Tag Archives: Human Resources

5 Types of Pandemic Volunteers

5 Types of Pandemic Volunteers

Furloughs and layoffs are everywhere, and nonprofits are no exception. But, since you still have a mission to fulfill and services to offer, volunteers offer an interesting opportunity. There are, potentially, more people available, but less time to train, track, and collect volunteers. Sometimes it feels like you need to babysit volunteers. But what if you could look at these prospective free workers like you would consider childcare.

Before we get into the details of the 5 types of Pandemic Volunteers, you need to do a bit of work.

Start by considering what you are not getting done. Then, think about what you are doing that could be done by somebody else (if that person were reliable.) And lastly, how much internal knowledge is required for each task.

Now, consider the 5 types of Pandemic Volunteers:

  1. Mother’s helper is someone who needs specific tasks but may need to ask a lot of questions, at least at first, to learn the ropes. The good news is if the task continues, they will get better and better. This could be a teenager looking for something to do when camp is cancelled or a volunteer who isn’t always super reliable, but you want to keep interested and connected.

    Since you don’t know how much this person will achieve, consider small tasks with short deadlines. A mother’s helper could clean out closets that got left mid-semester or prep materials for your re-opening. Printing, photocopying, and collating are also possibilities.
  2. Babysitter is someone with some experience, needs guidance for expectations on a regular basis but is mostly independent. Each “babysitter” will come with some expertise that you may be able to use.

    For instance, someone who knows Excel can create a list of all current and lapsed $250 donors and provide the lists to “Night Sitters,” “Camp Counselors,” and “Camp Directors.”
  3. Night sitter is someone who can keep things going and is independent after an initial explanation. This person is used to jumping into new situations and can give you the confidence to sleep through the night because the job is getting done.

    A night sitter has been a volunteer for you and/or other organizations and can do things like make calls on your behalf. Provide a script and a list of contacts and that person can help you steward mid-level and entry-level donors while you focus on major donors.
  4. Camp counselor is someone who can rally the troops and is ready for leadership responsibilities, meaningful tasks, and whom you know is reliable. They may have volunteered or worked with you in the past or can demonstrate their expertise.

    Camp counselors can replace you to offer trainings to “night sitters,” “babysitters,” and “mother’s helpers.” And they can be the resource for most questions that would stop other volunteers from moving forward. They can help you steward higher-level donors.
  5. Camp Director is someone who can act as an employee or colleague. They have the skills that you would hire, if you had the money and time. They can supervise for you, explain tasks to others, organize volunteers and staff alike, have specific skills that you are missing, and are 100% reliable.

    Camp directors can help you make sure the trains are running on time. They are volunteers who can help with marketing your services, provide human resource advice, and financial and/or fundraising expertise. You may even rely on these people already. The one problem is that this skill set is hard to find in a volunteer and may have to be a hired as an Interim (aka Fractional) Placement. It would be less expensive than a full-time employee because they could be an independent contractor, but will still add to your costs.

If you would like help thinking through your volunteer strategy, click here to schedule a free 30 minute consultation.

Set New Fundraising Goals for the Year? Make Sure You Have the Resources to Succeed

Resources for fundraising goalsIt’s a few weeks into the new year and, hopefully, you have set your new fundraising goals for the year.  And, if you intend to achieve those goals, we also hope that you have a fundraising plan with a stewardship calendar) in place. There is a reason for the adage, “A goal without a plan is just a wish.”

How did you set your fundraising goal?

Let’s talk about the reality of your situation.  Choose the letter that best describes your nonprofit’s fundraising goals for the year:

  1. I/we kept our fundraising goal the same as last year.
  2. I/we took the current budget and increased our fundraising goal by XX%.
  3. I/we looked at the budget shortfall and added that to the amount we raised last year to create our fundraising goal.
  4. I/we looked at what we raised last year, estimated we would have the same donor retention and new acquisition rates, and created our fundraising goal based on similar results.
  5. I/we looked at what we raised last year, estimated that we could implement a stewardship calendar that could help retain previous gifts while increasing our donor retention by 10% this year. We added an estimated amount based on those proportions to our fundraising goal.
  6. I/we looked at what we raised last year, estimated we could implement a stewardship calendar that could help increase our donor retention by 10% this year, determined we could hold three first-time donor events and three introduction emails to increase our first-time donor retention by 20%, and examine our lapsed donors above $1,000 for the past five years by looking at donors who could be reactivated. Then we established estimated increases for each category and added that to our fundraising goal.

The truth is, it is hard to get from A to F. It requires resources – human and financial. You cannot take the time to analyze your giving patterns, if you do not have someone to collect the data and analyze it. Even if you outsource the analysis – Mersky Jaffe & Associates can help you with this – you still need the resources to turn the findings into funding.

You will need resources for all aspects of your plan. Creating an overall stewardship calendar? You may want to send out additional snail mail letters. Creating a planned giving program? You might need collateral. Wondering how to deepen the engagement with first time donors? You might want to have coffee with the strongest prospects.  That all takes time and money.

Need it spelled out? Assuming you can increase the amount of money you raise this yea, without changing what you are doing, is a sure way to disappoint yourself, the executive director and board.

So, instead of considering what will not get done as a consequence of your new areas of focus, think about what resources you will need.  And ask for them. Could additional administrative help alleviate some stress? Do you need a new development professional? Is there a way to shift current under-utilized staff time to focus more on fundraising?

I know that budgets are tight and adding staff may not be high on your list of priorities. But you can’t raise more money without a plan on how to get there. Of course, it depends on how much you are hoping to raise. Trying to increase your numbers by $100,000 or more?  It may be time to increase your human resources. And know that the hire will more than pay for itself within a few years—even ten times over.

To quote another adage, “It takes money to raise money.” At least, that’s the adage as I remember it. 

Would a Staff Member’s Sabbatical Revitalize Your Nonprofit?

Revitalize Your NonprofitI just read an interesting piece in the New York Times, “When Being Unproductive Saves a Career.” It focused on how a sabbatical could revitalize your nonprofit, among the highlights were the twenty years of data to prove:

  • Sabbaticals help retain staff (“One recent study found that 34 percent of the executive directors and half of the development directors at nonprofits anticipated leaving their current jobs in two years or less”)
  • Staff loss is expensive (the article references a study that for a $50,000 employee the cost is approximately 20%
  • Staff loss prevents organizations from achieving their mission and vision
  • Foundations, by offering funding to cover sabbaticals at a nonprofit, have given permission to consider this radical idea
  • This radical idea helps reset leaders from feeling overwhelmed and constantly overworked to excited to work and achieve more (within more clearly defined limits) Read: revitalize your nonprofit

What should you do as a staff member or volunteer leader at a nonprofit?

1.     Take burnout seriously.

Whether an executive stays while feeling consistently tired and overworked or leaves because of those feelings, your nonprofit is the loser. If you are that executive, don’t wait for things to get worse.  Be proactive about changing your work-life balance and consider whether a sabbatical might be necessary.

2.     Remember that turnover is not something that has to happen.

People don’t join nonprofits for the high salaries (although they do need to get paid a reasonable amount to work). If they leave for more money, they might be saying, this much work isn’t worth what you pay me.  If you can’t substantially change the money, change the way your staff works.

3.     Offering more vacation time is not the same as offering a sabbatical.

Offering an extra week or two of vacation is applying a Band-Aid instead of getting rid of an infection.  Most people find it hard to take five weeks of vacation a year without taking multiple weeks together. That can lead to a mini-sabbatical without plans in place on how to deal with an executive’s extended absence. Alternatively, the executive could accrue vacation time year over year (which can make them more resentful because they don’t feel they can responsibly take the time and be effective) and end up with enough time to take a sabbatical or, hope for a lump some payout if they leave – incentivizing turnover while crippling a nonprofit’s bottom line for a year

4.     If you don’t want to offer a sabbatical, there are other ways to change work-life balance for staff.

Assess your employees’ satisfaction and your organization’s structure (Mersky, Jaffe & Associates can help with both).  Determine whether you are under-utilizing some staff members and over-utilizing others. Consider whether you are relying on board or volunteers to do staff jobs. If so, are they being properly supervised and held accountable?

Work-life balance is never easy for those with a passion (like nonprofit employees).  But, consciously, helping a staff member find a little more space in their lives can help revitalize your nonprofit.  And a nonprofit with energy from the top down, can help more people – whatever the mission may be.


Learn more about MJA’s Organizational and Development Assessment by clicking here

Learn more about Employee Assessment by emailing Abigail Harmon


Getting Ready for the New Year

Getting Ready for the New YearOn the first day of the New Year, I found a few things that gave me pause for thought as I clear the decks and begin getting ready for the New Year.

    1. At the end of the year, most organizations judge their success by one question: Did we meet our budget goal?But growing future giving means investing in activities that may not generate revenue now, but will make a difference in the years to come. That’s why it’s important to ask yourself: What things do I want to make sure happen in 2018 as a result of my organization’s fundraising plan, assuming, of course, that you have a written, highly focused plan with clearly measurable objectives? Example Focus Areas:
      • Engage donors early and often to learn about what interests them.
      • Find one more Board member interested in becoming involved in fundraising.
      • Start a monthly giving program.
      • Improve our database practices so that our donor reports are consistently correct
    2. Congress has passed a new tax bill which the president has signed into law.The last year ended with a steady stream of advice from nonprofits, accountants, financial advisors, and the like to increase deductions and defer income. Now, I am not an accountant nor the son of an accountant, to paraphrase the prophet Amos (Amos 7:14). I am not here to give anyone tax advice. Anyway, it is too late as 2017 has passed.However, I think all my friends in nonprofit development shops ought to beware of the law of unintended consequences. As we watched results mount for 2017’s year-end giving because of the “bundling” of gifts or multi-year pledge payments, should we begin to think about what the impact of such riches now will mean for 2018 and beyond. Just sayin’.
    3. I am always thinking about leadership talent—acquisition, management, and transition. Are you or your organization confronting a potential transition in the coming year?Nonprofits require high-impact leaders who are audacious, visionary, bold, and results-oriented. This is the type of leadership we all need, and it’s the type of professional we will help you find or the volunteer whom we will help you develop.
      This past year, we added two outstanding leaders to our firm, Howard Charish and Kerry Olitzky, who are already making a difference.
      We understand that executive search is not just a recruitment activity, but an opportunity to define your organization and the change it will drive for years to come. Our executive search process is collaborative and focused. With your organization’s specific goals in mind, we work in partnership with you to find the best, most qualified executives to lead your mission. We serve both nonprofit executives and the organizations who need them to pave the way to the future. In this coming year, I want to focus on your leadership talent needs.

    Watch this space for a new series on managing transitions and finding the right person to make the change you envision.

  1. For now, all of us at Mersky, Jaffe & Associates wish you the very best for 2018, a year
    • without any unintended consequences
    • in which your focused plans are executed to a tee, and
    • your volunteer and professional leadership exceed your aspirations.

Strengthening Your Board, Staff and Clergy

Strengthening Your Board, Staff and ClergyThis past week I presented at the NATA conference with David A. Mersky and Rachel M. Woda. We knew there were interesting competing sessions, so we were pleasantly surprised with the strong turnout.  I’d like to think this was based on the presenters and the firm’s reputation but I’m sure a lot of people were there for the topic.  The official title was, The Role of the Executive Director in Congregational Governance: Managing relationships among clergy, lay leadership and staff. But, it could have been called, Strengthening Your Board, Staff and Clergy.

I would title it that because there are so many questions that remain about board and staff responsibilities within a nonprofit. In religious organizations, like synagogues, you also have to account for how clergy with their myriad responsibilities fit into the mix.

So, while I can’t provide the presentation in this short blog post, I would like to offer some thoughts. Here is a list of opportunities for you to determine, the $100 million question:

Do you know how to go about strengthening your board, staff and clergy?

We can offer simple recommendations like whether the board should be fundraising (they should be fundraising, starting with themselves), but you also have to have strategies for:

  • Encouraging your board to respect your staff and their opinions
  • Reminding the staff that coaching strategies may change behavior faster than constant reminders
  • Board learning opportunities throughout the year (presenting a P & L– spend 15 minutes explaining how to read the statement –and how it represents the organizational priorities – for those who don’t work with them every day)
  • Creating change with buy in from staff and the board
  • Clergy’s responsibilities, like celebrate and commiserate, are useful when dealing with the board and staff as colleagues in addition to congregant relationships.
  • Knowing that one board president is not always as strong as the last
  • No one person can be in charge of everything (whether that is staff, a Board President or Clergy). Nonprofits are a group effort so spend time determining how to utilize your resources.
  • The size of your board – too large or too small will affect whether you are engaging your board members or leaving them to drift off (among other things)
  • Helping board members or staff see their role in creating the solution to the problems you are facing and that they may be causing
  • Overworking your leadership (volunteer and staff) may help you achieve more in the short term. But, in the long term, staff will leave and volunteers will burn out.
  • Moving forward with a decision when consensus was hard to find
  • Innovating change. Nonprofits can no longer rely on the status quo for support, membership or involvement
  • Engaging everyone in fundraising and development when not everyone is willing to ask others for money

This is not an all-encompassing list, and it is not intended to overwhelm you.  Instead, it is designed to create a new dialogue around the staff table or at a board meeting about what you want to see change.  You may want to initiate a strategic plan or a board retreat to help you focus in on your priorities.  But don’t let another year go by without growing as individuals and as an organization.

If you think your nonprofit would benefit from our facilitating this process, email me today.

If you would like to work on improving your board without counsel, you can purchase one of our books by clicking here

The Role of the Executive Director in Nonprofit Governance

Book that includes The Role of the Executive Director in Nonprofit GovernanceManaging relationships among lay leadership and staff.

Navigating the relationships between senior staff and lay leadership is critical to mission driven work and seamless operations.  We believe this so strongly that we even wrote a book about it.  You can get your own copy—either electronic or print—of How to Engage New Board Members: Strengthening Your Nonprofit Organization by clicking here.  It will provide you with tools to help clarify roles and move the needle to benefit the goals of your organization and those you serve.

Not sure you need this book?  Then let me ask you does this sound like YOUR organization’s board?

  • “They say they will do anything EXCEPT raise money (despite signing a give and get pledge).”
  • “They don’t know how to fundraise…but they want to tell US what we need to do to fundraise!”
  • “They do not follow through. They say they will do something and then they do not do it.”
  • “They say they want to move the organization forward but then do next to nothing outside of the one board meeting a month they attend.”
  • “Our board lacks the knowledge or interest to fundraise. And it wasn’t even anything that they were told about or encouraged to do when they joined the board.”

Imagine what it would look like, instead, to have a passionate board, eager to be your organization’s best fundraisers and ambassadors. Happy to fundraise — together. It’s time to understand the role of the executive director in nonprofit governance.

Is this what you want?

Whether you are an organization in the early stages of building your board, or you are mired in dysfunction, you are sure to develop a foolproof plan for building your board and enhancing your organization’s successful fundraising program.

And, once you have built a knowledgeable, dedicated board who understands what their role is and promises to do what they say they are going to do, then we can provide you with the skill development for each of them individually and the board collectively to become passionate, pervasively optimistic advocates, ambassadors and, above all, great fundraisers for your organization.

If that is what you want, buy the book, contact me for a personal thirty-minute, no obligation consultation about its implementation, and schedule a solicitor development workshop for you, your staff, and every member of your board.  We will provide you with a program that will revolutionize how you engage your donors and a set of tools to reinforce your board members skills and motivation that you can deploy every single month. Start to understand the role of the executive director in nonprofit governance today.

You can reach me by clicking here.  I promise to get back to you in 24 hours.

And, if you will be at the NATA conference in December, come see my session that will offer you ways to improve the relationships between your nonprofit’s leadership.

A Passion for What You Do – Nonprofit Edition

A Passion for What You DoLast week I went to a conference where I saw phenomenal speakers. The list included Michelle Obama, Billie Jean King, Selina Tobaccowala, Brit Marling, Issa Rae, Mario Batali and Andy Cohen. The topics ranged from the experience of being the former FLOTUS (or former first spouse as she likes to be called) to encouraging women’s rights, and from believing in your voice to employee retention strategies. There was one common theme throughout – passion for what you do.

If there is one thing people who work at nonprofits understand is a passion for what you do.

People don’t decide to work at a nonprofit with dreams of making millions. Don’t get me wrong, you can create a good living for yourself, but dollar signs are not usually the driving factor.  Passion, fueled by belief in a cause and a desire to make a difference in this world for others, is something most of our clients, friends and colleagues have in common.

After years advertising big name products when I worked at large advertising agencies, I felt the calling of something that fed the soul and felt lucky to be able to shift into the nonprofit sector.  Many people I meet feel the same. But what I also was reminded of during this day of inspired learning was that while we should continue to work hard to achieve our goals, we can do it with grace, confidence and a belief that we can each make a difference.

How does that translate into how we can help you at MJA? We understand your passion and want to help. If you

  • need more funding to expand (or continue current) programming, don’t just complain about what you don’t have, decide what you need to make a change. Do you want to expand your annual fund or grow an endowment? Have you considered whether you should expand your board or shift the makeup of the current members? Is it time to give up a major event or add one?
  • know that you spend valuable volunteer time on menial tasks (because it is “free” labor,) consider what the volunteers could help you achieve if you used them in a more meaningful way. Have you considered whether you are using your staff wisely/do you even know what their true capabilities are? Could they be out having major donor meetings instead of stuffing envelopes for an annual appeal? Should you be hiring an executive search firm (like Mersky, Jaffe & Associates) to sift through the hundreds of resumes and screen the candidates for that open position so you don’t burn out your best volunteers on tasks you can outsource?
  • want to improve your board’s relationship with the staff, stop tip-toeing around and create a path to make a change. Decide if you need a staff assessment, an organization and development assessment, or board training.
  • know you have an amazing mission but don’t know how to get your leadership to solicit donations, start training them differently. And if you don’t know how to train them, hire someone from MJA to show them the ropes and help them feel comfortable in their skills.

Turning your passion into a well-funded reality is not as hard as it seems. Just ask Mario Batali.

To read Mario Batali’s philosphy, here is a 2010 article from Harvard Business Review



A Lesson for Nonprofit Boards and Executive Directors from Uber

Nonprofit Boards and Executive Directors Learn from Uber

The fact that Uber CEO, Travis Kalanick, has resigned is a major headline this week.  The CEO, has been under fire for what the New York Times reported. “The company has been exposed this year as having a workplace culture that included sexual harassment and discrimination, and it has pushed the envelope in dealing with law enforcement and even partners. That tone was set by Mr. Kalanick, who has aggressively turned the company into the world’s dominant ride-hailing service and upended the transportation industry around the globe.” What lesson can nonprofit boards and executive directors learn from this?

The very thing that disrupted an industry – his drive, crassness, rules don’t apply attitude – are now his liabilities. Of course, some would say that he could have done it without the sexual harassment and discrimination in the culture, but that’s a whole other article. If we can put that to the side, temporarily (hopefully the legal system will not follow suit), it reminds me of the adage about marriage – the same thing you love about your spouse when you marry them may annoy you beyond words years down the line.

For nonprofit leaders, the executive director or board members, there can be similar changes in the appreciation of their skills – although usually less dramatic. Want some examples?

  • A board chair that helped you through an executive director transition may be restricting the capabilities of the new executive director who is now in place.
  • An executive director or director of development who guided you through years of stability and modest growth might not be the right person to lead you through a new fundraising campaign aimed at doubling your annual fund.
  • Board members who helped you raise money when you didn’t have systems in place might not be the best people to help you when you want to implement formal processes.

In other words, leadership should not stay on indefinitely. We are not suggesting you go out and fire everyone, but it might be time for an assessment or leadership re-appraisal.

If you would like to assess your staff we can help you by:

A staff appraisal – email us to start your assessment today

Executive search – click here to read about our process

Teaching additional skills – click here to learn about our nonprofit leadership development offerings



Interview Questions Explained by A Nonprofit Executive Search Firm

As a nonprofit executive search firm, we work with many executive directors and board members to find the ideal candidate for their organizations.  We guide them on how to create a process designed to attract the best candidates, review potential candidates, understand best practices for interviews and engagement of applicants, compare and analyze results of contact with prospective employees, negotiate an offer that benefits the nonprofit and the candidate, and develop procedures to on-board new executive leadership.  In each case, we adopt a unique approach driven by the characteristics of the organization and the community it serves.

Mersky, Jaffe & Associates has been providing executive search services for more than twenty-five years, which is why we found the article in Inc., “The 1 Question Every Job Interviewer Should Ask to Hire the Perfect Candidate,” a great aid in our process.  It circulated around the office thanks to my colleague, Larry Sternberg.

Conversation during the interview process is an ideal way to get to know the person who could be a member of your team for years to come. 

Jeff Haden wisely recommends that interviewers move beyond the standard questions, looking for a specific answer.  That is akin to a candidate who tailors a resume to hit the high points of a job description, knowing that the ‘bot scanning the site will give it high marks. Both get results but not necessarily the quality you are looking for.  Instead, you want to find someone with appropriate skills who will fit in with your culture and  environment.

But, the only way to know if someone will fit is to engage them beyond the standard cookie cutter questions. 

When I was first interviewing for jobs (many moons ago), there were questions that were asked to test your critical thinking skills and determine how you would figure something out if you didn’t know the answer.  These seemingly absurd inquiries ranged a bit but included, “how would you find a needle in a haystack?” and “how many gas stations are there in the United States.” I understood why they were asking these types of questions, even if, as a 22-year-old I was completely scared that I would be stumped on the spot.

The Inc. question about how you will impact the bottom line may stop you in your tracks if you are a candidate who is not really interested in that specific nonprofit but simply a nonprofit job. But, if you have done your due diligence and understand the organization, you should be able to talk to the screener at the executive search firm, the interviewer, and your future colleagues about what you bring to the table.  And that will help everyone understand whether this i s a good fit.

To learn more about our Executive Search offerings, click here.

10 Ways To Make Your Executive Search Successful

Executive Search Candidate10. Set a salary scale that is appropriate both to the job and to the market in which the executive search is being conducted. No one wants to overpay a candidate. But your pool of qualified applicants will diminish with each step down the ladder from the appropriate salary range. In many cases, you are going to be attempting to convince a candidate to leave a position in which he/she may be quite comfortable. An under-market salary will preclude viable candidates from even considering your organization.

9. Remember that you are selling your organization as much as the candidate is selling him/herself. Why should this candidate choose you if there are three possibilities on the horizon? If you have a culture of flexible hours, great benefits or a variety of growth opportunities, the interview is the time to highlight these aspects of your organization. Gone are the days when candidates wait for the offer to see the full benefits your human resources department will offer.

8. Set an hour aside for each candidate. Reserve an hour of your time for each interview. The candidate is taking time out of his or her busy schedule. The worst that can happen is that you may waste an hour of your time. However, if you engage a search firm in the first place, then, you will not have to see as many potentials before finding the new-hire of your dreams.

7. Interviewers review the candidate’s resume before and after the interview. This may seem obvious, but it is remarkable how many times an interviewer is first reading a resume at the interview. You are busy, but so is the job seeker. Show respect, and that your organization cares, by knowing the candidate’s background prior to the interview. Immediately after, write notes, when your impressions of the candidate will still be “top of mind.”

Choose a search firm for its knowledge of your field and its ability to find qualified candidates. Mersky, Jaffe & Associates does not throw resumes at a client to give the illusion that there is a huge pool of candidates from which to choose. We only send highly qualified candidates. If we do our job, you see fewer candidates not more.

5. Remain open-minded to candidates. There must be a level of trust in order to make the search firm-client relationship work. If the firm presents candidates, do not listen to hearsay about the candidate, do not do a partial online search and expect that you know everything there is to know about the candidate, and do not assume the person is not qualified. You should give each candidate a fair chance.

4. Be prepared for candidates who do their own due diligence. A strong candidate will research and probe into the pros and cons of the position as much as the organization is probing his/her background – if not more. Have your house in order. Do a web search of your organization. What face are you presenting to the outside world? On a side note, prospective donors will often do the same thing before contributing money.

3. Return feedback in a timely manner to the executive search firm. You may want to run your thoughts by a few co-workers or board members before making a decision, but a good candidate doesn’t last long on the market. He/she may be interviewing at multiple organizations and no matter how strong the opportunity may be; an offer in hand is definitely worth more than 2 in possibilities. By working with your executive search counsel, you will be able to continue the communications with those candidates who still interest you and allow those who do not to pursue other opportunities.

2. Interviewers listen to the candidates. There is no doubt that you should sell your organization to the candidate. But, as the interviewer, you should not do the majority of talking. You are there to ask questions and offer the candidate a place to learn about you and your agency. If you are talking too much, it is easy to lose sight of the reason you are there; to find out about the candidate. And, astute candidates will feel that if they were to come to work with you, they may never be able to get a word in edgewise.

1. Understand the limitations of your organization and the position. Knowing your agency, its place in the market and the place in the organization where the position fits, will allow you to set realistic expectations of the candidates that you see. Believing you are the New England Patriots and can get a coach like Bill Belichick, when you are a rural high school will only set you up for disappointment.

Want to read another of MJA’s 10 Essential Articles?  Click here.

Note: this post was originally published in 2006