I’m Starting at Home. Will You?

The work of dispelling the myths that plague our sector continues. It’s happening with a larger, national conversation and even more importantly – it’s happening with organizations like yours and mine.

On the national level, I urge you to read this open letter to Charity Navigator from my colleague Jan Masaoka, CEO of the California Association of Nonprofits. Jan’s post is about more than Charity Navigator and I hope you’ll use it as an educational opportunity for yourself, your board and key staff.

In Kentucky, KNN’s recent workshops about the new OMB guidance have provided vital information to organizations that contract directly with the federal government and nonprofits whose state and local grants and contracts include federal dollars. What we’re hearing from our members regarding the red tape they face is very troubling. The task force to be created with the recently signed into law HCR 89 to explore solutions for contracting issues is right on time! Here’s a great article on the new OMB guidance, and if you missed a workshop – we’re holding a webinar on May 8.

I’ve blogged about some of these issues before (here in 2014, here in 2013, and again in 2013), but I think it bears repeating on a consistent basis until each person reading this “gets it” – me included… This work of educating the world about the costs to effectively manage a nonprofit organization starts at home.  If your nonprofit is sending out a solicitation that tells prospective or current donors that 90 cents of every $1 goes directly to program delivery – is that true or is it creative bookkeeping? If your nonprofit is keeping quiet about the way you’re being treated with regard to federal, state and/or local grants and contracts for fear that you may lose the contract – how will solutions be created if we don’t find our voice?  If you are reading this email and your organization is not a current KNN member – how invested is your nonprofit in building a stronger sector to advance our Commonwealth? I’m guilty of shortchanging KNN and our sector in similar situations in the past and I’ve made the commitment to stop, and stop now.

I look at Spring as a time for renewal and I urge you to join me in a renewed (or new) commitment to truly knowing what it costs to run our organizations effectively, owning these costs as an investment in those we serve, finding our voice and standing with other nonprofits to advance Kentucky’s third largest industry. As I’ve said before: we need you and you need us. Our work is really just getting started and I hope you are on our team!

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