CROATIAN CENTER of RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCES
WHO PAYS FOR THE THINKING TIME OF NON-PROFITS?
The next time you go to a restaurant, what if you tell your server that you are only going to pay for the food you eat and are not willing to be charged for any of the other costs associated with running the restaurant such as the salary of the management, the training of the wait staff, or the advertising they use to promote the restaurant?
This is a silly proposition, right? Well this is basically what most donors do with non-governmental organisations (NGOs). They ask to be charged only for the activities and services NGOs deliver to beneficiaries, but do not want to hear anything about the “other” costs they have. Even worse, donors tend to be very proud of funding organisations that have extremely low organisational and running costs, and this in turn affects non-profits by driving down their core costs.
This donor approach has led to a widespread phenomenon – almost an epidemic – of what I have begun to call non-profit “activity factories”. You can recognise organisations working as activity factories by the number of projects they run and the number ofseminars, trainings, conferences, reports, and events they conduct as opposed to the amount of time and resources they dedicate to developing their organisational capacity or to thinking strategically about their work and the change they want to achieve.Indeed, too many organisations spend much more time and energy on running activities than questioning and challenging themselves on the usefulness of those activities and how the difference they make in people’s lives could be significantly improved.
Yet the funding culture of most donors and the reactive, survivalist posture of most organisations, appears to have something in common: the very strong conviction that the intention of doing good equals doing it right. I have never, and hope I will never haveto question the absolute need for and meaning of the work that non-profits carry out; however, all too often, I have had to wonder whether they are doing it with the right tools and in the right way. So the question I would like to address to donors is: who is paying for the time to develop themselves and the time to think of non-profits?
More info at http://solarserdar.blogspot.com.
CROATIAN CENTER of RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCES ( CCRES )