Fall 2014 – Digital Issue

Fall 2014 – Digital Issue

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Grappling with Competition: The Nonprofit Landscape

Fall 2014: Volume 21, Issue 3


  • Welcome

  • The Nonprofit Ethicist
    Is it ethical to hoard endowment returns numbering in the millions? What is the most diplomatic way for an accountant to flag a client’s unstated going concern problem? Is it a conflict of interest for a membership association’s board to also serve as the board of the association’s charitable nonprofit? The Ethicist weighs in. by Woods Bowman

  • Just So Much and No More
    This column by the late Donella Meadows is a powerful meditation that asks what will happen if our economic systems continue competing instead of collaborating with Earth’s sustainability. by Donella Meadows

  • Stakeholders, Shareholders, and the Meaning of Market Basket: An Interview with Tom Kochan
    In this interview, Tom Kochan, co-director of the MIT Sloan Institute for Work and Employment Research, lays out the larger implications of the stakeholder action around the recent Market Basket dispute. by the editors

  • Nonprofit Health Co-ops: Designed to Compete for the Public Good
    This one-of-a-kind investigative report asks how the brand-new field of health co-ops funded under the Affordable Care Act is faring against the competitive challenge of large, well-established insurers. As it turns out, surprisingly well. by Rick Cohen

  • Is This as Good as It Gets? The False Promise of Risk-Based Medicare and For-Profit Dominance of Care
    Was it a good idea to allow for-profits in the field of healthcare to receive government funding and, in effect, compete with nonprofits? by William D. Cabin, PhD, JD, MPH, MSW

  • Competitive Positioning: Why Knowing Your Competition Is Essential to Social Impact Success
    For the social impact leader, the first step to assessing the quantity and quality of an opportunity in a given market is to map the competitive landscape. This article lays out step by step what goes into an effective competitive analysis. by Peter Frumkin and Suzi Sosa

  • Are We “Walmartizing” the Social Sector?
    Organizations wishing to scale would do well to prioritize impact over size and take care not to disrupt the community’s ecological balance by inadvertently competing with already existing local organizations for scant resources. by Michael Lombardo

  • Fair or Foul? A Review of Federal Tax Laws Governing Unfair Competition
    This article outlines the nonprofit legal issues that emerge when nonprofits and for-profits compete in each others’ fields of endeavor. by Gene Takagi, JD, MNA, and Tony Wang, JD, MBA


  • Saving John’s Carpet House, Saving Civil Society?
    With all of the hardships and challenges facing Detroit, one might think that a beloved, fifteen-year-old civic tradition of free weekly jam sessions would be the least of the city’s concerns. So why do city officials insist on shutting it down? by William Schambra

  • Friday Is the New Tuesday— and Other Observations on the “New Normal” in the Nonprofit Arts Sector
    This article, on the state of nonprofit arts and culture, is the first in a series summing up nonprofit sector trends that NPQ has been following over the past year or more, written by NPQ’s lay journalists—a group of grounded correspondents who are core to NPQ’s collaborative journalism program. by Eileen Cunniffe

  • Nineteen Practices toward a Nonprofit Theory of Leadership and Organizational Culture
    Nonprofit organizations are different from those in the business and government sectors—so, reasons the author, it would be logical to expect to manage and govern them differently. In the absence of a general framework for nonprofit management, however, third sector organizations are under persistent pressure to look like something else. The nineteen practices laid out in this article were developed by the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits in aid of reversing this trend. by Jon Pratt, JD, MPA