Learning from Others’ Mistakes

It is often said that we don’t learn from the mistakes of others; we must make their own mistakes.  Yet, it is also often said that the importance of studying history is so that we don’t repeat the mistakes (that others made) of history.  So, which is it?

Increasingly, I
think it is the former, that people don’t learn from the mistakes of others. Is
it that they don’t pay attention? That they think they are smarter; that it
won’t happen to them?  They can’t/don’t
see themselves in those “others?”

Whatever Read more

The Future of Nonprofits

With the influx of alternative models, from B corporations, L3Cs, social ventures and others social enterprises (for profit organizations that address social missions), how long into the future will there still be a need for nonprofits?

Having grappled with this question for quite some time, I still come up short.  I believe we need nonprofits because of the many positive differences they bring compared to for-profits, well beyond the difference of each mission; but I’ve not had good enough hard data to really know.  In my Read more

Checking the Headlines

When you grow up in a family where both parents are journalists, headlines are important.  One of my sisters actually thought in headlines:  whenever she did anything, good or bad, she’d write the headline in her head and then she’d tell my parents.  Perhaps it is why I enjoy the “virtual clipping services” that gather the headlines on a daily basis and send them to me (and everyone else who subscribes).  From a headline, I can quickly see what is going on in the world 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

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