Smarter Donors, Better Nonprofits
About 5-6 weeks ago, the Chronicle of Philanthropy ran a great opinion piece (available to subscribers only) about the need for more sophisticated and sustained media coverage of nonprofits. Written by Robert Egger, president of the D.C. Central Kitchen, agent provocateur and blogger. We’ve been thinking about it ever since.
Egger sees three benefits to better coverage of the $200 billion+ charity industry — 1) greater public acceptance of nonprofits’ legitimate need for funding of adminstrative overhead, decent salaries and benefits, infrastructure and R&D; 2) greater ability on the part of donors to sort out the wheat from the chaff, and with that, greater confidence in charities; 3) deeper examination, and hopefully dispersion, of innovative philanthropic approaches and social experiments that are mobilizing dollars differently to help social causes.
Here are a couple of excerpts:
[Americans] have come to believe that the nonprofit world, which is being relied on more and more to hold our communities together, can run vibrant organizations and provide top-drawer services based on random checks in the mail or through the endless pursuit of grants, contracts, or gifts. Perhaps most dangerous, they have come to believe that a nonprofit group’s ability to keep the nation’s creativity vibrant, its communities safe, and its citizens healthy and engaged can be achieved with little or no administrative overhead.
The public needs hard news and newspapers to explain to them why it is so damaging to think that any organization can be effective in dealing with major social issues if it doesn’t have money to spend and the overhead required to spend it with vision and audacity.
With more information will come an environment where good work is rewarded, fraud or failure is exposed and expunged, and everyone will be better prepared to invest their time, energy, and ideas with confidence.
Egger also suggests that nonprofits should collaborate to develop a sort of nonprofit Nasdaq that would develop and use appropriate metrics to measure and report on how the “market” was performing, and which “companies” were winners or losers.
Great stuff as far as The Agitator is concerned. Robert Egger, you deserve a raise! Call on us anytime.