Meet Michael Brand, MNO

Michael Brand has raised millions, given away millions and despite his best intentions, probably wasted a million along the way.   He knows the nonprofit community well, having lived on both sides of the street first as a nonprofit leader then as a philanthropist.  In addition to his grantmaker experience, he’s tackled every leadership role imaginable: Board Chair, Director, Fundraiser, Volunteer, Donor, Advisor.  And he’s done it not just in the USA but Europe and Australia as well.

Today, Michael infuses his speaking engagements, workshops, and coaching sessions with his passion for the role nonprofits play in creating a compassionate and civil society. 

In addition, Michael is a keen observer of the trends that are just beginning to rock our world.  If you thought the past 10 years were disruptive, wait till you see what’s coming in the next ten.  When you work with Michael Brand you’ll be able to see over the horizon as well as position yourself for long-term success.

“A nonprofit sector influencer.”  “Successful catalyst for igniting innovation and transformation.”   “A dynamic speaker who is committed to developing entrepreneurial thinking and action in leaders.”

Are you passionate about your mission? Are you worried about where all this change is heading?  Do you want to move from inertia to innovation? If you said ‘yes’ to any of these then you’re in the right place.

“Michael packed a punch with his concise, usable and relevant material.  Local non profit volunteers and board members went away from his workshop with plenty to think about and actionable strategies.  We can’t wait to book him for the next in the series!”

georgia abbey

Georgia Abbey

Executive Director, Leadership Centre County

Creating Fiscal Sustainability & Restoring Funding

“If you still want to be in business in 2020 then you have to look for new ways of financing your agenda….dependence upon government contracts or large donors leaves you extremely vulnerable.  To survive you have to seriously plan for social enterprise, joint operations, strategic alliances and other emerging ways to deliver services in the new environment.” Michael

Rekindling and Strengthening Leadership

“Old models of leadership are falling aside to make way for new thinking.  Some of this change is driven by a wealth of creative, energetic talent flooding in from Generation X and Y.   Another pressure point is the demands of the changing economy. Today’s leadership requires passion, open-mindedness and courage. Modern leaders need to adapt to this new environment.” Micheal

Developing and Improving Programming

“There are a wide variety of reasons for reinventing programming in a nonprofit…especially in today’s chaotic environment. However, there are several catalysts for reinvention that come up again and again. Each of my programs is custom-tailored to meet the needs and objectives of your organization and group.” Michael

Revitalizing Careers and Employee Enthusiasm

“The good news is that between 1980 and 2004 employee satisfaction grew at  consistent rate…..the bad news is that trend has reversed….dramatically.  Now less than 20% of the workforce is ‘engaged”, and on the other end 25% are openly disgruntled.  That is a bad omen for your future productivity and economic growth.” Michael

Rejuvenating Performance

“Improving employee morale benefits everyone at work. Boosting employee morale means that people will take more pride in their work, call in sick less often and be more productive. Happier employees mean happier employers, since the employer will not lose money due to inefficiency and lost time. I will show you how improving employee morale can be accomplished with some simple, consistent steps.” Michael

Driving Home a Message

“Sometimes you simply need an outside voice to drive your message home. Sometimes the old adage that the prophet is not welcome in his own home town rings so true. When you need a fresh face and fresh voice to drive your initiatives or trumpet your vision, I can help.”  Michael


Let’s Connect!

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Contact Info

Michael Brand

michael (at) michaelbrand (dot) org

Recent Articles

The Best Idea For Fixing Public Schools

The main reason we should stop focusing on fixing traditional public schools is that, for the most part, they don’t want to be fixed. The people who make their living off of those schools have reasons for wanting schools to be as they are and have enormous political resources to fend off efforts to fundamentally change things. Trying to impose reforms…is largely a futile exercise.

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Why Are Nonprofits So Mediocre At Hiring?

Defective hiring processes are a major problem in nonprofits. One bad hire can cause disruptions in the organization as well as eat up resources. A good rule of thumb is that the cost of replacing an employee equals 30% of the salary for the position. Thus a bad hire eats up big chunks of dough. You can’t afford the hit to the bottom line, nor the headaches which come from bad hires.

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The Four Critical Rights Of Board Members

In the past decade I’ve witnessed at least a dozen nonprofits where the Chairperson or a small cabal are running roughshod over the rest of the Board. What’s more puzzling is that the rest of the Board sits passively and lets this abuse continue. Not only is that legally problematic, but it wastes the talents of the smart people sitting in the Board room.

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5 Ways To Get Nonprofits Moving At The Speed Of Change

Today’s nonprofit leaders face a difficult and unprecedented challenge. The world is changing much faster than our organizations. Thus examining our organizational design is imperative. For our success is now more dependent upon the quality of the organization than in the effectiveness of our program. A “B”-level organization with an ‘A’-level program will produce ‘D’ level results.

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What’s Killing Your Career?

Look, I’ve been doing this career coaching thing for 20 years.  I’ve helped people to unparalleled success as well as rebound after spectacular failure.   There are a lot….a lot, a lot, a lot of people out there who are capable of rising much higher than what they have.   There are five critical barriers which keep them from moving from good to great. 1. Lack Of Integrity Trust matters.  Trust matters a lot.   Being open and honest with those on your team is critical to the success of the organization as well as your personal advancement.   Now leadership does require some tough calls and some decisions that hurt others.    But a key to making such calls is being open and transparent.  Let the team know why you had to make such a decision and what criteria you used in making such choices.   And always do what you said you were going to do.   And if for some reason you have to break a promise or miss a commitment, then own up and offer something in compensation. 2. Crappy People Skills Knowing your stuff matters, but it isn’t the whole ballgame.  The technically competent loner may find a slot in the organization, but will not move up into a position of leadership.  Too much of our work these days is done in teams.   Arrogance, insensitivity, aloofness is a ticket to getting stuck in a lower level career. 3. Inability to Prioritize High-Value Work You can’t do it all.  So stick to the things that bring the highest return to the organization.  Be ruthless with this decision-making.  There is far too much... read more

One Word: Debt

Be it their homes or their government,  Americans are running out of time to deal with debt and thus risking a sudden crisis.  If ‘Debt Is Slavery’, then in our homes and legislatures Americans are giving up liberty of action and soon will be at the mercy of events rather than in control. Former Vice President Dick Cheney was roundly mocked for his claim that ‘deficits don’t matter’.   But he later found support in President Obama, who tells us the deficit is a small issue. Such bi-partisanship is normally reserved for issues such as drone strikes, kill lists, domestic spying.  So when these two men stand shoulder-to-shoulder on debts and deficits it should generate unease. Government debt transfers wealth from people living in the future to people living in the present. Politically this works because future people don’t vote in current elections. Thus politicians wave away debt concerns by asserting we will ‘grow our way out of it’.  But we can only grow our way out of it if we actually grow. When debt is a drag upon the economy then we don’t grow. And if we don’t grow, the crisis is inevitable. Federal debt exceeds $17 Trillion, over 100% of GDP, a level not experienced since WWII.  It appears the official strategy to deal with this overhang is “Default By Inflation”, printing endless dollars and paying back debt with increasingly worthless currency.  However, inflation is toxic to the economy. Think America in the 1970s.   Another solution is one put forth by those such as international investment expert Doug Casey who recommends the government default “in an honest... read more