Sep 16, 2009

Can Nonprofits Break the Cycle of Skimping on Overhead?

This new study and report in the Stanford Social Innovation Review, by Ann Goggins Gregory and Don Howard, probably won't surprise anyone in the nonprofit sector -- you've probably long gotten used to working on an ancient computer at an even more ancient desk -- but it sure is nice to hear some sympathy from a respected source. And some acknowledgment that there's only so much that nonprofits can do themselves to shift resources toward basic infrastructural needs (and thus greater efficiency down the line), when every nonprofit knows that the funders have their eye on the nonprofits' spending ratios.

It's the funders who need to wake up and realize that, in order to prevent a few nonprofits from misusing donors' funds, the vast majority are toiling away in conditions that border on the Dickensian. Take it from someone who -- not that long ago -- had to take a disk to her home computer every time she needed to print out a grant proposal.