NonProfit Organization: To Be or Not to Be ?

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NonProfit vs ForProfit  Marriage as Non Profit

Mid last year I volunteered my services to Executive Service Corps, thinking naively that hundreds of NonProfits in the Cincinnati area would bite my hand off to get free internet marketing advice, to improve their website marketing, driving more visitors, donors and volunteers to help them.

I found out it’s not that easy, following various nonprofit training courses my perspective is that starting and managing a “nonprofit organization” involves the similar  issues as a “for-profit organization” PLUS significant additional management, legal, HR, marketing, leadership challenges and requirements, is it any wonder so many fail.

It must be a difficult task to convince / warn / prepare passionate people of what challenges they are taking on, without appearing to be another just another wall or barrier to their progress. With the optimistic attitude and natural passion of nonprofit founders they are probably used to breaking down walls that block them achieving their “vision” of helping those in need !

Executive Service Corps of Washington State based in Seattle provide an excellent paper on the subject that in my view should be mandatory reading for everyone who is contemplating starting a nonprofit organization.

Why form a non-profit corporation?

“A group of people can get together to do something that benefits the community without forming a non-profit corporation.  If you are not going to ask for or receive donations, collect any income for the service or product you offer, own property, have a bank account, or hire staff, you could simply be an informal organization”.

Richard Male recently published an interesting article in The Chronicle of Philanthropy opening the article with the words ” Too many nonprofits are failing, and it is time to admit it.”

Richard lists the following thought provoking reasons for the weaknesses and failures:

  • too much focus on training managers not leaders
  • executives and boards are chasing money rather than meeting needs
  • nonprofits face a dangerous gap in perception
  • fear rules too many foundations.
  • corporate philanthropy is all but dead.
  • business is taking the place of nonprofits
  • nonprofits take the wrong message from corporate America.
  • inertia rules most nonprofits
  • evaluation is still extraordinarily weak.
  • too few nonprofits pursue lasting change.
  • turf and ego have collaboration in a choke hold.
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