A friend of mine who was present laughed with me about it later, saying “he didn’t know who he was dealing with I guess.” Well, not only that — I’m over getting personally offended by someone not related to me shouting — but I didn’t much mind that he yelled because at least it got his opinion, which seemed very much a minority position, out on the table where it could be explored.

So many people I run into in my work seem very cautious and well behaved but real democracy is messy and chaotic almost by definition. And, as you may know, we at NPQ feel that democracy-R-us.

In other words, democracy is the underlying job of all nonprofits the same way that in the business sector, the underlying job is making money, whether you’re selling fried chicken or a (related) quickie forty-pound weight loss plan over the TV.

Leadership in the nonprofit sector should require us to mix it up — and sometimes very impolitely when we believe the status quo to be dead wrong, but I am concerned that we may be losing our taste for this kind of leadership for fear of the marginalization that oppositional behavior can cause in our own continuous search for funds.

NPQ is getting an issue on leadership ready for the spring and would like your help.

I would love to hear from you, our readers, about your experience and observations of truly edgy leadership among nonprofits. Tell us a quick story about those who are skirting “propriety” with good effect or with the conviction required to get there. Send us news clips and your feelings and impressions about those edgy leaders especially when the risk-taking involves a whole group.

Meanwhile, in the wake of Super Tuesday I still marvel at how long it took us to have an African American or a woman stand as a major party candidate for president of this country.

Your as always,


p.s. By the way, all my daughter needs to do is look askance at me and I fold entirely.

p.p.s This is our 100th e-newsletter — do we all get a prize?