Archive for June, 2011


Hello everybody,

We had a great clean today and decided to venture over to Front Royal for a much needed clean around what used to be Riverton Dam. It was a tedious process removing mostly old glass blottles, catfood cans, and derelect fishing line that scoured the banks like root systems, but we put the time into it and got it done. We had and end weight of 870 pounds of trash including 7 tires, 10 bags of trash another 55 gallon drum and a state barrel. Not bad for a days pull with just two guys. So by all means enjoy our photos and stay tuned for more action in the Shenandoah River Clean-up Project.



Hey Folks,

At long last we are back in town and are planning on doing a clean-up tomorrow morning at noon. The usual meeting spot (Redbanks Bridge) We hope to bring you many pictures of trash removed so keep your eyes peeled and ready for more action from the big book of river clean.

Other news,
Keep an eye out for our newsletter which should be making a debut soon. Don’t forget to sign up for updates so you can be the first to know what’s happening with the struggle against pollution. Support your local non-profit. The more people that know and understand the cause the more we can accomplish together.



Hello all,

We hope that you will join us for another large scale clean in the future. Just read on and enlist via the e-mail I just received.
Hello Beau,
We hope you are enjoying this lovely summer so far!  Today, we are writing to ask if you will once again lend your energy and commitment to helping our environment? Last fall, you played a leadership role by serving as a Site Captain for Virginia Waterways Cleanup – would you help us again this year?  The VA Waterways Cleanup (part of the International Coastal Cleanup) is an exciting annual statewide event that has been CVW’s largest project since 1995. It involves thousands of
Virginians in cleaning our rivers and beaches, while also collecting useful data about what kind of litter they find. Please use the attached sign-up form if you have new contact information – or — if your information is the same as last year, just let us know by replying to this email and saying, “my info is the same” and providing the anticipated date and time of your cleanup, plus the number of volunteers you expect.  We will get you signed up. 
CVW will provide data cards, pencils, promotional items, and assist with publicity for your events. We are working also on getting trash bags donated. Cleanup events that are open to the public will be listed on the Ocean Conservancy’s new interactive web site:   later this summer. Volunteers who are interested in participating can contact you directly, and help you build your corps of volunteers.

About Last Year’s Virginia Waterways Cleanup
NEW RECORD NUMBER OF VOLUNTEERS! With 6,157 volunteers picking up 188,124 pounds of trash on 318 miles of

Virginia’s rivers, streams and beaches – CVW set an all time record for the state thanks to your help. Clean Virginia Waterways is now ranked 7th in the nation for the number of volunteers working on this important river and beach project.The data collected by CVW volunteers are used by the Ocean Conservancy, VA State Parks, U.S. Coast Guard, National Park Service and hundreds of non profit organizations to help track trends in litter, and to design litter-prevention efforts.
Thank you for your help last year!!
We look forward to your continued support of this wonderful volunteer project. And we thank you for all you have done and for your continued commitment to cleaning our rivers and beaches!
Katie Register, Executive
Sandy Miller, Project Manager

P.S.  Here is a list of
the top ten litter items volunteers found last year during the

Top Ten items found in last year’s ICC in
Virginia (2010):

Item   Total items collected   Percentage

1.  Cigarettes/Cigarette

2.  Beverage Bottles (plastic) 2 liters or

3.  Bags (Plastic)

4.  Food Wrappers/Containers

5.  Beverage Cans

6.  Cups, Plates, Forks, Knives,

7.  Glass Beverage Bottles

8.  Caps, Lids

9.  Straws, Stirrers

10. Bags (Paper)

Top Ten Total   112,357   85.20%
These ten items
accounted for 85.20 percent of all litter and trash picked up by volunteers in
Virginia during the 2010 Virginia Waterways Cleanup (part of the International
Coastal Cleanup). 6,157 Virginians volunteered in 2010 and participated in
gathering the data shown above.

This annual statewide volunteer
event involves hundreds of partnering organizations and is coordinated by Clean
Virginia Waterways, a program affiliated with Longwood University. Financial support for 2011 has been
provided by Altria, Chesapeake Bay Restoration Fund and BoatUS Foundation. For more information, visit the CVW web site: or contact CVW at 434-395-2602 or

Hey everybody,

This is your captain speaking. I am pleased to let you know that we have had a game changing  thing happened to us. A few months ago I had applied for a 25,000.00 grant through Merck and low and behold we got the thing. So that being said we all should jump up and down a few times and give a hearty thank you to the good people at Merck for helping us to clean our beautiful river up. Thanks guys and gals, and thank you to all who support the Shenandoah River Clean-up Project.

On another note we got to do a clean with friends ( of the North Fork) this Saturday and although we showed up a little later than the crack of dawners and cannot hardly take credit for what was accomplished there we did help out as much as we could and also thought we would share some pretty cool pictures taken while on the clean. Good job everyone and keep up the good work.



Luminosity . . . editor notes issue #67

  Editor’s Notes – June 7, 2011 – forward articleEmail Wow! The last special issue of Blue Avocado had more than 1,000 people sign up for free webinars, dozens of folks using the discount on Exceed fundraising software, and many taking advantage of big discounts for IdeaEncore and Nonprofit Quarterly. Thank you for such a warm response!

Stories: we all know the importance of telling the stories of our clients, constituents, and community leaders. And we hear perhaps a few too many stories about wealthy donors (“Mrs. X donates to us!”– note to community foundations: no more of these, please) and celebrities who start charities (never any follow-up by the way). But we seldom read the stories about ourselves: people working and volunteering in community nonprofits. (Also see Nonprofits in Popular Culture.)

That’s why we like the First Person Nonprofit stories so much in Blue Avocado. This issue we hear from a still-bleeding founding executive director who was fired by her board. Other stories have included Our Executive Director is Embezzling, how a nonprofit pulled through the “shadow of failure,” Six of Our Board Members are in Prison, an Air Force captain who changed careers to fundraising, and more. You can read them all by clicking here, and if you have a First Person Nonprofit story to tell, let us know about it by clicking here.

We also welcome a new advertiser: NTEN . . . see their ad across the bottom of this page . . . sign up for their free journal on smart technology use in nonprofits. We especially liked “Five Free Tools for Social Media Listening” in the March issue, and their upcoming free webinar on “Navigating the Nonprofit Cloud.”

Finally, “It may be that you are not yourself luminous,” said Arthur Conan Doyle (creator of Sherlock Holmes). “But you are a conductor of light.” In a similar way, our nonprofits are not themselves bodies of light, but they conduct the luminosity of the people who make use of them to change the world. Keep on shining. –Jan Masaoka

> Read more


The Board Just Fired Me . . . and I’m the Founder!

  First Person Nonprofit – By Anonymous – May 28, 2011 – forward articleEmail We usually don’t publish First Person Nonprofit articles anonymously. But in this case we know the individual and corroborated the key points of her story, and we understand why she has asked that her name not be published.

Four weeks and five days ago from this moment — at 4 pm on a May afternoon — I was fired. That morning the board chair told me our afternoon meeting would not be a finance committee meeting after all, but, rather, “about your future with the organization.” The meeting lasted, at the most, 6 minutes.

“We would like you to resign,” the board chair said.

“I have already submitted my resignation,” I replied. Three weeks ago I had told the board I would be leaving in November. We were about to embark on a strategic planning process, and our big conference — the one I created 11 years ago — would be in the fall. That seemed like a fitting exit point.

“It’s not acceptable to wait until November,” he said. “We are terminating you effective immediately. Please turn in your keys and key card right now.”

> Read more


Outsource Your Bookkeeping!

  Finance & Strategy – By Steve Zimmerman, CPA, MBA – June 6, 2011 – forward articleEmail The most strategic decision you make regarding how to staff your accounting department may be to not staff it at all. Well, at least not with employees of your organization. Outsourced accounting — having the accounting done by an outside person or firm — isn’t new, but it is getting a second look as nonprofits search for ways to cut office costs. 

We’ve written here before about using accurate and timely financial information to manage your organization well. But the question for many executive directors is: how do I get that financial information? While a good in-house bookkeeper is probably better than an outsourced bookkeeper, an outsourced bookkeeper is much better than a bad in-house bookkeeper.

“For a long time I had various people in the office do it,” one executive director said. “But they didn’t have the skills and as we grew we needed real skills. Then I hired an MBA and only much later did I find out that MBAs don’t know how to do accounting or bookkeeping. Then I hired an accountant but he didn’t know anything about nonprofit accounting and got our grant reports all screwed up. Then I hired a controller who could talk a good game but could never seem to get anything accomplished and in fact ended up suing us for wrongful termination. Finally I hired an outside bookkeeper who is doing a great job.”

Many executive directors find it difficult to find someone with the right skills to prepare invoices (for government or clients), produce financial statements, and analyze financial data to answer management questions. And finding such a person at an affordable rate is even more challenging.

What does outsourced bookkeeping look like?

The term outsourcing may sound . . .

> Read more


The 7 x 7 Board Member Briefing

  Board Cafe – By Jan Masaoka – May 30, 2011 – forward articleEmail Very often the only time a board member is given the “microphone” at a board meeting is when he or she is making a committee report. But wait a minute! Why do we ask people onto boards because of their knowledge and perspectives, but never give them a chance to share their knowledge or persepctives with us?

Instead, at each board meeting schedule a 7×7 (“seven by seven”) Board Briefing: a board member makes a 7 minute presentation, followed by 7 minutes of questions/answers/responses. Friendly-but-fierce timekeeping is required to keep to the 7 minutes each and the whole thing takes 15 minutes.

An example that will spark ideas for your organization is a list of 7×7 Board Briefings given at one AIDS organization, each by a board member:

  • A marketing executive at a bank gave a presentation on marketing principles that the board and staff should be know when planning awareness campaigns.
  • A doctor told the moving story of working with his first AIDS patient.
  • A pharmaceuticals manager presented (with powerpoint!) on trends in the drug industry and what impacts they might have on patients
  • A client told about her experiences using the services of the organization, with both praise and problems
  • A major donor (to this organization and to others) talked about how he and other wealthy individuals have similar — and different — preferences on how they like to be approached and recognized

Several problems get solved in one fell swoop with the 7 x 7 (“seven by seven”) Board . . .

> Read more


Making the Most of a 3-Minute Vacation with Cables

  Nonprofit Life & Style – By Cristina Chan – May 4, 2011 – forward articleEmail Christoph Niemann’s online story “My Life with Cables” uses cartoons and real cables and cords to ingeniously capture every person’s love-hate relationship with these undeniably useful items, which inevitably end up in a tangled mess under or behind desks and “home entertainment centers.” Maybe we should all just learn to stop worrying and love the cable – after all, weren’t we all born tethered by one?

> Read more


Nonprofit Survivor — Redemption Island?

  Nonprofit Life & Style – June 7, 2011 – forward articleEmail How can CBS call its show Survivor: Redemption Island when everyone knows nonprofits are the original redemption villages?















Friends is holding a spur of the moment cleanup on Saturday, June 18.  We’ll meet at the Friends’ office
at 122 South Commerce Street at 8:30am and then carpool to Lupton Bridge.
Recent flooding left a large number of tires at the bridge area and we’d like to
get them out of the river.

There will probably be lots of opportunity to
get wet and muddy, so bring your waders if you have them.  If you’d rather stay
dry (kind of!), you can help do the loading on to trucks and trailers.

Please email Jack Chapman at or call the Friends’ office at
540-459-8550 if you would like to help.

Meeting place:  Friends’ office at 122 South Commerce Street in
Cleanup duration: probably end by 12 or 1pm.
What to
bring:  waders (if you have them), boots, gloves, water, sunscreen,

Thanks everybody and hope to see you


Leslie Mitchell-Watson

Hey everyone,

I’ve got some fresh news for you about the war on river trash. This weekend we were actually lucky enough to be able to go out twice and I had a good amount of help aswell which was greatly appreciated.  Saturday was as you know the Chesapeake Bay Foundations ” Save the Bay Day” and we decided to register a site. We ended up getting another 1,000 pounds of trash out of the river including 10 more tires a car chassis and some other random rubbish. It was a good time though and I’d like to thank everyone for helping out and making everyones life a little easier.


Hey Folks,

We had another great clean today removing 500 lbs of trash and 11 tires. We’re going back for another clean tomorrow. Meet at Redbanks Bridge at 10 A.M. The river is loosing alot of water so if you want a good float better be getting on it soon. As always thanks to everyone who supports what we do. Don’t forget to tell everyone you know about your local river clean-up company. Also any companies that would like to have an Earth Korps clean-up named for them just call 540-335-8144 and set up a clean-up date. Provide us with a bit of man power for the day and the clean-up is yours.


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