Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Is Your Small Nonprofit Getting Too Much Business?

I often cite business tools or processes and systems here, but it's not because I think for-profit does it better. I think nonprofit is in a place now where they would benefit from creating new processes and systems that work for them and I happen to think everything is related to everything else. So when I see a business article about something I think can be ported over to nonprofit use, I mention it.

Is Business Trying to Take You Over?

NPQ thinks nonprofits may be paying too much attention to what for-profits are doing and trying to model themselves after them with bad results.

I agree, but only if the nonprofit is actually making itself over in the likeness of a for-profit. The writer, Simone Joyaux, points to another writer for her conclusion:
As [Jim] Collins writes, “We must reject the idea—well intentioned, but dead wrong—that the primary path to greatness in the social sectors is to become ‘more like a business.’”
That's true, though I don't think that anyone here is trying to find a quick fix for their nonprofit challenges by becoming converts to 'philanthrocapitalism.'

And I don't think this article really applies to what we usually talk about in this blog, so I'll continue to mention tools and processes in the for-profit world that I think might be of benefit to your nonprofit.

Even so, Joyaux's article is an interesting read and I recommend doing that and not skipping the comments, which are thoughtful.

By The Way

I read somewhere else - can't remember where - that as Baby Boomers retire, many of them may decide to start their own small nonprofits. Yeah, I know you don't need anymore competition. But maybe this is an opportunity. If you are interacting with Boomers already, you're in a good position to convince them to come over to your side of the nonprofit neighborhood. If not, maybe this is your wake-up call.

Other Articles at NPQ I found interesting:

The Participatory Revolution in Nonprofit Management - about how stakeholder participation in governance and decision making is broadening
Nonprofit Management Isn't a Game About game theory management and it's efficacy


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