I love last week’s New York Times piece by Stephanie Strom, “Nonprofits Review Technology Failures.” The essential message is that nonprofits will suffer failures, and the charity community is wise to learn from them.
I’ve written about the corporatization of nonprofits, which includes donor expectations of outcome measurements (just as shareholders expect of companies). If your nonprofit wants to comply with donor demands, it is going to have to admit its grand failures alongside handsome successes.
Transparency and evaluation of outcomes means all outcomes, not just the good ones. Insufficient programming, unforeseen consequences, underfunding, overstaffing, failed assumptions. Let’s talk about them all, so everyone can learn to avoid repeats.
Your donor investors and those whose lives you improve deserve an honest outcomes dialogue. They will benefit. So will the larger nonprofit community.
The $64,000 Question is whether donors will take the news of unsatisfactory results well.
On Friday, August 27th, Stephanie Strom will be my guest on Tony Martignetti Nonprofit Radio and we’ll talk about her article and its implications.