Wednesday, June 13, 2007

On the matter of charitable business....

In response to several blogs out there on the topic of whether non-profits should act more like for-profit businesses, I wrote the following on Phil Cubeta's blog (which points to two blogs that are among the latest to enter this discussion):

Gift Hub: Something Here Certainly Does Suck:

All things are business, regardless of their individual profit-and-loss statements. What is of chief concern is genuine contribution, which cannot be evaluated purely on an economic basis.

Some companies have great economic performance but create an overall negative contribution to the world: is this success?

Similarly, many companies make significant and positive contributions to the world, but run in deficits: is this failure?

'Non-profit' is a tax status, not a style of business.

The fact that some strong charitable institutions have a difficult time securing funding for their operations is not a commentary on their capacity for excellence, per se, as much as it is a commentary on the flaws within our economic system.


For yet more of my ramblings in response to the greatness that is GiftHub, you should visit:

Gift Hub: The Logic Model: MBOR for Philanthropy

More on logic models in future posts. In the meanwhile, please share your thoughts on any of this.

What is the appropriate balance between "mission" and "margin"?