The Nonprofit Paradox – Why organizations are so often plagued by the very ills they aim to cure

From the SSIR: A very compelling examination of this phenomenon by David La Piana:

“As a consultant, I began to think of the nonprofit paradox as the sector’s analog to the old adage about the shoemaker whose children go barefoot. I have found this dynamic in every corner of the sector, and I have made looking for it a standard part of our firm’s diagnostic process. In fact, the nonprofit paradox is so common that when I don’t find it, I am surprised. Because I know of no research on this dynamic, I can only hypothesize where it comes from. At the same time, I will suggest ways that nonprofits can deal with their own paradoxes.”

click here for article 3 pgs in pdf

Planning a Promise Neighborhood Guide

From the Bridgespan Group:

“Promise Neighborhoods, inspired by the Harlem Children’s Zone, are the Obama administration’s bold bid to break the vicious cycle of inner-city intergenerational poverty. If the Promise Neighborhoods succeed, they could provide compelling evidence that a holistic, integrated, education-centered approach to ending poverty can give poor children a real shot at economic opportunity.

However, creating a Promise Neighborhood will be no small task. Reaching a Promise Neighborhood’s ultimate goals will take a solid plan. And while planning will no doubt be easier than doing the day-to-day work of supporting children and their communities, our experience suggests that the planning process itself can be incredibly challenging.”

Click here for full article and then download full guide here Planning a Promise Neighborhood Guide  [PDF]

Our Ineffectiveness at Measuring Effectiveness

From Dan Pallotta and Harvard Business Review:

“Anyone who’s thought about it for more than 15 seconds has realized that the administration-to-program ratio (“What percentage of my donation goes to the cause versus to overhead?”) is a useless measure for making good donation decisions. So there’s a social business movement under way to begin rating charities not on overhead but on effectiveness.

Unfortunately, this “effectiveness” movement may prove as inadequate to the task of helping the public make good donation decisions as the “overhead” religion it seeks to replace.”

Click here to read full post

Resource: How to Enlist your Board Dream Team

From Gail Perry:

“Who is on the board matters of course, as well as how all the members work together.  Lots of the time, it all starts with recruitment: How they are recruited can set up high expectations or lead to failure.

How we enlist our boards has everything to do with their ultimate success, not only in fundraising but in the leadership they offer our organization as well.”

Click here to access full post  and here for resource - 24 pages in pdf

Critical issues for not-for-profit organizations

From CharityVillage:

“At the recent Critical Issues for Not-for-profit Organizations Conference, put on by the Pacific Business and Law Institute, the keynote speaker was Bob Wyatt of The Muttart Foundation (a private foundation which supports charities in Canada, primarily in Alberta and Saskatchewan). Mr. Wyatt became the foundation’s executive director in 1989, and during the Voluntary Sector Initiative, he co-chaired the Joint Regulatory Table. A well-known figure in the voluntary sector in Canada, Mr. Wyatt described his remarks as likely being provocative.

In reality, his opening comments were as much e-vocative as pro-vocative.

In a presentation he titled, “The Current Climate for Not-for-Profits and Charities”, Wyatt described the climate as “cold” and the long-term forecast as “bleak”. He suggested that if the sector “was a union, its state is disunity.” He also predicted that with every province in a deficit, with budget cutbacks being inevitable, and foundation financial returns being “abysmal”, that the next few years for the sector were going to get worse.

Then, not pulling any punches, he went on to make seven observations about Canada’s not-for-profit sector that were as much about finger-pointing at the sector — not at government or the economy — as they were a clarion call for change and renewal from within.”

Click here to access full post

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