Friday, July 31, 2009

The "Admin" line item in Nonrprofit budgets

I seem to be in a rut of no origional posts--just references to interesting things I've found. Well, here is another one.

Nancy Lubkin has another great column in Fast Company in the July issue: "Why Overhead Isn't Evil in the Non-Profit World."

She takes on all those online "giving guides" nonprofit management "guidelines" and foundation biases that say "Overhead is bad. You need to spend at least 88% of your money on programs." A couple great pieces from her column:
"Let's take an example from the for-profit world, which isn't so squeamish about overhead. According to Apple's Q4 2008 report, 78% of its expenses were sales, general, and administrative -- the corporate equivalent of overhead. Seventy-eight percent! Yet nobody flinches. Keep spending, Steve Jobs! Your products rock!"
and
"Stop obsessing about overhead. You can't assess an organization on one statistic. Instead, focus on effectiveness. That's a harder story to tell and a trickier thing to measure. But that effort is what everyone ultimately wants -- a good investment."
Please read her column!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Very different city website

The city of Westminster in the UK has unveiled a new website--"Google simple". Just a few tabs, a big search box, a mapping function, a calendar, and a short list of topics. Totally contrary to the Attention Deficit inducing website design that is now typical. Check it out at http://www.westminster.gov.uk/

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Deloitte doesn't seem to value collaboration when "helping" nonprofits.

We've been hearing for years from foundations and corporations that nonprofits need to collaborate. But when Deloitte decided to start offering workshops for nonprofits in the Twin Cities on planning, taxes, finances and fundraising, they seem to have decided not to collaborate. The full article on MinnPost byScott Russell is here.

There are great organizations already providing help in these areas in Minnesota--The Minnesota Council of Nonprofits, The Nonprofits Assistance Fund, and MAP for Nonprofits to name three. But Deloitte didn't contact them--didn't consider collaboration--didn't ask for advice.

Also, I'm always a little cautious when for profit consultancies that specilize in for profit businesses offer help to nonprofits. See my post on For-Profit Managers in the Nonprofit World and this column from Fast Company.