Emily sent me an article from the New York Times this morning, about the ways non-profits are funded and evaluated (worth a read). This quote really hit it on the nose, for me:
“The reason the nonprofit sector exists at all is because it can fund and invest in social issues that the for-profit market can’t touch because they can’t be measured,” said Paul Shoemaker, a former Microsoft employee and entrepreneur who is now executive director of the Seattle affiliate of Social Venture Partners International, a philanthropic network. “The nonprofit ‘market’ is not designed to be efficient in that way. Yet we’re applying the same efficiency metrics to both sectors.”
In the couple of years I’ve been working for a non-profit/charitable organization, one of the biggest frustrations has been the need to ‘invent’ short-term projects that sit on top of (and distract from) the core of what it is we’re trying to do, or having to re-frame the way we talk about our good work to match the needs of a funder, rather than focusing on how we can best serve the people we’re trying to reach. It’s nice to see things trending back toward the long-term view.