Publications, opinions, and speeches


Five Good Ideas in the Top Right Drawer!

Published on 22/09/2011

Much of the work in Canada is done in a broad sector variously called The Community Sector, The Third Sector, The NGO (Non Government Organization) Sector, or The Charitable Sector. These descriptions define it as non government and non business. The Sector itself is broad, ranging from small volunteer organizations, through entities with one or two staff, to large institutes with many staff and very large budgets.

What they all seem to share, with few exceptions, is scarce funding and stretched management. While society seems to tolerate very high salaries in the corporate world, based on the presumption that businesses are creating wealth and value, it begrudges high salaries in the community sector because it falsely does not perceive either wealth or value creation. And whenever economic hard times are upon us, the budget cutting knives slice first at community organizations and their employees.

The enduring result is that community organizations are funded as austerely as possible, and their management teams are thin and stretched. Each senior manager is called upon to wear many hats: chief executive, manager of human resources, chief financial officer, head fundraiser, technology guru, program manager and dishwasher all in one person, all in one day, every day. Everyone who has held a senior management job in the community sector has experienced this, and few of them complain about it.

What it means, then, is that they have to be awfully good to be able to do so many things at a high level. But where does a mid-career person facing promotion go to learn so many things in a time-effective way?

This is the question Maytree sought to answer eight years ago with the Five Good Ideas lunch-and-learn program. What we sought to do was distil essential good practice across a broad range of management topics so that managers could pick out the highest leverage ideas to improve their own performance. We invited experts on key topics like finance, human resources, strategy, technology, government relations, and governance to deliver five good ideas that would enhance performance. We were delighted that so many excellent people responded to our invitation, and even more delighted that there was such a strong response and attendance from people in the community sector.

Maytree is launching Five Good Ideas, the book, published by Coach House Press. It is a collection of the lunch-and-learn presentations, and is a quick and easy reference for managers. Whether you are trying to figure out how to manage your board, structure your communications, deal with a union contract, or raise funds, Five Good Ideas can help you begin thinking about it more effectively. It can be as close as the top right hand drawer of your desk.

It is our hope that Five Good Ideas will be a real help to community sector managers, and in fact to all managers whether they be in government or business, because the elements of good management are common to all. Our observation and experience is that managers in the community sector bring a high level of talent, commitment, and endurance to their work, and we believe Five Good Ideas will make them even better, and will provide a helpful companion whenever needed.

Right in the top right hand desk drawer. Five Good Ideas.

>> Learn more about the Five Good Ideas book.


Non-profit sector


Managers in the community sector bring a high level of talent, commitment, and endurance to their work – our new book will help make them even better.