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Comments on PHILANTHROPY 2173: Stirred, not shaken





Updated: 2017-12-07T23:30:12.337-08:00

 



This is fascinating. Thanks for sharing, Lucy. I h...

2008-05-29T15:28:00.000-07:00

This is fascinating. Thanks for sharing, Lucy. I had not thought about these potential unintended consequences of the increased focus on earned revenue and sustainability.

The language of the MN ruling that states charities must "give away" something seems incomplete. It doesn't fully capture the concept of providing a public good. This is a crucial discussion that will have serious implications down the road for nonprofits (and their competitors and clients).



This is fascinating, Lucy. Thanks for sharing. I h...

2008-05-29T13:36:00.000-07:00

This is fascinating, Lucy. Thanks for sharing. I had not thought much about these "unintended" consequences of the shift toward business thinking and increasing earned revenue and sustainability.

The language used in the MN ruling stating that charities must "give away" something seems incomplete and fails to incorporate the concept of providing a public good. This is a crucial debate with serious implications on all nonprofits (and their competitors).



The comment above from anonymous also came to me d...

2008-05-28T09:52:00.000-07:00

The comment above from anonymous also came to me directly in email. The author, who doesn't want to be identified because the opinions expressed may not be shared by the person's employing foundation, is a "NextGen" program officer at a NY based foundation. My response to the questions posed:

"These are EXACTLY the questions I have about the effect of business practice and jargon on nonprofits.

Where do we want the lines to be? What are the potential unintended consequences of pushing for sustainability and earned revenue?"

How can we bring these discussions about nonprofit exemptions, social entrepreneurship, business practice, sustainability, civil society together into place? We don't need more "either/or" debates, but a collective reframing of delivery systems for public goods and the roles and constructs of civil society.



Thanks for another great and thought-provoking pos...

2008-05-28T09:46:00.000-07:00

Thanks for another great and thought-provoking posting re: Sunday’s Times article re: tax-exempt status of non-profits. As I read the Times article, I thought about what the MN ruling meant for foundations/funders. It seems that we (funders, nay “investors”) push non-profits to be more business-minded. We ask that they have a business plan, develop a revenue stream, think about sustainability. But, it seems that when non-profits employ for-profit “best-practices,” “lessons learned,” and lexicon, the government’s suspicions are aroused. So, if you talk like a business, look like a business, smell like a business, you must be a business! And therefore, why be exempt from paying taxes? Are we doing a disservice to non-profits by demanding them to be more business-minded? Perhaps we should use non-business-y language to ask the same thing? (i.e. Instead of asking an org to “assess the marketplace,” should we ask for the “strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats” of the org?)