From 100 Things We’ve Learned

Older dog, new tricks in the video age

Since the full force of the Covid 19 shutdown took place a few weeks ago, Jon, Alex and I have had to rapidly adjust how we work. Yes, this older dog is sharing and learning new tricks in this video age just as fast as she can. dog with bowl

Ironically, I’ve been working from a home office for 26 years since the founding of Cause & Effect Inc. For at least the last five, I’ve been enjoying videoconferencing with colleagues across the US and Canada through the wonders of Zoom. I have been singing its praises. We even opened Christmas presents with the sons, spouse, fiance and my LA based daughter and my son-in-law over a few hours. It was a lot of fun.

I’ve been promoting videoconferencing as an essential skill of the 21st century board.

See: Technology-aided board meetings: A critical skill for your nonprofit board..


I never imagined that videoconferencing would be the only realistic way to connect with the nonprofit teams I work with.

And I’m sure that those directors, staff and volunteers never imagined it either. If you’ve already have a geographically disperse universe, you are likely an old hand. But most of our clients are within driving distance and they have had an abrupt learning curve. Read more

A case study: lessons from small organizations in trying to share back office

Some of the lessons we learned: 1. In the smallest organizations, capacity is in individuals and their institutional knowledge, not organizational systems. When inevitable transitions occur, built capacity can quickly be lost. Attention must be paid to building sustained people capacity somewhere in the network. Transitions often occur at a rate that prohibits capacity building. 2. Small groups need either a large organization with significant built capacity already on their team or they will need a much larger cash investment to buy what they lack.

Read more