Sunday, March 30, 2008

So What Gives THEM The Right?

The volley has been sounded. Get ready, Executive Directors and Board Members, the war on small nonprofits has started. They plan to cut the money off. From today's Houston Chronicle.

A set of 33 guidelines issued by a committee convened by Independent Sector seeks to make bad boards good. In its Principles for Good Governance and Ethical Practice report, the Washington-based coalition of charities and foundations lays out a blueprint of what nonprofits must and should do to avoid legal and ethical improprieties.
Six of the 33 rules are required by law. The other 27 are up for discussion within the nonprofit industry.

Please note that the "principles" the Houston Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals and Dini Partners signed into their "statement" were not supported or endorsed by the Panel on the Nonprofit Section who wrote the Pension Protection Act of 2006. As noted in the last paragraph, THEY are the ones that drafted the "principles" that were signed into law in August, 2006.
The Philanthropy Roundtable and the Association of Fundraising Professionals also disagreed with the Houston Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals and their for-profit subcontractors.

...although far from a call for immediate adoption by every charity, the statement goes too far for the Philanthropy Roundtable, which issued a public rejection of the principles. The Washington-based association of individual donors, corporate giving officers and foundation trustees and staff cited three reasons for its refusal to sign the statement.

• "The principles take an arbitrary and one-size-fits-all approach to setting standards for a very diverse sector."

• "The principles imply improperly that foundations act unethically or practice misgovernance unless their boards include members from diverse backgrounds."

• "A number of the more problematic principles could be written into law or regulation if it is perceived that there is a wide consensus behind them in the nonprofit community."

Not to mention that their recommended "guidelines" also appear to speak to a Conflict of Interest on their part, for example:

...the guideline to not compensate internal or external fundraisers based on a commission or a percentage of the amount raised is a tenet of the national fundraising group's code of ethics and requirement to be a member of the organization.

Yet they offer to provide those very services for a cost, of course. How in the hell did that little hitch make it past their "Principles for Good Governance and Ethical Practice" report.
Why all of this attention? Check out who's out there causing trouble. They want complete control to ensure they keep all of the money.

To get the report, go to

1 comment:

DP said...

Isaiah, great post. We know this situation all too well. With the cuts in social spending by local, state, and national governments, nonprofits have been expected to pick up the slack. This has led to ever more organizations competing for philanthropic dollars in order to provide vital services, and those groups are forced to jump through more and more hoops to do so.

For example, many donors will fund programs but not operations, disregarding the fact that without the operation the program cannot be effectively implemented or managed. The end result is that most of the funding ends up in the hands of the "corporate" charities, while grassroots organizations operating at neighborhood levels starve. This effort will likely accelerate that process.