Heyday for Cynics

No matter how cynical you get, you can never keep up.”
-Lily Tomlin

The chant is getting louder:  “Tax the nonprofits!  Tax the nonprofits.  It’s the answer to all our problems.  They get away with everything.”

Every day I’m reading of another jurisdiction looking to tax nonprofits–all or some–from Honolulu seeking to rescind the property tax exemption of nonprofits to Pittsburgh wanting to not only rescind the property tax but put a tax on tuition paid to its numerous colleges and universities; from Kansas seeking to add Read more

Getting What We Deserve

We are our own worst enemies.  We perpetuate myths, we engage in worst practices instead of best and we straddle ourselves with behavior and attitudes that can do nothing but harm us.  It is time for the nonprofit sector to take control of itself and prove to the rest of the world that we deserve the respect that we so crave.

First, let’s bust the myth that our employees do NOT deserve livable, competitive salaries.  They absolutely do, and you know it.  While many nonprofits have Read more

And I’m Worth It

I run a business.  It is a business that is designed to help nonprofits.  So, our product is help.  That’s how we earn our living, pay our bills.  But why do people think that we should give that product away for free?  If my business were manufacturing sneakers, my phone would not ring off the hook with requests that I give away free sneakers.  I would not be contacted by people three blocks away saying they are starting a sneaker factory and would I please tell Read more

Why Can’t They Be More Like Us?

 Earlier this week local public radio’s Radio Times featured a columnist from the Philadelphia Business Journal and an editor and senior writer for Business Week.  The topic was the value, potency, impact, etc., of President Obama’s mandate of a cap on the compensation of senior executives at companies receiving federal bail out money. 

It took the first comment of one of the guests to have me fuming.  He was discussing how executive compensation consultants are already advising people on how to get Read more

The road not taken?

For the record, this will be the last blog post for 2008.  The Nonprofit Center and I are taking a  two week vacation to relax, re-energize, and come back afresh.    Rather than end the year being all philosophical and pollyannaish, I thought I’d try being practical and positive.  The hard reality is that many people are going to be looking for jobs in the new year.  (And why, when the economy is  already running roughshod over us, do we have to have Read more

My Aching Head



My doctor says I need to ease up on the head banging.  I’d actually let up a little until I received a response to my recently published Philadelphia Inquirer op-ed.  The commentary suggested that those laid off from for-profit jobs should look to the nonprofit sector for satisfying employment:  their skills and talents are needed and will be valued and they can feel good while doing good.  The responses to this piece was phenomenal and all extremely positive, with Read more

Big Profits….No Taxes. The American Way?

According to a new report from the Government Accountability Office, two-thirds of U.S. corporations paid no federal taxes between 1998 and 2005. And a whopping 68% of foreign companies doing business in the United States also paid no federal taxes during that same period. All while doing “trillions of dollars in sales.”

I must say, I am inclined to agree with Senator Byron Dorgan (D.,N.Dakota), who observed in response to the report, “It’s shameful that so many corporations make big Read more

Ah, Symbiosis

“Are you biased?” asked the MBA student the first night of our Nonprofit Management class offered as an elective in La Salle University’s School of Business MBA program. Good question!

The basis of our question: Do I think nonprofits are better than for-profits? Do I prefer nonprofits to for-profits? Let’s not equate enthusiasm with bias. My mindset isn’t one of opposition, competition and tension, but one of symbiosis.

How often do you read somewhere in the literature of nonprofits that part of the Read more

The Most Money for the Least Amount of Work

Recently, I’ve been brain kneading (the visual I have as my brain works over an issue—the repetitive process of kneading bread, bringing it up to fold it over only to push it down and turn the dough a quarter to go through the same motion, over and over until the dough is ready) this whole issue of compensation in the nonprofit sector, piqued (or was it peeved) by the recent report saying that younger employees are looking to nonprofits for the same kinds of benefits Read more

The Double Standard for Nonprofits and For-Profits

We live in a world where double standards are the accepted norm. As a society, we are slowly working on redressing certain double standards, as in race and gender. It’s time to call attention to an enduring double standard for for-profits and nonprofits.

We hear again and again that nonprofits are businesses and they should be run as such. I couldn’t agree more, but with a few caveats, such as tempering our bottom line with our mission and having to raise some of our income Read more