Mak­ing Non­prof­its Work: A Report on the Tides of Non­prof­it Man­age­ment Reform

Paul C. Light
  • From the Publisher
February 24, 2014
Amer­i­ca’s non­prof­it orga­ni­za­tions face a dif­fi­cult present and an uncer­tain future. Mon­ey is tight. Work­loads are heavy, employ­ee turnover is high, and char­i­ta­ble dona­tions have not ful­ly rebound­ed from the recent eco­nom­ic down­turn. Media and polit­i­cal scruti­ny remains high, and pub­lic con­fi­dence in non­prof­its has yet to recov­er from its sharp decline in the wake of well-pub­li­cized scan­dals. In a recent sur­vey, only 14 per­cent of respon­dents believed that non­prof­its did a very good job of spend­ing mon­ey wise­ly; near­ly half said that non­prof­it lead­ers were paid too much, com­pared to 8 per­cent who said they earned too lit­tle. Yet the non­prof­it sec­tor has nev­er played a more impor­tant role in Amer­i­can life. As a gen­er­a­tion of non­prof­it exec­u­tives and board mem­bers approach­es retire­ment, it becomes increas­ing­ly impor­tant to ensure that their orga­ni­za­tions are pre­pared to con­tin­ue their mis­sions —that they are built to last in a supreme­ly chal­leng­ing envi­ron­ment. Paul Light, renowned expert on pub­lic ser­vice and non­prof­it man­age­ment, strong­ly argues for capac­i­ty-build­ing mea­sures as a way to sus­tain and improve the efforts of the non­prof­it sec­tor. With inno­v­a­tive data and insight­ful analy­sis, he demon­strates how non­prof­its that invest in tech­nol­o­gy, train­ing, and strate­gic plan­ning can suc­cess­ful­ly advance their goals and restore pub­lic faith in their mis­sion and capa­bil­i­ties. He explains the ways in which restora­tion of that faith is crit­i­cal to the sur­vival of non­prof­its —anoth­er impor­tant rea­son for improv­ing and then sus­tain­ing per­for­mance. Orga­ni­za­tions that invest ade­quate­ly in their infra­struc­ture and long-term plan­ning are the ones that will sur­vive and con­tin­ue to serve. 

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