Masquerading Nonprofits

I’ve never been a fan of Halloween, but I might have insider information on the hot costume for 2020. Since top costumes tend to mirror what is happening in society, your first thought might be a coronavirus costume. That might turn out to be true, but my idea of a hot costume is the nonprofit sector masquerading as itself.  

As you well know, there are two parts to our sector:  the public charities and the philanthropists. But neither of these parts is always as it seems, Read more

.02 % of Nonprofits

If I thought an equal rights amendment for nonprofit employees would have a better chance of passing than the original ERA , I’d be proposing it asap. In less than 15 minutes I was sent two articles that, in essence, slammed nonprofits for paying their employees, but especially their executive directors, “too much.”

One, a commentary on CNBC, lauded the newly passed tax bill for limiting the “excessive” pay of nonprofit executives; the other, an article from the Burlington (Vermont) Free Press, described a new bill presented Read more

January 12th, 2018 0 Comment

Dumb. Dumber. Dumbest

Call them mistakes.  Or call them poor decisions.  Either terms actually gives the more credit than deserved.  These are simply dumb ideas that someone proposed and someone seconded.  Let what follows be a cautionary tale.

A Hamilton County, TN Commissioner has proposed a bill that would require any nonprofit that receives more than 25% of its budget from the county to a) adopt the county’s purchasing and travel policies and b) have a county commissioner serve on its board.

I don’t know Hamilton County’s purchasing and travel policies Read more

Too Big to Succeed

People tend to look for the easy answers.  For example, I’m asked all of the time, “How long should an executive director stay in her/his position?”  Simple question to ask; complex question to answer, as it isn’t a functions of years (the answer folks are looking for), but rather a function of the person’s actual performance of the job, the continued interest in doing the job and the  interest in, and willingness to, push the envelope in order to be the best possible and not Read more

Nonprofit Confidence Crisis

My recent Google Alerts for nonprofits have yielded a sorry snapshot of the sector.  Eight of the three dozen or so stories were announcements of newly formed nonprofits, three were about organizations or their employees in trouble with the law and two were about how to check up on the “goodness” of a nonprofit.

So, what does this say, beyond the obvious?  First, the sector must stop growing.  While their origin stories may differ, the screaming question in each case is, “Did you really have to Read more

Ethics… Not Again

When a colleague asked me what my blog was going to be about this week, I replied “ethics.”  She then asked, “Aren’t all your blogs about ethics?”  Hmmm, is that really true, I wondered.

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So what does it say about the state of ethics in our sector?  That question came back to mind in reading about an interesting struggle in New York City’s City Council.  Early in 2014, a series of articles revealed some eyebrow raising activities on the part of the CEO Read more

Savoring the Nonprofit Culture

During my decades of teaching undergraduates, I would, every so often as was needed, leave my discipline of criminology and teach a sister class on social problems.

A question that I would ask in the first week of the semester was, “Do you have to have experienced something in order to truly understand it?  Or can you understand and appreciate something through the tales of those who have?”  Answers always came down on both sides.  But it didn’t matter, because by the end of the semester Read more

October 14th, 2013 0 Comment

Who is Sean Coffey and Why Should I Care?

I don’t know Sean Coffey—don’t know anything about him—but if I were a resident of the State of New York, he’d have my vote for Attorney General—hands down!

Let me go on record saying that I am generally not a one-issue voter.  It just isn’t smart electoral behavior.  But I am so sick and tired of lawmakers who abuse nonprofits for their own benefit and, in so doing, damage the reputation and work environment of the millions of nonprofits who work so hard to do such Read more