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Serving the nonprofit sector is a privilege. Leading a nonprofit organization is, (in my opinion), one of life’s greatest joys. And one of life’s greatest sources of heartburn. Where else can you both provide a critical service to your community and fill a key need in your market? While, simultaneously, be asked to work miracles on a shoestring budget and perform the roles of CEO and chief bottle washer. My podcast, that’s where.

Join me, Kari Anderson, as I share my take on the nonprofit sector. In my 20+ years serving as a nonprofit Executive Director, I saw just about everything, and didn’t think I could be surprised. From bad board behavior to fundraising successes, well-meaning donors to entitled staff, no-show volunteers to successful community partnerships…I’ve got a story to tell!


In this episode, Kari Anderson, a seasoned nonprofit executive and principal at Incite! Consulting explores the art of storytelling within nonprofit organizations. With 25 years of experience in leadership roles across seven organizations, Kari now provides coaching and consulting services to ensure nonprofits like yours have the structure, systems, and practices to do their best work.

Kari discusses the significance of storytelling and why our brains are wired to love stories. She offers practical tips for gathering stories that resonate and provides insights on effectively communicating these stories to engage your audience. Kari emphasizes the importance of making storytelling a part of your organizational culture and using a variety of mediums to share your stories.

Key Episode Takeaways:

1. Why Our Brain Loves Stories: Understanding the neurological basis for why stories are so compelling and how this relevance applies to your nonprofit’s communication.

2. Tips for Gathering Resonant Stories: Strategies for identifying and capturing powerful moments that can form the foundation of impactful stories.

3. Effective Storytelling: Key elements to remember when crafting stories include knowing your audience, following a clear structure, and incorporating calls to action.

Kari invites you to reflect on your favorite book and its impact on you. She illustrates how powerful stories can inspire action and build connections. She encourages nonprofit leaders to pause and think about how their organizations can tell compelling stories that resonate with their communities.

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In this episode, Kari Anderson, a seasoned nonprofit executive and principal at Incite! Consulting, takes on the crucial topic of transparency within nonprofit organizations. Kari shares her wisdom on why transparency matters and offers practical tips for enhancing your organization’s transparency. She emphasizes the importance of building trust with donors, partners, and stakeholders by being open and honest about your operations. Kari also discusses the impact of achieving the GuideStar seal of transparency and how it can significantly boost your nonprofit’s credibility and funding. Tune in to learn actionable steps you can take today to improve your organization’s transparency and strengthen your relationships with your community.

Key Episode Takeaways:

  • Accomplishments and Donor Trust: Your nonprofit’s achievements are the top factor in establishing donor trust.
  • GuideStar Seal of Transparency: Earning this seal can significantly increase your contributions and demonstrates your commitment to transparency.
  • Accessibility of Information: Ensure that critical information is easily accessible on your website, including contact details for key staff and board members.

Resource Links

  • GuideStar (Candid): https://www.guidestar.org
  • Give.org Report on Nonprofit Trust: https://www.give.org
  • Annual Report Best Practices: https://www.nonprofitannualreport.com

Implementing these transparency tips to enhance trust and performance in your nonprofit!

In this episode of “Kari’s Confessions,” Kari Anderson, a nonprofit executive and founder of Incite! Consulting, analyzes the crucial topic of budgeting as a collaborative effort within nonprofit organizations. With over 25 years of experience, Kari emphasizes that effective budgeting cannot be a solo endeavor—it requires the collective involvement of key figures such as the board chair, executive director, and board treasurer. She demystifies the budgeting process, explaining it as a vital planning tool that tracks expenses and revenues, shaping the organization’s strategic decisions. This episode is packed with practical advice, aiming to equip nonprofit leaders with the understanding and tools necessary to foster budget adherence and accountability through team involvement.

Key Episode Takeaways:

  • A budget is essentially a planning document that helps nonprofit organizations manage their finances effectively, ensuring operational solvency.
  • Good budgeting practices are essential for making informed strategic decisions and for maintaining transparency with board members and donors.
  • Involving a team in the budgeting process is crucial for ensuring buy-in and accountability across the organization.
  • Enhance your team’s performance and growth.

In this episode of “Kari’s Confessions,” Kari Anderson, a nonprofit executive and founder of Incite! Consulting, shares her wealth of knowledge gained from 25 years in nonprofit leadership to help other nonprofit executives enhance their financial management skills. This episode focuses on the pivotal theme of financial readiness, which Kari describes as the backbone of organizational growth and sustainability. She outlines the elements of a comprehensive financial readiness assessment, stressing the importance of budgets that reflect an organization’s mission and priorities. Kari also discusses the prerequisites for securing and effectively using grant funding, emphasizing the need for solid internal foundations and diverse funding streams to attract confident grantors. She also tackles the topic of cost management, encouraging nonprofits to conduct thorough cost analyses to ensure they’re maximizing their financial resources for greater impact. This episode is an invaluable resource for nonprofit leaders looking to deepen their financial understanding and drive their organizations toward long-term success.

Key Episode Takeaways:

  • Understanding Financial Readiness: Learn what encompasses a financial readiness assessment and why it’s crucial for your organization’s growth.
  • Grant Application Foundations: Discover key insights on preparing your nonprofit to apply for and manage grant funding effectively.
  • Cost Management Analysis: Kari discusses the importance of thorough cost analysis in nonprofit operations, ensuring that resources are used efficiently for maximum impact.

In this episode of “Kari’s Confessions,” Kari Anderson, a nonprofit executive and founder of Incite! Consulting, shares the essentials of assembling and nurturing an engaged nonprofit board. She brings her 25 years of expertise to the forefront, offering a detailed roadmap for nonprofit leaders. From the initial steps of board recruitment to fostering deep connections through board retreats and recognition, Kari lays out the foundation for a robust board dynamic. Learn how clear communication, respect for time, and celebrating milestones can transform your board into a cohesive and motivated team. This episode is perfect for any leader looking to elevate their nonprofit’s governance and create an atmosphere of active participation and shared success.

Key Episode Takeaways:

  • Importance of transparency and honesty during the board recruitment process.
  • Creating a comprehensive and engaging board orientation.
  • Respecting board members’ time and preferences in communication.
  • The significance of regular one-on-one meetings with board members.
  • Organizing social events and annual retreats to foster team spirit.
  • Communicating clear outcomes and celebrating organizational wins.
  • Exploring the use of board management software for efficiency.
  • Conducting annual board self-assessments for continuous improvement.
  • The role of board committees in maintaining engagement and focus.

In this episode of “Kari’s Confessions,” Kari Anderson, a nonprofit executive and founder of Incite! Consulting, dives deep into the challenging waters of navigating poor nonprofit board behavior. With her extensive 25-year experience in the nonprofit sector, Kari sheds light on the common pitfalls and disruptive behaviors that board members can exhibit, from absenteeism to conflict avoidance. More importantly, she offers practical advice and actionable strategies for nonprofit leaders, particularly executive directors and board chairs, to address and mitigate these issues. By exploring the root causes of such behavior and introducing methods for fostering a positive and productive board culture, this episode is a must-listen for anyone looking to strengthen their nonprofit organization’s leadership and governance.

Key Episode Takeaways:

  • Identifying common poor behaviors in nonprofit boards, such as lack of participation and confrontational attitudes.
  • Understanding the root causes behind such behaviors, including inadequate orientation and unclear expectations.
  • Strategies for addressing and correcting poor board behavior, emphasizing the importance of clear communication, proper orientation, and setting clear expectations.
  • The role of executive directors and board chairs in leading and counseling the board towards positive engagement and productivity.
  • Tips for facilitating tough conversations and building authentic relationships with board members to prevent and address issues proactively.
  • Enhance your team’s performance and growth.

In this episode of “Kari’s Confessions,” Kari Anderson, a nonprofit executive and founder of Incite! Consulting, explores the importance of rethinking leadership roles, developing key leadership traits, and the significance of continuous leadership discussions in organizations. Whether you are a seasoned leader or aspiring to be one, this episode offers valuable insights into fostering growth, resilience, and sustainability in nonprofit leadership. Join Kari as she shares her journey and lessons learned, providing listeners with the tools and motivation to enhance their leadership skills and make a lasting impact in their organizations.

Key Episode Takeaways:

  • The importance of considering unconventional candidates for leadership roles.
  • Essential leadership traits such as vision, active listening, compassion, commitment, approachability, motivation, and self-awareness.
  • The significance of developing both hard and soft skills within your team for sustainable organizational growth.
  • Encouraging the cultivation of leadership at every level of the organization.
  • The value of leadership style assessments and adapting leadership approaches based on various factors.

In this episode of “Kari’s Confessions,” Kari Anderson, a nonprofit executive and founder of Incite! Consulting, provides essential tools, feedback, and advice aimed at fostering leadership within nonprofit organizations. This episode covers the critical aspects of effective organizational leadership, the empowerment of staff, and the creation of an inclusive workplace culture. Tune in to discover actionable strategies for retaining employees, building a bench of future leaders, and ensuring your nonprofit thrives through leadership transitions and growth.

Key Episode Takeaways:

  •  The importance of having effective organizational leadership in place and how to assess it.
  • Strategies for building and empowering staff to become leaders within their organization.
  • The significance of creating an inclusive workplace culture to foster growth and retention.
  • The role of professional development plans in leadership development and employee retention.
  • Practical advice for nonprofit execs on rightsizing their organization and the value of cross-training employees.

In this episode of “Kari’s Confessions,” Kari Anderson, a nonprofit executive and founder of Incite! Consulting, reveals evaluation techniques for nonprofits and shares invaluable insights on how to capture data that truly matters to evaluate your success effectively. This episode is a gold mine of advice on why gathering and evaluating data is essential for any nonprofit, how to determine what metrics you should be tracking, and the evaluation tools that can help you without breaking the bank. Whether you’re a small and mighty organization or a sprawling entity, Kari’s expert guidance from her 25-year nonprofit career will help make data collection and evaluation less overwhelming and more impactful for achieving your mission.

Key Episode Takeaways:

  • The importance of capturing data and evaluating program success for building trust with donors and ensuring organizational focus
  • Strategies for determining what data your nonprofit should track to avoid mission drift and enhance efficiency
  • Affordable and practical evaluation tools that nonprofits can implement to start gathering valuable data right away
  • Involvement of staff and volunteers in the goal-setting and data collection process for greater accountability and effectiveness
  • Kari’s personal insights and experiences that underline the value of data in nonprofit management and donor communication

On this episode of “Karis Confessions,” Kari Anderson, a nonprofit executive and founder of Incite! Consulting, shares the art of effective goal setting for nonprofit leaders. With her 25 years of experience in the nonprofit sector, Kari shares invaluable insights and practical strategies to help you redefine goal setting in a way that aligns with your mission and fosters growth. This episode is a treasure trove for anyone in the nonprofit world looking to start the new year with clear, achievable, and impactful goals. Whether you’re leading a team of one or twenty, Kari’s advice on flexibility, adaptability, and honesty in goal setting will empower you to propel your nonprofit forward.

Key Episode Takeaways:

  • The importance of reframing goal setting to avoid perfectionism and set realistic targets.
  • Strategies for setting SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-based) and the significance of celebrating achievements.
  • Practical tips on aligning your calendar with your goals to ensure consistent progress.
  • Kari’s personal experiences and challenges in goal setting, providing a relatable perspective.


Dec 31, 2023

In this episode of ‘Karis Confessions,’ Kari Anderson, delves into the crucial task of preparing for staff reviews in the nonprofit sector. Kari shares valuable insights on the importance of effective staff reviews for organizational success. She discusses the shortcomings of traditional review methods, as indicated by recent Gallup poll statistics, and emphasizes the need for ongoing communication, goal setting, and feedback for staff performance improvement. Kari also provides practical advice on structuring one-on-one meetings, conducting self-evaluations, and handling difficult conversations. Her expert guidance is aimed at helping nonprofit leaders create a more transparent and motivational review process, fostering employee growth and organizational development.

Key Episode Takeaways:
– The necessity of preparation for effective staff reviews.
– Insights from a Gallup poll highlighting the ineffectiveness of traditional review methods.
– The importance of ongoing communication and feedback for staff performance.
– Strategies for setting and achieving performance goals collaboratively.
– Tips for conducting productive one-on-one meetings and quarterly reviews.
– The value of self-evaluations and 360 reviews for comprehensive feedback.
– Techniques for delivering specific, empathetic, and constructive feedback.

Enhance your team’s performance and growth. Contact Kari Anderson for resources on crafting effective performance reviews, and don’t forget to subscribe to our podcast for more valuable insights into nonprofit leadership.

December 17, 2023

In this episode of “Kari’s Confessions,” Kari Anderson, delves into the vital dynamics of the relationship between an executive director and a board chair in nonprofit organizations. Drawing from her extensive experience, Kari discusses the importance of staying in one’s professional lane, shares tips for fostering effective relationships, and emphasizes teamwork for organizational success. She recounts personal experiences, including a pivotal moment with a mentor, to highlight the critical role of open communication and trust in these partnerships. This episode is a must-listen for anyone in the nonprofit sector seeking to strengthen their leadership and organizational impact.

Key Episode Takeaways

  • The crucial role of the executive director-board chair relationship in nonprofits.
    Importance of clear role definition and staying in one’s lane.
  • Tips for effective communication and building trust between the executive director and the board chair.
  • Personal anecdotes highlighting the impact of mentorship and feedback in professional growth.
  • Strategies for effective teamwork and ensuring organizational efficiency.

December 3, 2023

In this episode of “Kari’s Confessions,” Kari Anderson, dives deep into the crucial topic of Fund Development Planning. As we navigate the complexities of budget cycles in the fall season, Kari emphasizes the importance of aligning revenue generation with organizational missions. She concisely breaks down what Fund Development Planning truly entails, going beyond mere fundraising to strategy development and donor engagement. Kari also highlights the critical role of board involvement in this process, ensuring board buy-in and support. With her expertise, Kari transforms the often-daunting task of fund development into an approachable and strategic endeavor, essential for the sustainability of any nonprofit organization.

Key Episode Takeaways

  • Understanding the essence and strategy behind Fund Development Planning.
  • The significance of planning in diversifying revenue streams and making informed decisions.
  • The importance of board members and specific committees in the planning process.
  • Insight into setting goals, measuring results, and engaging in effective fundraising.
  • Tips on creating a robust Fund Development Plan, aligning it with the organization’s mission and vision.

Nov 19, 2023

In this enlightening episode, Kari Anderson explores the art of maximizing year-end appeals in the nonprofit sector. Discover the secrets to making November and December your most lucrative fundraising months. We delve deep into the strategic planning necessary for a successful campaign, emphasizing the importance of ‘planning backwards’ for optimal impact. Gain invaluable insights on the most effective tools and techniques to engage donors and drive donations.

Plus, Kari shares essential tips on maintaining meaningful relationships with your donors, ensuring their continued support. Whether you’re a seasoned professional or new to the nonprofit world, this episode is your go-to guide for setting and achieving realistic, data-driven fundraising goals. Tune in to transform your year-end appeal and make a lasting impact!

Key Episode Takeaways

  • Maximizing Year-End Donations: Uncover strategies to make the most of the fundraising potential in November and December.
  • Strategic Planning: Learn about planning your campaign from the end goal backwards and why it’s crucial for success.
  • Engaging Tools and Techniques: Discover what tools and approaches can significantly enhance your fundraising campaign.
  • Donor Engagement: Get insights into building and nurturing relationships with donors for long-term success.
  • Data-Driven Goals: Understand the importance of setting realistic goals based on your nonprofit’s unique data and demographic insights.

In this episode, Kari Anderson, emphasizes the importance of understanding that a nonprofit budget is not just a spreadsheet filled with numbers; it’s a strategic tool that plays a pivotal role in organizational success.

Throughout the episode, Kari shares insights on why proficient budgeting matters, how to make it a collaborative team effort, and the significance of starting the budgeting process early. She emphasizes the need for consistency in your approach and the importance of being realistic when estimating revenue and expenses. Kari also advocates for professional development funds, not only for staff but also for board members, highlighting their crucial role in your organization’s success.

Key Takeaways:

1. Nonprofit budgeting is more than numbers; it’s a strategic tool.
2. Proficient budgeting informs decisions and enhances donor engagement.
3. Budgeting is a collaborative team sport involving your board.
4. Start early and maintain consistency in your budgeting approach.
5. Allocate funds for board member professional development to enhance their contribution to your organization’s success.

Welcome to the very first episode of “Kari’s Confessions,” the podcast where the curtain on the world of nonprofit leadership is peeled back. In this inaugural episode you’re invited to explore the core responsibilities of an executive director. Whether you’re a seasoned nonprofit professional or just embarking on your journey in the sector, understanding the intricacies of this role is essential.

The episode delves into the five fundamental areas every executive director should excel in, regardless of the organization’s size:

1. Board Support: As an executive director, one is accountable to the entire board while reporting to the board chair. The episode offers insights into navigating this relationship effectively.

2. Staff and Volunteer Coaching: Whether managing a small team or a multitude of volunteers, effective coaching and engagement strategies are discussed to empower your workforce.

3. Fundraising: The chief fundraiser for the organization, the episode explores the development of a diversified fund development plan to maintain financial stability.

4. Community Outreach and Engagement: The role extends beyond the boardroom, with tips on effective communication and outreach strategies.

5. Administrative Functions: Managing payroll, databases, and finances is crucial for the organization’s success, though often less glamorous.

Listeners are encouraged to reflect on these core responsibilities in their own nonprofit journey. Are there additional responsibilities unique to their organization? Are they clear on their role as an executive director? And where do they need extra support?

The episode also touches on the nonprofit lifecycle, aiding listeners in identifying where their organization stands and what challenges they might face.

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