Too much attention to the fraction of charities gone wrong, too little attention to so much going right?

My latest Nonprofit Quarterly article with Ruth McCambridge takes on an interesting conundrum: it’s hugely important to ensure that we combat fraud in the sector, but at the same time as strong action against fraudsters (relatively rare) is meant to help with public confidence, is it working? Or is heightened exposure of these scandalous events (much more “interesting” than the daily work that charities deliver to make our lives and communities better) detracting from the reality that the nonprofit sector – despite being in an environment of scarcity and always expected to do more with less – could teach both the public and private sector a great deal about efficiency and decency? 

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Demand up, donations down…something we can all do to help: give what is needed.

In my November 26 contribution to the Nonprofit Quarterly newswire, I check out the devastation of a food bank that is trying to respond to rising demand coupled with falling revenues, and I wrap it up with a unique holiday message:

While no one has the answers to the question of how to sustain generous and caring attitudes and actions all year long, if you are considering your December donation strategy and food banks are on your list, you can make the biggest difference by making it about others instead of about yourself—in other words, don’t give stupid things.

After 30 years in the nonprofit world, it’s physically painful to receive holiday season phone calls from corporations that are engaged in “team building” by constructing “holiday gift baskets” that they would like to “give to our people in need.”

Not to put too fine a point on it, but if we needed gift baskets, we’d ask for them. What most charities need is cash, which makes it possible for them to do the critical work they are already doing, or to help more people in need.

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Care about your nonprofit mission? Don’t forget your most important resource!

In my latest Nonprofit Quarterly newswire, I tackle the issue of stagnant nonprofit wages with the help of new data from the 2018 Report on Nonprofit Wages + Benefits in Northern New England.

From the report: “nonprofits—and the funders and donors that care about their missions—must give higher priority to sustain their most important resource: human capital.”

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Strategies for fighting homelessness cannot continue to be viewed as something that is “done to people who already have homes”

The day after I participated in the Housing on the Hill event (teaming up with housing advocates associated with the Canadian Housing and Renewal Association and the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness for meetings with Members of Parliament) there was an opportunity to write about the unfortunate public relations dynamics nonprofit organizations and municipalities may face when attempting to address the growing homelessness catastrophe. Every community is unique, but what is occurring in this Pasadena neighbourhood carries lessons and learning applicable to all.

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