OK, the debate on this blog has been raging for two weeks. It has drawn over 50 comments, been referenced across a range of blogs, and yesterday was featured by the Chronicle of Philanthropy. I hope we have a lot more discussions like these. But now it is time to wrap this one up.
In the comments section, it has been pointed out that there is probably far more agreement on the issues than most people realize. Some of the points of contention are in fact not contended by anyone. Have you ever had an argument with a significant other where a whole set of issues came up that weren’t even part of the initial dispute? By the end, you sometimes wonder what you’re even fighting about and how it all seems to have gone off course.
So let’s do this. Below, I’m going to distill each point of contention down to a short question. I’d like everyone who have been actively participating and/or reading along, to answer each question with a simple “yes” or “no” in the comment section. That way we can get to the root of this debate and see whether the real issue is fundamental disagreement or a lack of shared vocabulary.
- Do you believe that nonprofits that provide free services to other nonprofits should decline to provide those services to nonprofits that are bad at what they do (poor at achieving their mission)?
- Do you believe that philanthropic funders should focus their resources on the highest performing nonprofits (the ones that have the best record or prospects for mission achievement)?
- Do you think that earned income strategies are preferable to philanthropic funding strategies?
- Do you think it is inappropriate, at a nonprofit competition for philanthropic resources, for a moderator to say, “Some nonprofits just suck”?
- Will you keep participating in these types of cross-disciplinary conversations as new issues develop on this blog?