#SOSVenezuela: please watch, #prayforvenezuela, and share

For my English-speaking friends… I have been unfair on my Twitter account, with the amount of Spanish-spoken tweets. You see, in the country where I was born, when we all thought things couldn’t get worse, they did.

Instead of reinventing the wheel, I will first share an amazing video by @andreina_nash that does a pretty good job at explaining what’s going on in Venezuela in a nutshell.

WARNING: there are graphic images in this video… and THIS how life in the cities of Venezuela is like today.

Throughout the world, there have been protests organized by Venezuelans abroad in support of those who are not staying quiet, taking to the streets in protest, risking their lives. Here’s one by family members studying in Italy. Today we humbly participated in the protest at the Ferry Building in San Francisco. Here’s a video we composed with images from the San Francisco protest, in hopes of inspiring you to get informed, get involved, and share with others…

I registered to vote today… yet it’s a sad day!

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Today, Andreina and I became US Citizens… 13 years after arriving in this country, after 7 years of work visas, and 6 years of being permanent residents, we can finally vote! As soon as we finished the Citizenship Oath Ceremony, we applied for our US Passport and registered to vote.

My heart is torn, though. On one side, I am happy (can’t deny it) about finally reaching this goal of ours, one that we’ve been looking forward for so many years. However, on the other side it’s profoundly saddening to see the recent news in Venezuela, which are beginning to escalate into who-knows-what. Today, during anti-government protests by thousands of people in all the main Venezuelan cities were met with violence, resulting in at least 3 deaths and 23 wounded.

Later in the day, NTN24, a CNN-like station focused on Latin American news was taken off satellite TV by the Venezuelan government while it was the ONLY station broadcasting what was happening. President Maduro showing his true colors…

For those who want to follow NTN24 via YouTube, here’s the LIVE stream, thanks to YouTube:

Will this be the start of a Venezuelan Spring?

4 pieces of advice for nonprofits

As I was replying to some very interesting questions from a friend that runs another blog (a REAL blog, one that posts every day!) I found myself compiling some pieces of advice for others in the nonprofit sector. Hope you find these four to be valuable. If so, drop me a line in the comments…

Focus:
Be very specific about what you want to accomplish (your mission), and focus on it obsessively. You will be approached with opportunities that look like shining objects. Evaluate them vs. your mission: if it’s not a good match, feel empowered to say NO to them. Otherwise you will find yourself down the road wondering why on earth you are doing X or Y program.

As part of your efforts to focus, consider in a selfless way if the mission you wish to accomplish may be best served by an existing group. Feel confident enough to approach others with the thought of joining their ranks, for the greater good, bringing your focus and passion to a platform that may help you bring it to another level. Alternatively, consider fiscal sponsorship as a mechanism to bring your mission to life, without taking on the complexities underlying running a full-on 501(c)(3) organization.

Diversify:
When it comes to funding, you need to think about it. There’s no getting around it. You need to balance the passion that drives your mission and makes you wake up every day, ready to take on the world, with the business savvy to know that you need financial support to keep that effort going for as long as it’s needed (which in the case of diabetes nonprofits, seems like it’s going to be a while!)

Make sure you don’t put all your eggs in one basket, whether it is a corporate sponsor, a big foundation, or a donor. You need to strategically diversify the sources of funding for your work.

Listen:
Pay close attention to the signals around you. The signals may come in the form of trends in your sector (some of the things I described earlier), and outside of your space (the direction of the economy, government policies, national or global statistics, how a particular category of companies is performing, etc.) These will help shape your strategy and help make sure that the approaches you take to keep your mission going strong are consistent with the realities that surround you.

Adapt:
Be willing to let go. It’s very easy to become attached to things you used to do, or the way you used to do them. Once you focus, diversify, and listen, it follows that things will change: you will find there are things you need to stop doing because they are outside of your focus (mission), things you may have to stop doing because you cannot afford them (funding), and things that it makes no more sense to do (or to do the same way) because the conditions that existed when you first started doing them have chanted (listening).

Be brave and learn to let go… it will liberate you and you will be able to do better what you do best.