If a donor confides illegal financial doings, better hire a lawyer. Even for the Nonprofit Ethicist, it’s hard to know what to make of a luminary’s request for a donation to his own foundation in exchange for being an honoree at another’s gala. And if a misdirected donation comes to your mailbox, do you really need to ask the Ethicist whether or not you should notify the donor?
The way we think about our work is often bounded by sets of assumptions that too often go unquestioned. Here Lester Salamon discusses the four basic paradigms that describe how various segments of the nonprofit sector see themselves. When these paradigms are simply assumed and not questioned, the roles of the organization may be unnecessarily limited.
Brands govern people’s perceptions far more than the necessarily imprecise metrics with which we measure our efficacy. But by not filling form with substance, you risk implosions that harm the field.
The Marshall Project and the Rise of the Single-Issue Nonprofit News Site: A Conversation with Bill Keller (Fall 2015)
THE CATACLYSMIC SHIFTS IN THE NEWS BUSINESS HAVE RESULTED IN AN ALMOST GLOBAL DOWNSIZING OF INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM—LEAVING IMPORTANT AREAS UNCOVERED. THIS HAS LED TO A NEW TREND IN JOURNALISM: THE SINGLE-ISSUE NEWS SITE. IN THIS INTERVIEW, BILL KELLER EXPLAINS HOW THE MARSHALL PROJECT, WHICH FOCUSES SOLELY ON ISSUES OF THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM, CAME TO BE.
City government is generally more open and accessible to advocacy organizations than its state counterpart. But what makes for success for citizen groups? Stop assuming that nonprofit means nonpolitical, generate your own research to offer strapped city councils, and stay in the game for the long haul.
Housing First and the Research and Practice Relationship in Advancing a Field by Ruth McCambridge (Fall 2015)
This article discusses how a field can be developed through practitioner relationships with independent researchers who care primarily about advancing knowledge that improves the field rather than necessarily advancing the field as is—two very different motivations.
It is hard to determine whether or not an effort like the War on Poverty has worked when it is veiled in political rhetoric, affected by multiple significant variables, and largely misunderstood. One such variable is that antipoverty programs operate in the context of overall economic conditions. As Danziger explains, “increased productivity of the economy has been captured over the last several decades by the economic elite, and has led to a long period of rising inequality”; this, and not government programs, is why poverty is high. If we are going to make progress against poverty,” the author concludes, “we have to change views about what government programs have accomplished, and we have to change views about why people are poor.”
If a disgruntled ex-board member is undercutting your relationships with funders, accountability, says Dr. Conflict, lies with the CEO. A thorough interview, background check, and time-limited committee work with the candidate do well to weed out the bad apples, and it is the chief executive’s responsibility to ensure his or her board is not engaging in sloppy recruitment. But in the event of such a situation, use it as an opportunity to educate your board on the essential role advocacy plays in the success of your organization’s mission.
Human Development and Social Change: An Expanded Perspective on the Work of the Nonprofit Sector by Jennifer Amanda Jones, PhD (Fall 2015)
Where such “wicked” problems as poverty, injustice, and environmental crises are concerned, the nonprofit sector is in over its head. We would do well to recognize where our current ways of thinking are ineffective in helping us to resolve the complex challenges.
When philanthropists act at a remove, it often results in the very people that they wish to help gaining little benefit from services that, after all, their target populations had no say in developing. An easy way to connect is to become active on Twitter.
This article presents a framework built on foundation theory and early conceptual models to help the social entrepreneur make an informed decision about which organizational form best fits his or her undertaking.