August 4, 2014

What a fiasco we all made together.

It started back in the olden days, apparently. Some nonprofits started claiming that the entire donor gift went directly to program. What a terribly (not) brilliant idea! Who was it? Some fundraiser? Some board member? Some “thinking I’m really smart” CEO?

Like it doesn’t cost anything to raise money? Like it doesn’t require fundraised money to do program? Like there isn’t some form of infrastructure — albeit often inadequate because all those (not) smart leaders were promising 100% of my gift and yours went to program.

Is this part of the poverty mentality? People who work in nonprofits do it for love and salary isn’t important? People who work in nonprofits do it for love and don’t need a decent computer or a good database or training or or ….

And then those charity watchdog groups got in the act. Inventing grades and inventing evaluation criteria like the cost to raise a dollar. But most of those watchdog groups didn’t seen to know much. And apparently didn’t bother to ask the nonprofits. (Because why? Nonprofits are suspect and need to be watched?)

Rest assured, I believe in nonprofits being better watchdogs of themselves. Yes, this can be done. I believe in educated qualified watching by others. But this fundraising cost (and overhead) fiasco? Really?

And we nonprofits let it happen. And the charity watchdogs got yelled at. And finally took out a big ad in The Chronicle not really saying they were part of the people who built the fiasco. Their ad was more like they were now the leaders in offering a balanced view.

BUT… This rant was actually not the purpose of this post. I just got to ranting!

Here’s the purpose of this post: I hope you are all subscribers to the Craver and Belford Agitator Newsletter. Read the July 3rd, 2014 issue: “How to talk to donors about fundraising costs and ethics,” July 3, 2014.

Because the fiasco of fundraising costs and overhead costs is continuing. And your own board members and donors could be caught in the ugly web!

About Simone Joyaux

A consultant specializing in fund development, strategic planning, and board development, Simone P. Joyaux works with all types and sizes of nonprofits, speaks at conferences worldwide, and teaches in the graduate program for philanthropy at Saint Mary’s University, MN. Her books, Keep Your Donors and Strategic Fund Development, are standards in the field.

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