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Volume 2, Issue 11

Refocusing Colleges on Community

Jan Masaoka, nonprofit expert and keynote speaker at the upcoming CASE Conference for Community College Advancement, says community colleges should think less about themselves and what they need and more about their broad constituency and what it needs.

Masaoka, chief executive of the California Association of Nonprofits and founder of the nonprofit web magazine Blue Avocado, recently shared with Community College Advancement News her thoughts about the role of nonprofits in society. She says that the most effective organizations are acutely aware of what their constituencies need from them.

"I would hope that [community colleges] would think that their constituency is really the community," Masaoka says. "It should be broader than what our students want. It should be what does our community, what does our state want?"

She adds that this focus on constituency should help community college advancement professionals find meaning in their work, which will improve their personal satisfaction and job performance.

"If you think of your job as just raising money, then that's really depressing," Masaoka says. "We need to feel that we're part of something bigger than ourselves. It's all up to how we define that for ourselves because it's not always defined for us."

To learn more about Masaoka's nonprofit philosophy, listen to this 2010 podcast interview she gave with The Chronicle of Philanthropy about "focusing on what matters." She is also an expert on board management and the author of Best of the Board Cafe: Hands-on Solutions for Nonprofit Boards.

Please share your questions and comments with Marc Westenburg via email at or +1 202 478 5570.

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This article is from the May 2013 issue of the Community College Advancement News.