All governmental organizations and NGOs are founded by well-meaning actors with good intentions. However, corruption inevitably sets in as the “good intentions” are gradually eclipsed by the inevitable organizational impulse to survive and self-perpetuate. Institutions, like organisms, seek survival for themselves and their descendants. They survive, reproduce, replace, predate, evolve, alter, consume and grow. And when a sufficient number of institutions coexist, they function like an ecosystem.
Last week we reported on the Ford Foundation’s $1 billion, five-year, Build program’s ongoing investment in the long-term capacity and sustainability of up to 300 social justice nonprofits. The Ford Foundation recognized that the popular donor trend of restricting funding to specific programs without accounting for infrastructure expenses was leading to a “nonprofit starvation cycle”, where charities cease to function because they can’t pay for overhead costs, such as administrative employees, computers and electric bills.
The nonprofit world has struggled for years with the distinction donors make between mission dedicated donations (restricted funds) and funds available for overhead and administrative salaries (unrestricted). The dichotomy has grown out of the emerging belief among donors that money spent directly on mission is better spent than money “wasted” on overhead costs and administrative salaries. Studies reveal that donors “feel” better about donations when they are assured that their money has gone directly to mission outcomes.
Time is always of the essence in the nonprofit world, with many organizations left feeling like there just isn’t enough time in the day to get everything accomplished. Looking for ways to work towards achieving your organization's mission while managing the day-to-day tasks?