Friday, October 12, 2012

Failed Nonprofit Leadership

I was taken aback by the recommendation of the Independent Sector’s new $1 million report, Beyond the Cause. It seeks to form a single organization and be furnished $20-million over the next four years for direct lobbying efforts to fend off unfavorable federal policies and legislative proposals, many of which IS has advocated for over the years.

Quite simply, this is an unashamed admission that Independent Sector has failed in its meeting the recommendations of its own $4 million Panel on the Nonprofit Sector Report and subsequent Principles for Good Governance and Ethical Practice. The issues that IS is charging the new agency to address have been part of its own mandate and seeded in those and other documents for more than a decade.

The Independent Sector report may be a result of the huge backlash from its campaign it waged against proposals to limit the charitable deduction for wealthy people. Ultimately, as a result of its divisive stance, it backed away from its initial posture. Apparently it has been recently resurrected in a speech by its executive. But, in any event, it now apparently wants another agency to run with its vacillating stands.

IS now wants the new organization to look into revisions to the Internal Revenue Service disclosure forms (and burdensome paperwork) that could hamper nonprofit operations. This flip-flop on its own recommendations in its report to the Senate Finance Committee “to increase resources to the IRS for oversight and enforcement of charitable organizations and also for overall tax enforcement.” Despite this, it unabashedly continues to publicly advocate self-regulation.

In my view, there is little doubt that the funding for the report’s recommendations is already lined up. There is also little doubt that the funding will go the way of so many other reports and studies on the charitable sector. For decades, a myriad of other organizations have spent millions of dollars to addressed every imaginable aspect of the nonprofit sector and have met the same fate: no execution.

It is curious that Independent Sector wants to establish a new multi-million agency to address the very issues that IS has failed to effectively address even after spending tens of millions of charitable dollars.

Nonprofit Imperative gathers its information principally from public documents...some of which are directly quoted. Virtually all cited are in some phase of criminal proceedings; some have not been charged, however. Cites in various media: Featured in print, broadcast, and online media outlets, including: Vermont Public Radio, Miami Herald, National Public Radio, Huffington Post, The Sun News, Atlanta Journal Constitution, Wall Street Journal (Profile, News and Photos), FOX2, ABC Spotlight on the News, WWJ Radio, Ethics World, Aspen Philanthropy Newsletter, Harvard Business Review, Current Affairs, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, St. Petersburg Times, B, USA Today Topics,, Responsive Philanthropy Magazine, New York Times...and many more Nonprofits: On the Brink (2006) Silence: The Impending Threat to the Charitable Sector (2011)
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