Monday, March 24, 2008

The Downfalls of being Mission Driven

I received a newsletter from a charity that I have supported for many years which sends books and supplies to aid workers in the emerging world. They are closing...they state no reason. There are many things that went through my head when I received this letter, one of which the founder is very old and most likely wants to retire, however the organization doesn't appear to have a succession plan. In addition, the organization sends 100% of the funds overseas and takes none out for overhead. Organizations like this one are applauded everyday and highlighted in the news.

But I can't help but think, could this been avoided--the organization going out of business? Now they won't be able to help anyone else. What if the organization had saved 15% of every dollar earned and set that money aside for a salary so they could put a succession plan in place and continue the work of the founder and help thousands of more aid workers.

The reality people don't want to hear is the nonprofit sector is becoming more and more professionalized, and the organizations that help the most number of people, have high overhead and are competitive. This is a job and a career--charity staff workers shouldn't have to take a vow of poverty to do good work!!

I was inspired to write this post due to NP2020's recent post Nonprofit Leadership: Everyone wants it, but who wants to pay for it?


teddyb109 said...

This post reminded me of Peter Brinckerhoff's Mission Based Management, "No money, no mission."

Couldn't agree more that one should be able to do good and do well.

Joe Folan said...

Great Blog Heather! I didn't know you ran one and am glad to stumble across it!

- Joe (from Opportunity Knocks)