I have spent the last six months talking mostly to donors about my book, Giving Done Right. But here, I want to address you, nonprofit leaders. And I want to start with some of the words I have heard said about you — about me, about us. Brace yourself.
“Nonprofit staff are overpaid.”
“Nonprofits are bloated.”
“Nonprofits are wasteful.”
“Nonprofits spend too much on overhead.”
“Nonprofit staff couldn’t make it in the ‘real world.’”
“Nonprofits don’t care about measuring effectiveness.”
“Nonprofits aren’t innovative enough.”
“Nonprofits are corrupt.”
Oh yeah, and this one, my favorite: “I have worked in business for the past couple of decades but am looking to slow down, give back, and have work-life balance, so I thought I’d explore nonprofit work.”
Has anyone heard any statements like these before?
Unfortunately, they are common. In the business press. In the mainstream media. On business school campuses. At some foundations. In the halls of corporate America. On the political right — and on the political left.
While it is surely true that we could find specific instances in which each of these statements rings true about a specific nonprofit, as generalizations every one is false.
I seek to counteract these ridiculous and false statements in my book, in everything I do in my job at the Center for Effective Philanthropy (CEP), and in every interaction I have with donors. I seek to educate those donors who talk like this so that they stop talking and thinking this way. Because thinking this way leads to mistakes and missed opportunities in philanthropy.
Read the full article about nonprofit leadership by Phil Buchanan at The Center for Effective Philanthropy.