Break the vicious cycle

Community planning needed to guide foundations, donors.

To the editor:

[04.22.04] — Thank you for your article on the vicious cycle of funding nonprofit organizations [“Working Capital”, 04.14.04].

For eight years, I have sung this tune in Mobile, Ala., but to deaf ears.  Recently, I retired because of burnout and frustration. So, I have had time to contemplate this issue.

My suggestions about solving this problem are quite easy and doable in any community.

First, foundations and private donors need better guidance from financial planners, such as trusts departments and community foundations.

In turn, the financial planners need guidance from the nonprofit sector.

This can be accomplished through careful community planning spearheaded by chambers of commerce, United Ways, community foundations or a combination of them all.

Funders, whether governmental entities, private donors or foundations, should know the needs or their communities. Pet programs and projects do not always meet the needs of clients or communities.

Educating funders will allow nonprofits time to provide services to their clients without having to create programs to meet funding guidelines and without having to constantly chase after funds.

Educating funders also will help with the problem of their not understanding that nonprofits have to pay utilities, rent and salaries just as any other business.

This concept will allow for nonprofits to better spend their monies where they need to be spent, which is on their clients.

It was a pleasure to read your article and to realize that I am not insane.  Someone else knows that there is a better way to fund nonprofits.  Thanks.

Jill Chenoweth Zurfluh, Mobile, Ala.

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