Does Your Nonprofit Major in Minor?

November 30, 2009

Most people fail in life because they major in minor things.
Anthony Robbins

I’ve been a member of the CharityChannel listserv community now for probably nine years. It’s been an amazing resource for me throughout my career – and also a barometer for the mindset challenges that tend to drag nonprofit organizations down.

Recently I read the following post:

“The non-profit I’m interning for (name omitted) assists the homeless with job skills
and matching the person with a business and mentor within the
company.The name of  the program is XYZ. Any
suggestions on how to go about creating a logo (no money to hire
someone to do it), would be appreciated. the only background I have
with logo creation in higher education.I recall that very few ideas
were liked by any number of people and coming up with an original idea
was tough to do.”

As it has in the past when I’ve read similar posts, my jaw literally dropped.

In addition to my consulting business, I am an Internet marketer. Right now I’m in the process of developing a new program and, as a matter of fact, I am looking for a new logo for that program. As a divorced mother of two daughters – one approaching college age and the other in college – most of my funds are tied up, leaving little for marketing expenses. So I turned to craigslist. Within minutes of posting an ad, my inbox was flooded with replies from highly qualified graphic designers. I could just as well have utilized the services of Sitepoint or 99 Designs.

The ease of which one can find immensely qualified virtual help at the click of a mouse, however, is not the point of this post.

Clearly the organization posting the question has bigger problems than scraping up the $50, $75 or even $150 for a decent logo (and, heck, I know individuals who earn six figure incomes who possess neither a logo or business cards so my first question would be “why all the time and energy spent on the logo issue in the first place?”).

The problem lies in the mindset of this organization and thousands others like it.

That mindset that one sees so often in nonprofit organizations of wanting everything for free. That mindset of being utterly committed to their organization’s mission – but not at all committed to the basics of funding their organization’s mission (remember an earlier post where I reprinted verbatim a local job listing for a nonprofit development director with a pay rate of $12 an hour?).

No wonder nonprofit organizations are in so much trouble.


Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: