Posts tagged philanthropy
Why Now Is Not The Time For Strategic Planning

As some of you may know, I am trying to launch a new organization - a sort of nonprofit/consultancy hybrid to help independent abortion clinics. In trying to get off the ground I keep on running into a common refrain from both funders and fiscal sponsors: “We’re in strategic planning right now so we are not taking any new applicants.”

I understand the impulse, truly I do. I love a vision & a plan. There are a lot of competing priorities right now and everyone wants to be stewarding funds and programs as best as they possibly can. We want alignment and maximization of impact and all of it. Funders want to know where their money is going and why.

But here’s the thing: there’s no time. What there is: money in reserve.

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Misogyny & How It Affects Nonprofit Salaries

I’ve been reading Winners Take All, the thought-provoking, occasionally maddening book by Anand Giridharadas about how the solutions to income inequality/racism/sexism/all the other -isms, have become dictated by wealthy people who earned their inordinate amount of money by building businesses that are deeply entrenched in all the systems that subvert the people that the wealthy people have now decided to help. I have a lot of thoughts about this book but for now I’m going to focus on one throwaway line about how, instead of fighting to change systems that reduce systemic oppression of people, people argue that people in the nonprofit world should be paid better to retain/attract well educated and/or experienced leaders.

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Values vs Capitalism

I was at an event yesterday where a group of female entrepreneurs discussed, among other things, how to maintain radical, feminist values and goals (transparency, equality, liberation) in your business within a capitalist society. Because the truth of the matter is, the two things are inherently antithetical. Capitalism is built on patriarchal, white supremacist theory: there are winners and losers, haves and have nots. Some people are more equal than others.

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Trust, Philanthropy, and That One "Office" I Had

There’s an ongoing discussion in the nonprofit world about our relationship to for-profit businesses - specifically if nonprofits should be run more like them. Throughout different parts of my career I have fallen on different sides of this argument, but today I think we’re asking the wrong people the wrong question.

Here are things that I wish nonprofits would allow themselves to do in the way that for-profits do: put real value in branding and marketing; invest in market research; experiment; pay generously; have comfortable offices.

But of course the problem isn’t as simple as “allow themselves to do.”

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How Financial Transparency Could Revolutionize Giving

I went to a workshop about the new accounting laws for nonprofits (I’m very fun at parties). The instructor informed us that according to the new standards, organizations are now going to have to list not only their total assets but the restrictions on those funds so that at the bottom there’s a total of what is actually left for general operating.

In his discussion of this, the instructor kept saying - this is a huge deal. You’re not going to want to do it; your Board isn’t going to want to do it. It’s going to make your finances look bad. Funders are going to panic. This is huge (and this is bad).

Which is all true. But maybe it’s about time people realized just how bad it is.

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