Ken Goldstein, MPPA

Ken Goldstein has been working in nonprofits and local government agencies from Santa Cruz, to Sacramento, and back to Silicon Valley, since 1989. He's been staff, volunteer, board member, executive director, and, since 2003, a consultant to local nonprofit organizations. For more on Ken's background, click here. If you are interested in retaining Ken's services, you may contact him at ken at

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Return to blogging (part two)

Yesterday I apologized for not having posted for a long while, and put the blame on two factors: being very busy, and doing a bit of soul searching. Yesterday's post covered the busy part. Today I'll tell you a bit about what I've been thinking about.

I've now been an Interim Executive Director three times, and it's always interesting, but this last assignment went on for so long (nearly a year-and-a-half) that it became in many senses more like a "real job." So the assignment ending hit me in surprising ways. There is a very real sense of loss and emptiness, much like if a "real job" had unexpectedly come to end.

I'd already been examining my consulting practice and coming to the conclusion that writing grant proposals for a variety of organizations is not how I want to spend most of my time, and have been eliminating those assignments from my client list. For a variety of reasons, I feel that outside consultants can best serve an organization by giving them the knowledge to write their own proposals, and help on a limited basis. I have come to hold the belief that a nonprofit agency that completely outsources it's grant writing is making a strategic error, and probably not getting the best value on their investment, versus building that skill in-house.

So, with no more grant writing clients, and my long-term assignment coming to an end, I've had time to think about "what I want to do when I grow up." The basic options being: continue as is, just with fewer grant writing assignments; look for a "real job" as an Executive Director or other nonprofit leadership position; or "go corporate" and get a "real job" on the other side.

After a little exploration, and talking to several people about different options for me in the for-profit world, I've come to the obvious realization that it's just not for me. I am a nonprofit guy through and through. This was an exploration I had to go through (for the elusive dream of more money and a better retirement plan, etc.), but it was a silly idea.

But I did enjoy that last Interim ED position, and I do miss it more than I expected to. And so, while I'll continue to take some limited term consulting assignments right now, I think my long-term plan is to find a permanent Executive Director (or other senior leadership) position in the nonprofit sector.

Meanwhile, I'll get back to blogging, and shift back from "contemplative mode" to "active mode." I've been sent a great new book, Grassroots Philanthropy: Field NOtes of a Maverick Grantmaker by Bill Somerville and Fred Setterberg, that I'll be reviewing shortly too.

Thanks again for your patience and support.

1 comment:

  1. Well, there's nothing saying you can't go back to consulting when the timing suits you. People often cite stats for business failures, but the numbers don't tell the real story. Many people "go out of business" simply to pursue other activities and life goals, not because they were on the verge of bankruptcy. Consulting is a great business, because you can do it when you want -- it's about choosing the life you want to live. And that means jumping back into the regular workforce is just dandy!