a call or just avoiding us—but ultimately, we decided to limit this list to favorite things that can help or inspire your nonprofit.
Our Favorite Book
Tiffany is a Board member for Girls Who Code and was formerly President of The White House Project, as well as other nonprofit roles. Her relatable book shows women how to let go of perfectionism and focus on what really matters to them. If you don't have time to read (we get it), you can LISTEN to Drop the Ball as an audiobook!
Our (other) Favorite Blog
Vu is a nonprofit director who writes an insightful and hilarious weekly blog about the nonprofit sector. For example, he has posts titled, “The Most Crotch-kickingly Craptastic Grant Application Notice Ever” or his most recent holiday themed one, “8 Nonprofit Themed Cocktail Recipes to Brighten up Your Holiday Party” As Lee himself says, “There’s tons of humor in the nonprofit world, and someone needs to document it.” We couldn’t agree more.
Our Favorite Podcasts (tie)
Nonprofit Lowdown by Rhea Wong
This is NOT your typical, boring nonprofit interview podcast. Rhea Wong was an executive director for 12 years and now hosts this fascinating, funny and lively podcast with nonprofit superstars. A self-proclaimed “fanatic about helping nonprofits to become healthy, thriving environments where people can grow, learn and bring their whole selves while making the world a better place without burning out,” Wong asks tough questions and always keeps it real.
How we Run: Tips and Tales of Nonprofit Success
Hosted by Julie Lacouture (non-profit consultant and founder of Good Ways Inc) and Trent Stamp (founder of Charity Navigator and CEO of the Eisner Foundation), this informative podcast gives helpful advice and tells compelling stories of non-profit success in fundraising, board development, and doing good. Each episode features an interview with a non-profit director or sector expert about the tactics they use to raise funds and have impact. Oh, and did we mention that one particularly awesome episode features our founding partner, Allison Fuller?
Our Favorite Newsletter (NYC)
If you're in the nonprofit sector in the New York City area, you definitely want to subscribe to this daily newsletter that recaps the latest sector news and also lists upcoming events, grant opportunities, job openings and other good tidbits to help you do your job and make you sound smart at the nonprofit water cooler.
Our Favorite Newsletter (LA)
Few people embody the non-profit spirit more than Dan Rothblatt (yes, he’s the famous “Dan” behind Dan’s List) Out of the goodness of his heart and the sincere desire “to be helpful to people who want to work in the non-profit world and as a way of assisting nonprofits in finding good staff people,” Dan voluntarily created this jobs list that he emails multiple times a week to anyone who subscribes. He says he wants to make Los Angeles a better place, but we think he’s set his sights too low; he’s making the world a better place.
Our Favorite Project Management System
Here’s the truth: although we want you to think you’re our only client and top priority ALL the time, we have a lot of balls in the air over here at Envision. This modern, clean and seamless team and project management system is our way to track our work, communicate updates with our team and clients, and see the big picture. We love Monday so much that it actually makes our Mondays a little more bearable.
Our Favorite Data Tool
Among the many tools we use to execute our unique processes, Survey Gizmo is the one that gets utilized across ALL of our services from search, strategy and leadership to marketing and events. It’s important for us to be data-driven which is what Survey Gizmo does for us. Survey Gizmo is where we find nuggets of information that allow us to use data-driven analyses to make informed decisions. The data doesn’t lie. And neither do we; Survey Gizmo rocks.
Our Favorite Ice Breaker
Magic Wand by Envision!
Want a simple but powerful ice breaker for your next board or team meeting? Go around the room and ask the question: "If you had a magic wand, what would be the ONE wish you would grant for this organization?" Make sure people pick just one answer. (And if you want to really challenge the room, don't let anyone answer "more money, staff or time") Write each answer on a big sheet that everyone can read. You'll be amazed how that silly question unleashes fresh ideas, clarifies priorities, and jumpstarts strategic visioning.
Our Favorite Event
Yeah, we know, this seems like a shameless plug for our own event. Maybe it is, but it’s also true! We love our CauseCupid events, unique mixers that offer nonprofits and professionals looking for board service, the opportunity to meet and explore why they might be a good fit. Now hosted in locations around the country, we’ve facilitated hundreds of connections, and making these matches is a feeling that’s unmatched!
Our Favorite Happy Hour Spot (LA)
“But wait,” you might be thinking, “you said this was going to be a blog about helping or inspiring nonprofits. How is a happy hour location doing that?” Well, friends, to this we posit this retort: what is more important to the long-term health and happiness of an organization than having a staff that is relaxed, well-fed, and connected to one another? We couldn’t think of anything either. That’s why we choose to unwind and connect at this great spot just down the street from our offices. Weekday happy hours: Tuesday – Friday: 11am – 6pm. That’s right, a happy hour lunch. Book it! We won’t tell.
Our Favorite Happy Hour Spot (NYC)
We expanded to New York City this year, so we have to mention Envision’s favorite work AND play spot in Manhattan. Part co-working space, part networking hub, and part beautiful gathering space, we love Luminary. PLUS, there’s free wine on tap every evening for happy hour and a glass-enclosed rooftop space opening soon. If you want to join us for happy hour at the end of a long nonprofit day,
So look, we’re not knocking the greatness of raindrops on roses or whiskers on kittens (or even Air pods, Matt) we just think that the list of favorites we put together can really help give you or your business a boost in 2020.
From all of us at Envision Consulting, Happy Holidays!