Monday Dec 26, 2022

Are nonprofit leaders designing resilience into their organizations?

Stuart wants us to carefully think about whether we’re designing resilience into our organizations and, if not, ask ourselves if difficult and uncertain times are really to blame for some of our financial misfortunes. I have been an admirer of Stuart’s work for quite some time. His research begs the question of whether our scholars have done more harm than good by borrowing as many theories as they have from the marketplace. Stuart’s “Nonprofit First” thinking insists that we should construct theory from what has emerged within our sector rather than from somewhere else. 

During today’s conversation, Stuart and I unraveled how nonprofit organizations often come about with the help of government subsidies only to later become increasingly dependent on charitable giving. As the government fades, many nonprofit leaders implicitly assume the donor will step up to the plate and play their role similar to how the government did. What these leaders miss is that these are fundamentally different types of relationships, distinct types of exchanges, all functioning in accordance with completely different playbooks. Stuart would insist that designing for resilience starts with knowing how to make these kinds of distinctions.

Looking ahead, we have quite a line-up of conversations set for January centered around the notion of citizenship and what it looks like when our donors insist on something more than the passive, consumer-like role to which our organizations have grown accustomed. If you would like to be a guest on The Fundraising Talent Podcast in 2023, email me anytime; our listeners would be delighted to hear your big ideas and bold opinions.

As always, we are especially grateful to our friends at CueBack for sponsoring The Fundraising Talent Podcast.

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