Philanthropy Daily Digest

One Comment

  1. Kristen V says:

    I am empathetic to this sensitivity of “carrot and stick” management by foundations. I’ve been on both sides. Struggling nonprofits who earnestly believe in what they do, will often take any grant they can get, even if they aren’t able to manage it or use it for its restricted purpose. Cash flow is a day-to-day concern and I’ve certainly been at organizations who have dealt with this – and Brothers suggests that I am not alone, by far.

    On the funder side then, what does one do? It is hard enough to assess performance of “mature” nonprofits, who are just now starting to measure and evaluate results and outcomes – but since the majority of nonprofits are under $1 million/year, how can a funder evaluate these folks and determine “potential”? What metrics, financial ratios, and governance rules can stand in for “proven track record”?

    Punishing nonprofits doesn’t help – so rarely do nonprofits go out of business, that instead they make up the money in other ways but continue to slump along, underperforming. What funders can do is come up with a better way to assess untapped potential, then work with those organizations to increase capacity building and ensure their dollars (and those of others!) are being well spent.