<img src="https://d5nxst8fruw4z.cloudfront.net/atrk.gif?account=2wiVj1acFH00w0" style="display:none" height="1" width="1" alt="">

Unlocking Growth for Organizations and Idealists Like You

Are You Prioritizing Your People?

My family is no stranger to cancer and the accompanying stress. We have heard the words, You have cancer” more times than I can count on one hand. The most recent diagnosis came shortly after I started working here at Plenty. I was devastated by the news and stressed over the impact that it would have on my new career. I worried about my focus and managing time off. I feared that Plenty’s leadership team would dismiss me as apathetic towards my work. My worries only compounded more stress to the situation. Fortunately, my fears (in regards to work) were quickly reduced. Upon telling the Plenty team, the only questions asked were,How can we help?” and “What do you need?” The emails of support started flowing in from my Plenty family. While I was not at peace with my dad’s cancer, I quickly found peace and comfort in my leaders and colleagues. Today, I stood by my parents as my dad had his last radiation treatment. I was able to take a break from work to be exactly where I needed to be. Thankfully, I know that as my family’s journey with this terrible disease progresses, I will continually receive support, encouragement, and understanding from my team.

Topics: Leadership

The Only Guide to Happiness You'll Ever Need

For some of us, the ultimate goal in life is happiness. It is our truest pursuit and our most sought-after dream. Whether that is obtained via fulfillment in our work, contentment in our relationships, or passion in our hobbies, we strive to find happiness.

And yet, this search for happiness can be a lifelong search, especially if we look at happiness as something that will come once we achieve certain goals — a nice home, a perfect spouse, the ultimate promotion. When we meet these goals, instead of being happy and content, we often just begin looking for ways to achieve an entirely new set of goals.

Happiness shouldn’t be something that happens to us in the future, someday, if things go well. Happiness should be grounded in the present. It is who we are now, with the people we’re with now, doing the things we’re doing now. If we’re not with people who make us happy and doing things that make us happy, then we should take action to make it a reality.

Topics: Wellbeing

Positive Mental Wellbeing Tools for Change Makers

For the second post in our wellbeing series "Five Keys to Wellbeing for Change Makers" we are exploring mental wellbeing, and whether you realize this already or not, the mind is in fact where the ultimate challenge lies when it comes to wellbeing. Our mind is what makes us human, it is what allows us to consciously participate in this earthly experience. And when you understand the power of your mind and learn to optimize it for creating your world as a positive, healthy, joyful place to be, the other elements of whole wellbeing will follow. As a change maker seeking to make an impact, it is important to understand that you will have more to give to worthwhile causes if you are in the right head space and not consumed with negative thoughts. Without mental wellbeing, your physical, emotional, financial, and spiritual areas will all falter. While there are so many tools for taming the monkey mind, we will explore four key things right now that can help you begin to foster a positive mental state.

Topics: Wellbeing

How to Navigate a Diverse Donor Pool

Unfettered opinions abound in this fast-paced, connected world. It seems as if everyone has a blog, a Twitter, a Facebook page, etc., each platform acting as a host for one's thoughts on everything from coffee to healthcare reform. And even more importantly all of these perspectives, thoughts, and insights can be instantaneously and broadly shared. The ability to share and connect has undeniably proved to be an incredible asset to social movements, especially movements that lack a privileged institutional voice. Communities – no matter their social standing – are able to mobilize and unify on large scales like never before

On the other hand, every organization, institution, and individual is now up for public debate at any time, and nonprofit organizations are not exempt from this public scrutiny either. In fact, I’d argue they are some of the most likely to endure it. Supporters, advocates, and donors are dedicating energy, effort, and funds to your organization, and their commitment to you demonstrates their commitment to the change they’d like to see you make in the world – it’s no wonder that they want their voice to be heard. However, sometimes it can feel like too many cooks in the kitchen.

Topics: Funding

When Everything Looks Like Art

I was nearing the end of my freshman year of college. That year, I would take the Brown Line fifty-three minutes to the Adams/Wabash stop. I would head East and stop for a mint tea at the Starbucks on Adams and Michigan Avenue. When I was feeling especially indulgent, I would get a chocolate croissant to accompany the tea. Croissant and tea in hand, I would cross Michigan Avenue and arrive at the Art Institute of Chicago. A poor college student, this venture always occurred on a Thursday between five and eight p.m., when the museum was free to Illinois residents.

One night, near the end of my visit when my tea had long-since been thrown in the trash, I recall having a rather profound experience. I had meandered through the architecture collection, perused the textiles, and pondered the contemporary paintings. I was exiting the museum, absentmindedly walking behind an elderly couple holding hands. As I followed this couple out of the museum I watched the elderly man turn to his female counterpart and exclaim, “You know, having been in there for a while, you come out here and everything looks like art.” 

Topics: Inspiration

Let Your Light Shine

We are made of stardust, scientists say — the iron in our blood, the calcium in our bones, and the potassium in our muscles all forged in the furnaces of ageless stars whose explosions scattered the elements across the universe. From these ashes grew new stars, and around one of them, a system of planets and asteroids and moons. Our solar system. A mass of dust fused to form the earth, and life­ – human beings – literally emerged from the accumulation of fourteen billion-year-old light debris. Perhaps this is why we are drawn to the light. Things feel more familiar, more comfortable, safer in the light. And yet, there is a certain type of beauty that only reveals itself when coaxed from the backdrop of darkness. Like stars or the Aurora Borealis, there is this indescribable magnificence that, to be fully and truly enjoyed, can only be viewed after a period of darkness.

Enter Summer Solstice. Arriving on the heels of winter, a period of hibernation, solitude, and night, the Summer Solstice is a breath of much-needed fresh air. From the Latin roots sol and sistere, it is a day that translates as, “to stand still in the presence of the sun.” The Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, presents to us an annual opportunity in which we are able to reflect on the seeds we have planted through the winter season and the seeds we hope to plant in the next season of life. It is a time of growth and stretching. It is a time to account for our own authentic selves and ask: Where do I feel most expanded? What brings me joy? What gives me hope? It is, above all else, the ultimate time of illumination. On this momentous day, as the sun comes to rest at its highest point in the sky, we are invited to fully stand in our own light as our paths for the remaining days of the year are illuminated.

Topics: Wellbeing