Down with the walls!!

In Uncategorized on December 22, 2008 at 11:15 am

This will be an ongoing area of exploration on this blog.  Generally looking at the current non-profit ecosystem, asking a few questions and hopefully proposing a few solutions.
A few recent blogs and discussions to help get this discussion going:
From Allison Fine’s most excellent blog:  Working Differently in a Crisis
Which briefly highlight’s need for collaborative fundraising efforts by the non-profit community; and a guest post by Dan Pallotta at the Huffington Post last week. Which calls for a change in the way we create change.  He advocates for less ”charity” mindset and more of a “commerce” mindset.
I agree with much of what is being said and believe that at this unique moment in time, where perhaps hundreds of thousands of non-profits may be closing shop in the next 2 years, with the new call for service we hope for from the Obama administration, and an a growing basis of active citizens, it’s time to take down the walls of non-profits. A shift to a more collaborative fundraising model would be a good move.  A number of other shifts might help as well, such as: encouraging and supporting npo leaders to take more risks (fail fast and learn what works and doesn’t work), blur the boundaries between nonprofits and social entrepreneurial efforts (so good people can work across both), normalize pay levels for talent to make it easier for people to choose non-profit as a career path,  and shift the funding mindset from organization and volunteer/funders to organization and “stakeholders” (it seems to be that a fast majority of private individual donors are rarely engaged in defining the agenda of the organizations they support). Nonprofits rely heavily on volunteers, but most executive directors do a poor job of managing them. As a result, more than one-third of those who volunteer one year do not donate their time the next year—at any nonprofit. That adds up to an estimated $38 billion in lost labor. Great analysis in this SSIR article “The New Volunteer Workforce”

I’ll post more on this topic in the coming weeks and months.


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