Nonprofits Must Change If They Want to Survive
Nonprofits have relied on consistent monetary donations from the same people for a lifetime. They’ve been ruled by white, male boards in closed meetings. If they want to keep changing the world, they too must change.
Our recent Social Media Club mixer was a discussion of Beth Kanter’s The Networked Nonprofit. She has amazing insight into social media strategy for any organization. One of the biggest concepts was the fight against organizational inertia. I know this is a huge challenge for non-profit and for-profit organizations alike. Going social is a hard transition and being mindful of such an important pit-fall will make a big difference.
My name is Jordan, and I’m a Millenial.
In addition to interorganizational challenges, Kanter highlights the need for acceptance of Millenials characterisitcs. Millenials are categorized by birth from 1980-2000.
I graduated from college more than five years ago and literally just settling into a traditional career. This was a giant relief to my parents. A job with benefits ranks almost second to whether or not I’ll be home for Christmas. I’m also perfectly happy with my 3 year relationship with my boyfriend and not concerned with if and when we will get married. In the words of his Grandma, we’re “just enjoying.”
Not only do I regularly blow my parents mind with my lack of traditionalism, but from week to week and month to month I am interested in different causes. Currently, lost pets and pet adoptions are on my mind because I love animals and one of our cats has been missing for two weeks.
All of these characteristics of Millenials can be viewed in a negative light, but Kanter acknowledges that we will be funding the nonprofits, so they must adhere to our rules. And, she’s right. Not only can they expect us to hop around with our donations, but we want to know what’s going on in those organizations. Open board meetings will soon become expected!
Free your mind, and your funds will follow.
Nonprofits will also need to appeal to the diversity of Millenials and the people they represent. Currently, boards are 86% white males, and Millenials are just over 60% white. I don’t think the racial diversity needs to reflect the people they hope to receive donations from nor the people they represent. But, acknowledging and understanding the diversity of their audiences is necessary.
Honestly, I didn’t expect to be so enthralled with this book, but it gave me a lot of ammunition for things I want and solutions for challenges my clients face.