career advice

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by Rachel Hutchisson, Business Doing Good & Blackbaud, Inc.

I had a great opportunity this summer to tie two of my favorite things – sports and social good.  The combination was powerful.

My friend in philanthropy, Marc Pollick, founder of the Giving Back Fund, invited me to his Sports and Entertainment Philanthropy Summit, following which we joined in the DOHA GOALS Forum, a meeting of leaders in sport who are interested in the role athletics play in positive change.  It was a special opportunity and one that afforded me the chance to hear from some of the world’s great athletes, from then and now.

Carl Lewis, Michael Phelps, Mark Spitz, Abby Wambach, Mel Davis…

I’ve been thinking about the event for weeks now, processing what I learned, what I took away and could apply to my life (and my life in business).  In the end, I wrote this blog, sharing about the role sports play in creating a platform for social change.  I’m certainly not the first person to say that sports teach meaningful lessons.  We know that.  But what I got from the event was something more, a deeper look at how critical issues in our society are lifted up through athletics.  About how the athlete in the limelight can choose to be a force for good.

So I invited you to click the link and read on…

Note – this blog was originally posted on npENGAGE.

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by Rachel Hutchisson, Business Doing Good & Blackbaud, Inc.

It’s mid-August and time for one last summer reading recommendation. 

Although my kids are back in school this week, I can’t shake the feeling from my system that summer lasts until Labor Day weekend.  Regardless, having the kids back in school is kind of like getting a vacation from all the commotion that goes along with getting ready, seeing what clothing fits, running to the store for supplies at the last minute.  You know the drill.  And although I complain about it, I know I’ll miss it in a few short years when they flee the nest for college.

So indulge me as I offer one last recommendation – Do the KIND Thing, by Daniel Lubetzky, the founder and CEO of KIND Healthy Snacks.  I first put my hands on this book at MCON this summer, an event focused on Millennial engagement with cause work across sectors, which is hosted each year by my friend Derrick Feldman of Achieve Guidance.  I have to admit that, when I saw the book — and the title — I thought it might be a shameless promotion for KIND bars.  I like KIND bars.  In fact, I might even love them.  So I was interested to see what the book offered beyond a serving of nuts and healthful goodness.

In the end, it’s this – sound, readable, inspiring guidance for people seeking to do good while doing business.  Yes, the book does help KIND and its brand, but it does so by giving, by staying true to what Lubetzky believes.  It’s focused on what he calls “authentic purpose vs. ‘shallow cause marketing.’”  If you pick up a KIND product in the store, you’ll read the following promotional tagline – “do the kind thing for your body, your taste buds & your world.”  This book helps you see what the company means by this and what it values, as Lubetzky takes the reader on a journey through his firm’s value system, telling the KIND story along the way.

I love seeing inside a company, understanding its value structure and the bumps and successes that made the organization and the brand what it is today.  In Do the KIND Thing, Lubetzky is generous with his information, telling us the story of the start ups that failed before he created KIND and the fundanmental, conceptual infrastructuce on which he built his now highly successful healthy snack business. 

One thing is for sure.  Everything Lubetzky does is intentional.  He has a personal story that helps you understand why he values kindness the way he does.  He uses clear wrappers on his products so you can see the actual goodness you are about to buy.  He is, in short, transparent.  You could say he’s “on message,” and that would be true, too.  But I value that, as I value seeing someone who seeks to be successful while providing a product that tastes good, is good for you and is backed by a company that cares about its role in the world.

So – read the book.  And remember, as the summer ends and we all become consumed with the hectic pace of work and life, that kindness matters.

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by Rachel Hutchisson, Business Doing Good & Blackbaud, Inc.

It’s mid-July, and I’m beginning to panic that I won’t get to everything on my summer reading list. 

Although the pace might have gotten a lot slower for my kids, who are relishing their break from the daily homework grind, I find myself taking on just as much — or maybe even more — as I usually do.  I’m not complaining.  Having a lot to do when it’s all positive, productive, interesting work is a blessing.  I definitely don’t take that for granted. 

But I do like that concept of summer reading, harkening back to my own days in school when my mother would take us to the library to enter the summer reading program.  We’d get stacks of books and lose ourselves in them on rainy days or during long car trips to someplace much wamer than Western Pennsylvania.  That idea of a long stretch of open time ahead of you — and lots of things to read — is still compelling.  So even though vacation now comes in the form of weeks and not months, I still get excited about that idea that it’s a time to create your list and dive in.

Then I find myself mid-July and worried I won’t get to everything.  And you know what?  I’ve decided that’s ok.  Maybe that’s the point where I need to give myself a proverbial break and admit that it might take until the end of the year to crack open each title.  Maybe it’s time for another kind of reading that’s equally fulfilling but not as much of a commitment. Maybe it’s time, my friends, for some really good magazines.

I’ve always been a fan of fiction, with my love of a good narrative often beating out biographies or business titles for the majority of my attention.  Maybe that’s why I find magazines so compelling, getting that dose of non-fiction, of real world news, of stories of another sort in a shorter form.  Whatever the reason, a few magazines in particular have worked their way into my must-read list.  I wanted to share them with you because, if you’re at a business that’s doing good, I think you’ll find ample inspiration in these pages:

Conscious Company: The Future of Business as Usual - a really nice publication that focuses on “a company’s ability to have a positive effect on society and the environment, in addition to making money.”  The magazine profiles companies, covers key topics of interest to those in “good” business, and celebrates the people behind this positive work. 

GOOD: A Quarterly Journal for the Global Citizen — this magazine is just plain fun.  And it has good content.  The photography is unique and compelling, and the content takes into account the importance of design as much it does the copy.  The stories are both local and global and convey a message that’s all about being a human in the context of a changing world that could use some help.

Stanford Social Innovation Review (SSIR) – while I hate to offend any other publication, I find SSIR to be just plain smart.  Not academic, mind you.  Just smart.  I truly value how it covers social innovation overall and how individuals, companies, nonprofits, the public sector and so on all work to drive change – on their own and together.  It’s a magazine for people interested in the advancement of a healthy civil society.

So, if you want or need to take a break from that book list that’s maybe too much to finish right now or you simply want to dip into something different, try these out.  It’ll be well worth your time.

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by Rachel Hutchisson, Business Doing Good & Blackbaud, Inc.

School’s out!  At least it is in my house.  And that means a lot of things, including summer reading.

I’m always interested — more interested than my kids, I’m sure — to see what the teachers assign.  Beowulf, A Passage to India, 1984, A Brave New World…all good, important things to read.  But I also look at summer as a time for my kids to relax and dip into something completely different.  Something read by choice, out of interest, that helps them just be.

Of course, that means I’m always on the lookout for books that might appeal.  And I just found one in the soon-to-be-released teen version of Marcus Samuelsson’s memoir Yes, Chef.  This book, due out on June 9th, is called Make it Messy: My Perfectly Imperfect Life, and it’s targeted at teens.

I read Yes, Chef: A Memoir, back when it was released, and I enjoyed it not just because it was about food.  I enjoyed his voice, his story and the way he talked so openly about the challenges he had faced in life.  How those challenges ultimately prepared him for opportunity and made him who he is today.  I genuinely loved the book, and when I was finished, thought “my kids should read this.”  And they certainly could as there’s nothing in the book that precludes a teenager from dealing with the content. 

But then along comes this new version, aimed specifically at teens, turning Samuelsson’s memoir into more direct advice for kids trying to find their way.  Kids who are thinking about where they fit in school, what college path to follow, what life could or might bring them.  So I’ve placed my order, taking that risk that my $15 will bear fruit in the form of a “yea, that looks interesting” response when I pass it under the nose of a teen living in my house. 

To be serious, I’m not just doing this because I want my kids to read.  I’m doing this because I care about what’s next in life.  And Samuelsson touches on so many important themes so well, including the importance of heritage, of the farm-to-table approach in cooking, of not losing sight of who you are as you journey to new places and try out new things.  All of us in the business of doing good probably share this desire, to help not only our kids but anyone get the bug — to do good work that you enjoy, to do it well, and to do it in a way to helps the world.  That’s the ideal.

So check out the book.  See what you think.  And share it with the kids you know who might, someday, be the people you want working for your business.

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by Rachel Hutchisson, Business Doing Good & Blackbaud, Inc.

Looking to change the world?  I have a book for you.  Call it summer reading.

I know, it’s not quite summer yet, but if you’re like me, it feels like summer should be here tomorrow.  And that means getting your reading list ready.  Let’s agree that it should begin with a book that’s aimed at helping you think about work, career and life…without losing heart.

Seriously.  The book is called Compassionate Careers: Making a Living by Making a Difference by Jeffrey W. Pryor and Alexandra Mitchell.  I ran across it — and met the authors — at a conference last month.  And I’m glad I did.

The book, with its forward by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, is — at heart — about service.  It is meant for people who seek to do good in the world.  “You and I are created for goodness,” writes Tutu.  “I invite you to dedicate your life to this goodness — to have an impact on the world.”  The focus is on working for and with cause-centered organizations.  And although some might think that means nonprofits, I take a much broader view.  Cause can and does lie at the heart of many organizations — nonprofit, for-profit, government, community.  The choice is up to you.

And choice is what this book is really all about, choosing a career direction that pays mind to what you have in both your heart and your head.  In addition to sharing some great examples of people who are thriving in cause-focused organizations, this book also serves as a guide, a compass helping you to take steps in the right direction — for you.  It points out the kinds of opportunities and roles that align well with service and provides a very practical section that you can use to make your own decisions.

So take a look.  Get the book.  And think about how service ties into your small business vision.  The two can and should co-exist.  I encourage you to read about it.

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by Rachel Hutchisson, Business Doing Good & Blackbaud, Inc.

So here we are, the day after Labor Day, facing reality that the “fall work season” is upon us.  School is in session. Work is gearing up.  And you might even be able to find Halloween candy in the stores (yikes).

I thought it might be helpful, as a way to turn from summer to fall, to recap the many wonderful books we have talked about for budding do gooders in business.  In case you missed the posts or just didn’t have time to read everything you thought you’d get to, here we go…

1. Start Something That Matters by Blake Mycoskie, the founder of TOMS Shoes

2. SuperCorp: How Vanguard Companies Create Innovation, Profits, Growth and Social Good by Rosabeth Moss Kanter, the Ernest L. Arbuckle Professor at Harvard Business School

3. Toxic Charity: How Churches and Charities Hurt Those They Help by Robert Lupton

4.  The Purpose Economy by Aaron Hurst, founder of the Taproot Foundation 

5. Leveraging Good Will: Strengthening Nonprofits by Engaging Businesses by Alice Korngold

6. Give and Take by Adam Grant, Wharton professor

And just in case that’s not enough, here are two others I have mentioned in the blog (just not this summer).  Both are well worth the time and will give you ideas about how to approach give back programs in your business.

7. A Better World Inc. by Alice Korngold

8. Changing the Business from the Inside Out: A Treehugger’s Guide to Working in Corporations by Timothy J. Mohin 

We are going to turn our attention, next, to how to establish a matching gift program at your small business.  But don’t worry.  As I come across other good reads that will help you develop into a leader in doing good, I’ll share!

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by Rachel Hutchisson, Business Doing Good & Blackbaud, Inc.

Tick tock, it’s three more days until Labor Day weekend.  The last gasp of summer is upon us, and I’m hoping to get to the library to get one more summer read in hand before we go into the home stretch.

Because you know what happens after that?  Life and work go crazy with kids in school, activities ramping up, and business trips scheduled.  Not to mention the many holidays that come along way too quickly.

So here’s one last recommendation for a good summer read for budding “do good” professionals.  For this pick, I went a little outside of the “give back” books I have been recommending into something focused on success, in general.  But don’t worry, it still applies — very much — to the ongoing conversation we’ve been having.  Today’s book is called Give and Take by the very cool Wharton professor Adam Grant.  Although it hit the stores in 2013, this book is still causing quite a positive stir in the world.  There’s good reason for that.

In Give and Take, Grant takes us through a new way to look at success, one that’s based on how people interact with each other and on — yes — science.  He introduces us to the different types of people we come across in the workplace, categorizing most into three buckets called “takers,” “matchers” or “givers.”  Understanding these styles (and which one you happen to be) is a stepping stone to success.  In addition to the book, you can find some interesting conversations on Linked In around the topic of “Give and Take” the book and the content that title now represents.

If you’re interested, you can even pop onto Grant’s website and take a 15-question self-assessment.  A note of warning!  You might not be just one style.  It turns out that I have pieces of all three, with two of them being more dominant than the third.  Doing this assessment before reading the book might be fun.  Then, you can think about your style(s) as you read and consider what the book might mean to you, in your work life.

If you’re in the U.S., have a great holiday weekend.  If you aren’t, enjoy yourself anyway.  Back to you after Labor Day.

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by Rachel Hutchisson, Business Doing Good & Blackbaud, Inc.

Summer is slowly coming to an end.  Say it isn’t so!

August, for many, is a time to take a final break, to relax and recharge before everything that starts up again in September charges ahead.  It’s also time to make sure you actually got to all that reading you planned when you made your book list in May or June.

I’m marking August, and the pending end of summer, with another book recommendation for budding “do good” professionals in businesses of all sizes.  This time, I’m here to suggest Leveraging Good Will: Strengthening Nonprofits by Engaging Businesses.  This book is by the amazing Alice Korngold, author of another book I’ve blogged about called A Better World Inc. 

Leveraging Good Will actually came out first, and it’s arguably more of a nonprofit book than a business read.  But I still think it’s 100% worth the time, and I say that because any business that wants to engage in a give back program should be thinking about partners.  And those partners are likely to be nonprofits.  So understanding the nonprofit side of things, why a nonprofit might want to work with a business and what challenges nonprofits face is pretty important.

I’m also recommending this book because Korngold goes beyond nonprofit guidance and dedicates a specific chapter to the question “Why Should Businesses Engage with Nonprofits?”  I want you to read the book, so all I’ll say on that topic is that it has a whole lot to do with the retention, growth and development of the firm’s people and putting a halo on the brand.  If you do follow my suggestion and pick up this very worthwhile book, don’t just focus on this business chapter.  Also make sure you read “Making the Match.”  Sometimes we happen along natural partners that are easy to work with from the start – it just works.  But more often, establishing a good partnership with a nonprofit takes time, planning and patience.  So chapter 3 in Korngold’s book on this topic is also required reading.

For businesses really seeking to formalize their give back work through partnership with nonprofits, Leveraging Good Will can serve as a valuable guide.  Get it, read it, make notes in it and let us know how it goes.

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By Lansie Sylvia, Director of Engagement for Here’s My Chance

 Today’s post comes from an amazing woman I had the chance to meet this summer at MCON (a conference all about Millennial engagement).  Lansie brings passion to everything she does and is a great example of someone who works for good, both professionally and personally.  In her post, she shares advice about incorporating interns into your operations, which is a great way for a small business to scale while giving people really worthwhile experience. – Rachel

As a growing company, we rely heavily upon a dependable corps of interns to work on a variety of projects…from researching our clients’ competitors to reviewing the helpfulness of webinars for nonprofits. Here are our five tips to creating a team that gets things done.

1.  Interview them! – At HMC, we build each semester’s Internship Corps as carefully as we build out our internal staff. We use Smart Recruiters to accept resumes and writing samples, and then have multiple staff members review and rate applications. Most importantly, we bring each qualified candidate in for an in-person interview…with more than one staff member. This way, our staff members can compare impressions, ask diverse questions, and get a feel for how the candidates might react to working with multiple managers. This sounds pretty basic, but I’m surprised by how many of our peers interview their potential interns by phone, or do not interview them at all.

2.  Define and discuss their Core Objectives – What does it mean to be a “social media intern?” Are you updating Twitter all day, or monitoring trends to write and distribute blogs? Within the first two weeks of an internship, it is critical to define each intern’s Core Objectives…which are different from their day-to-day activities.  For example, a social media intern might have a Core Objective of “promoting the agency’s thought leadership.” The activities associated with that could include blog creation, Twitter updates, and more. Importantly, as long as the activity accomplishes the Core Objective, I usually let my interns define part of their daily activity structure.  If they think actively commenting on Yahoo articles will promote our thought leadership, I say go for it…as long as they can prove the activity’s success, or learn from its failures. At HMC, we use a shared Google Spreadsheet and check in with each intern every two weeks to monitor their progress.  We also always make sure that each intern has a long-term project to work on that requires minimal day-to-day supervision. That way, if their manager is tied up or out of the office for a day, they still have an active project to work on and won’t be sitting around with “nothing to do.”

3.  Balance office time with flextime – We’ve discovered the best balance for our interns is to have each one in the office at least one full day per week, preferably two, with 4+ hours spent out of the office working on projects. We really don’t like having our interns work 100% remotely.  Why not? A big part of what makes an internship valuable for both staff members and interns is the interpersonal interactions. Staff members who have never managed people before learn how to assign and monitor tasks. Interns learn how to work with different personality types. Everyone in the office learns how it feels to have many more bodies in the room. This last point is particularly important for start-ups, small businesses, and growing companies. The difference between 40 and 45 workers in one company might not feel like a big deal…but the jump from 10 to 15 contributors can be huge.  By having a robust internship corps in your growing company’s office space, you can begin to experience what it will feel like to scale up…without paying out the salaries associated with that growth.

4.  Give them a project that’s their own…and then keep your mitts off of it – One of the reasons people are wary of letting interns take control of a project is that it often has real financial consequences associated with it. If an intern botches a client-facing proposal or says the wrong thing on Facebook, there can be fallout. However, keeping interns completely behind the scenes can be frustrating and demoralizing for them…and you might be missing out on a big opportunity as well. One of the best tips I’ve heard is to give interns a project that also helps build your team morale. This can take the form of organizing a company-wide happy hour or volunteer opportunity. The intern is then in charge of researching the options, securing a venue, managing a budget, possibly recruiting sponsors, possibly writing press releases, coordinating all of the moving parts, and ensuring everyone has a good time. This type of project hits on many key responsibilities, and if they do a good job, you can feel more confident that they’re likely to be successful in bigger projects moving forward.

5.  Celebrate their time with your company – At HMC, we try to end every internship with a lunch or round of drinks with all of our staff members in attendance. We conduct a 360 review earlier in the day to go over the interns’ strengths and areas of improvement…and then leave those formalities at the door to celebrate the interns with a separate party. One of my favorite traditions is a very loose play on “the seven blessings.” Each staff member raises a glass to the interns and offers them a short blessing. For example, “I wish for you the time this semester to do something that you love” or “I hope that you always keep your positive attitude, because you are wonderful to be around.” At the end, we all clink glasses and toast to the interns’ future. It is a great way to end internships on a positive note.

For more information about Here’s My Chance (HMC), a “creative agency for good” providing high-quality, affordable design and strategic services for nonprofit organizations and social enterprises, click here.

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By Rachel Hutchisson, Business Doing Good & Blackbaud, Inc.

It’s late July already.  Have you spent time kicking back and reading yet? 

It not, you better get going.  Summer is ticking away, and you know what happens in the fall.  Work ramps up, life gets busier, and the stack of books you want to read gets taller.  So I’m here today to encourage you to get going on that summer reading, taking some time to improve your mind AND brush up on new information.  If you’re interested in growing how your business gives back, then my past few posts are for you. Check them out for books you might want to read.

Today, I’m recommending The Purpose Economy, a very interesting new book penned by Aaron Hurst, the founder of the Taproot Foundation and an expert in pro bono service (volunteerism where someone gives professional skill instead of doing manual labor).  This book is interesting for a number of reasons, the first of which is that Aaron did some crowdsourcing of the content.  He wrote a draft, shared it with 100 people (I was happy to be one of them) and asked for input.  Then he reworked the book based on the input he received.  That’s a pretty cool idea.  And what he has to say is cool, as well.

The premise of The Purpose Economy is that our economic system is moving toward a place where purpose is a serious driver.  You know, from following this blog, that I believe in purpose.  And it’s exciting to see it acknowledged so broadly.  We do have a way to go, of course, but this conversation is an important one.  Read the book.  Check out Aaron’s site, and join the movement to evolve the economy.

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