Giving Compass’ Take:
• Vu Le summarizes nine well-intended giving strategies that nonprofits suffer from in striving to create real, lasting change.
• How can misguided donors cause nonprofits to suffer and fail the communities they hope to serve? What are you doing to avoid bureaucratic, debilitating funding strategies in your organization?
• Learn more from another source about how nonprofits suffer from inefficient practices.
I’ve been spending a lot of time flossing while thinking of how to categorize the challenges in our sector. Much of the stuff we deal with falls under the category of “well-meaning people inadvertently making nonprofits’ jobs harder.” Here are a nine.
1. The Overhead Paradox: The focus on reducing overhead actually increases overhead: Tracking and reporting on overhead requires staff time, accounting software, healthcare to deal with migraines, etc. These things are all overhead! If funders and donors want nonprofit overhead to go down (which is another argument entirely), then give general operating funds and stop forcing nonprofits to use overhead to track overhead.
2. The Sustainability Paradox: The focus on increasing organizational sustainability actually decreases organizational sustainability.
3. The Capacity Building Paradox: Forcing nonprofits to focus on building organizational capacity reduces their ability to build organizational capacity.
4. The Data-Resource paradox: Organizations cannot get significant funding without good data, but they cannot get good data without significant funding.
5. The Single Issues Paradox: Foundations that prioritize specific social issues lessen the chances of those issues being successfully addressed.
6. The Strategic Planning Paradox: Being too strategic reduces organizations’ ability to get stuff done.
7. The Outcomes Paradox: The hyper-focus on outcomes often lessens the likelihood that there will be successful outcomes.
8. The Innovation Paradox: Rewarding “innovative” programs and services ultimately reduces innovation in the sector.
9. The Social Good Paradox: Focusing on the good to society instead of intrinsic values of individuals reduces social good.
If we want to increase social good, then we should forget about social good and get everyone to believe that people have intrinsic worth independent of their value to society, and that we should help them because that’s the right thing to do, the end.
Read the full article about how nonprofits suffer from good intentions by Vu Le at Nonprofit AF.
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