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Takeaways from Cause Camp 2018

Yet another Cause Camp is officially in the books. A special thanks to all who made it the best one yet. If you were unable to attend, or if you want to relive some of the magic, we’ve compiled our top takeaways from Cause Camp 2018. Stay tuned for more highlights and additional information about next year’s conference!

Overhead myth

The overhead myth was once again a big topic at Cause Camp. You know, “the false conception that financial ratios are a proxy for overall nonprofit performance.” Those are the words of Julie Hirshey, Director of Community Relations for Super Bowl Champions Philadelphia Eagles, who came this year to chat about how her organization tackled explaining overhead to donors. Another hot take came from Vu Le, who said that some donors are worth losing if they’re just not getting it, like those who demand results or prevent you from achieving your mission and changing lives.

Delighting your donors

You know when you go to a restaurant and you receive a mint when your check comes? Or your car comes with a heated steering wheel? You didn’t go to that restaurant or buy that car because of those extra things, but weren’t the added bonuses so great? They’re what Simon Scriver calls “delights.” And he suggests you “delight” your donors when they give to you with things like handwritten thank you notes, personal meetings and stories about who they’ve helped directly. “You will never make everyone care about your cause,” Simon said. “Find that small group of people who care about what you do and lavish love on them.” That’s an idea we can get behind.


Kristen Hadeed started her career at Student Maid when she was just a college student, and over the last 10 years she’s helped make it a booming business. She spoke at Cause Camp about her obsession with leadership and how the trials and tribulations she faced as a young business owner helped her understand what her employees need in the workplace. Kristen gave us four key things millennials look for in a career: autonomy, feedback, connection and purpose. With each of those points, she reminded us that, as leaders, we sometimes have to “step back and let other people step up.” And especially when it comes to a younger generation that values individualism and making a mark on the world, those words definitely struck a chord with many in the audience.


Yes, we went there. Cause Camp 2018 saw us having that difficult conversation about diversity in the workplace. Speakers Vu Le, Nancy Schwartz, Simone Joyaux and Kishshana Palmer spoke on a panel and answered questions about the difference between equity and equality, representation, avoiding tokenism and why we should seek to recruit and retain diverse talent. What are some key points to take away? Expand your network to include people of color, women, religious minorities, people with disabilities and LGBTQ individuals. Make sure you’re asking people who are underrepresented what they want in a work environment and how you can accommodate them. Most of all: have those conversations about representation and diversity. As Vu said about racism, “Changing racism is not a tonsilectomy. It needs to be a dental hygiene process. Looking in the mirror every day, two times a day, brushing and flossing and saying thanks when someone points out we have a bit of racism stuck in our teeth.”

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