12 Thoughts on 12 years of Nonprofit Consulting

September 21, 2018

How does one distill 12 years of accumulated wisdom in 12 truths? You start with a much larger list and then narrow the list down to the ones that are most meaningful today. I am proud to share these nuggets of wisdom and ask you, what have you learned in the last 12 years?

  1. It’s okay to have favorite clients as long as no one knows who they are.

  2. Our ability to grow has only been limited by our ability to implement our imagination.

  3. Just because I have been turned down for business over 300 times, doesn’t mean that it wasn’t worth the effort that landed nearly 250 clients.

  4. I have had the pleasure to learn from and work with nearly 50 people (including interns) and it is okay to be proud of where these people are now.

  5. ZIM employees are better if they have active and meaningful lives outside ZIM.

  6. The work being done on time is more important than where the work is being done.

  7. ZIM needs a refresh of materials, our website content, verbiage and marketing every 2-3 years or we begin to look stale.

  8. Being able to listen carefully and communicate clearly has become even more important over time because problems are more complicated, there are more means of communication, and writing styles have diversified.

  9. It is akin to robbery to create a plan that cannot be implemented.

  10. When working with a nonprofit, the best ideas often come from other nonprofits that serve different sectors of the community.

  11. Supervision isn’t always as important as support-a-vision.

  12. Despite advances in technology, some “old-school” tactics are still more effective in achieving fundraising goals.


  1. No one client should be more than 25% of your business or you will get into significant trouble in your future.

Thank you to everyone who has helped make ZIM successful over the last 12 years!


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