Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Commentary: America's Nonprofits Need Coordination, Strategic Spending

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Commentary: America's Nonprofits Need Coordination, Strategic Spending

Article excerpt

Celebrating Independence Day has important personal and public meanings for all of us.

Iraq has just taken the first step toward self-governance and we in America will find that many of the freedoms we enjoy will be challenged at every turn by this fledgling government. It may also help many of us understand how important the words life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness in our Constitution are to the values we cherish.

The nonprofit sector represents a uniquely American value. Improving the quality of life for all people and communities is one of the basic tenets behind designating nonprofit organizations as tax-free. That's an important gift, but are we managing this gift properly?

In February, Robert Egger, founder of D.C. Central Kitchen, wrote a compelling book, Begging for Change. In it he states that the social sector is entering one of the most critical junctures in - our nation's history, adding that donors need to change the way we give and nonprofits must change the way we use what we're given.

In his book, Eggers contends that there are too many nonprofits. If there were a quarter less nonprofits, we'd be a stronger, more vital sector. The money is too scattered. There are 2 million nonprofits in the United States. We have no strategy, no common goals. We've really hesitated to get in and quantify whether a program worked or not. No one wants to say, gee, we know your heart is in the right place, but you didn't really deliver.

Too many nonprofits incorporate Enron-style-but not illegal- accounting, in which we purposely manipulate the numbers to create the lowest possible administrative overhead.

What Eggers is proposing is coordination so that resources are spent strategically.

Most communities have a philanthropic summit or the business philanthropy gathering. Many of them are running out of steam. Why not have a crew developed that will spend the next year putting together a broad-range community attack. Define priorities. Then create a series of steps, and then systematically attack. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.