Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Survival means Autonomy

Non-Profits exist in a world full of outside influences. They rely on the goodness of others, they are often funded by government at all levels and their existence is  predicated on the needs of others.  The only way that the industry can thrive and survive is to discover their own autonomy from government - and its often cumbersome regulations. Ideas such as social enterprise and idea sharing are often plagued by regulation and communication barriers.

Don't get me wrong, government plays an important part in this process. The service gap that often exists between government services and those provided by non-profits often time lands on the lap of the later. There needs to be an open and honest dialogue between government and non-profit to clearly cover the gaps in service. The need, however to remain financially autonomous remains squarely on the shoulders of the non-profit.

There is often a stigma in the non-profit world that running a profit is a bad thing. A profit shows donors that things are okay and this may lead to reduced or eliminated funding. Often times a non-profit will be scared off and throw money into unnecessary ventures to make it seem like they are not doing as well as they could or should be. This money could be used to invest in money MAKING ventures, not money TAKING ones.

This is craziness. Non-profits have to operate their business like a business. Period. by controlling how they spend their money, and more importantly how they generate revenues should exist independent of outside interferences such as funding formulas, tax implications, bureaucracies, and who is in power.

Now is the time for NP's to come together to combat emerging threats to their survival. The reliance on government should be important, but not necessary.