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Opinion/About change – Market demands change

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By Todd Cohen

Stained by scandal and fat-cat pay, charities are sinking in a growing crisis of confidence.

And if they do not clean up their act, individually and collectively, all charities will pay for the sins of their disgraced kin.

Charities can try to avoid regulatory backlash, and to regain the trust of donors and the public, by investing the time it takes to size up what is wrong and overhaul how they think and work.

Charities need to ask tough questions about the strengths and weaknesses of their staff, boards, volunteers, training, programs, operations, accounting, finance, revenue, fundraising, technology, communications and ethics, and then fix what is wrong.

Charities are creatures of the marketplace, which expects and demands that suppliers of products and services run shops that are open, honest and fair.

While they tout their “transparency” and “diversity,” charities invoke their lofty goals and privileged status to justify answering to no one.

To thrive in a fierce marketplace, charities must plug donors, volunteers and customers into their work.

And to avoid regulators’ whip, charities and funders must make it their business to make their work an open book.

To truly do good, charities must above all else be good.

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