Jonathan Poisner


Jonathan Poisner has over 20 years of experience in the nonprofit sector.

Since fall 2009, Poisner has worked as an independent organizational development consultant, with a focus on strategic planning, fundraising, communications, coalition building, and other organizational development challenges. Poisner also works as an Executive Coach for leaders who’re looking for ongoing leadership development feedback from a seasoned professional.

In 1997, Jonathan became Executive Director of the Oregon League of Conservation Voters and its sister organization, OLCV Education Fund. During his twelve years leading OLCV, he grew the combined revenue of OLCV and OLCV Education Fund from $200,000 to $1.1 million per year.

During his tenure, OLCV’s staff grew from just one and a half full time employees to more than 11 FTE, while dramatically increasing its capacity to involve thousands of volunteers in its work. During his tenure, OLCV’s electoral program defeated more than a dozen anti-environment elected officials and helped elect many more environmental champions to office.

Jonathan also led the Oregon Conservation Network to develop shared priorities.

“Priorities for a Healthy Oregon” raised the bar in the Oregon Legislature — helping pass new laws that promote renewable energy, recycle electronic waste, protect farmland, and safeguard clean water.

Jonathan served on the founding board of the Federation of State Conservation Voter Leagues, where he was a strong voice for growing state LCVs. From 2007- 2009, Jonathan was elected to serve on the boards of the League of Conservation Voters and LCV Education Fund.

Jonathan holds dual degrees in Economics and Political Science from the University of Pennsylvania. He has a JD from Boalt Hall School of Law at UC Berkeley.

Prior to his tenure at OLCV, he practiced law as an associate attorney at the law firm of Arnold & Porter, served as Environmental Law Fellow at Lewis & Clark Law School, worked as an Adjunct Law Professor, and served on the regional staff of the Sierra Club.

Smashwords Interview

Why did you write this book?
This is the book I wish I'd been handed when I first became a nonprofit Executive Director in 1997. As I consult with nonprofits across the country, I'm repeatedly struck by how often new Executive Directors are forced to reinvent the wheel.

Of course, in this case, I'm not talking about a wheel. I'm not even talking about the technical aspects of the job that are "invented." I'm talking about the underlying strategic framework with which an Executive Director should approach their job. Time and time again, I see Executive Directors who seem to just be making it up as they go along, without connecting the dots.

I realized I could help them connect the dots by creating a series of lessons for new Executive Directors. I did this originally as a series of articles, but was encouraged by several of my readers to turn it into a book. That process helped turn the individual articles into something that stands together as a whole.
What is your writing process?
I tend to write in short bursts of intense activity - 30-60 minutes at a time. Sometimes even less than that if I'm on a roll. I tend to throw a lot of ideas onto the computer screen.

Then I come back and edit. Oftentimes, the second draft looks radically different as I impose order on the first draft. This is also where I try to make sure I'm being precise in my language and correct in my grammar.

For the book, I had 10 friends and colleagues of mine who've served as nonprofit Executive Directors review my work and provide feedback. The book benefited greatly from the feedback, with several lessons evolving significantly, one being dropped, and another being split into two separate lessons.
Read more of this interview.

Where to find Jonathan Poisner online


Why Organizations Thrive: Lessons from the Front Lines for Nonprofit Executive Directors
Price: Free! Words: 15,760. Language: English. Published: April 26, 2013. Categories: Nonfiction » Business & Economics » Non-profit business
Why Organizations Thrive outlines fifteen lessons for nonprofit Executive Directors from a long-term nonprofit leader and consultant. It's the book the author wishes he could have read when he first started as a nonprofit leader 20 years ago. The book is designed to be read in a single sitting, with each short lesson including a mix of theory and practical tips.

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