Monday, July 26, 2010

Moving Forward: Raising the Right Questions

Content on this blog has been sparse as of late, I know. But I do have a good excuse: I've been job hunting and recently got an offer to be a Communications and Assessment Associate at Venture Philanthropy Partners. VPP is a great organization, serving non-profits in the DC area that focus on low-income families and children. They provide sizable investment capital, along with leadership development and support.  I am very excited to join this team and continue my career in the non-profit sector. I will be joining at an exciting time, as they were named recently  as a recipient of one of 11 grants in the inaugural Social Innovation Fund portfolio.

As it stands now, this blog is in limbo. They want me to continue my work on it, as do I, although I think it will end up being in a different format. I'm not sure how dramatically it will change; it will be distinct and separate from my work at VPP, but of course related.

I'm thinking now I will start to focus more on my personal thoughts and experiences as a young professional exploring the changing non-profit sector. I hope to use it as a guide for other 20-somethings as they explore and make their mark on the sector with me. If you have any thoughts on which directions I should go in, please let me know. This blog will probably be quiet for a while as I get into the swing of my new position and I'll start it back up when I've got a solid grasp on where I want to take it.

On a related note, in this time of reflection, I'd like to talk a little bit about my exploration in the last few months since I started this venture. Recently, I was cited by (link to? given a shout out by?) Lucy Bernholz at Philanthropy 2173, probably the biggest mention I've gotten so far. She discussed a post I wrote on collective venture philanthropy, not because of an insightful and interesting comment I made, but because, in her words, I was "raising the right questions."

In this blog, and in my professional career, I have mostly striven to do exactly this. I know I don't know much about much, but I do know that I'd like to know more. Maybe as I get more experience, I'll be able to create some posts that I see as a definitive message or opinion on something, but right now, I'm more interested in the discovery. Sasha Dichter expounded on this as a blogging technique quite eloquently.

So, I appreciate everyone who has come along on the ride with me. In the times to come, I hope to continue asking the right questions and discover the answers with all of you. Look for more soon.


  1. Congratulations on the new job! I really enjoyed the Four Types of Donors from a few weeks ago and will be looking forward to future questions and discussion.
    Brigid at

  2. Jeff-
    I have always been impressed with your ability to balance academic observation/analysis with personal experience, and I don't think a drastic change would be necessary to get at your (rather excellent) idea to create a guide for your peers in the non-profit sector. As someone who hopes to one day contribute to work such as yours in (perhaps) a legal capacity, I know I would appreciate your thoughts and observations of the changing sector as you work from a communications/assessment perspective. Though my nonprofit work has thus far focused on community development through the arts, it was always fascinating to me that nonprofits often seem to develop competitive relationships with one another (in a strategic planning meeting for a local theater I actually heard the word "threat" associated with a new nonprofit arts organization coming to the area). It is my belief, however, that we in the nonprofit sector-involved with similar or different topics therein-have much to gain from one another. I hope you've experienced more camaraderie in your work than I have, but regardless, I believe your blog has the potential of opening up dialogue among the new generation of nonprofit leaders. I look forward to reading it!

  3. Congratulations, Jeff. I agree with Katie that there's not much of a reason to change the blog, but adding another category of posts sure wouldn't hurt.