Charity For All

charity for allI recently finished Ken Stern’s critique of the nonprofit sector: With Charity for All. Even for me, who has worked in the nonprofit sector for 20-years, I came away from this book shaking my head.

It makes me think that working for casinos and tobacco companies might be more honorable.
But later that week I had a meeting with a client in Florida that is doing awesome things in their community, and my hope was restored. I wish Stern would have visited this nonprofit organization.

All of us consultants and agencies who work for nonprofit organizations live on a knife edge. On the one hand, most everyone working on the supply side of the table serving nonprofits is in it because we want to use our skills in a manner that makes a difference in the world. Yet when we work with nonprofit organizations that aren’t good stewards of their donors’ gifts, we are contributing to the problem he addresses in his book.

Here’s one thing we can all do to improve the situation. We can stress the importance of our clients doing solid program evaluations that prove the effectiveness of their services and make sure that information gets back to its donors.
Ultimately, we have a duty not only to our clients, but to their donors as well.

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