Inside Philanthropy

A blog on philanthropy and nonprofit news and issues. A publication of Philanthropy Journal.

February 7, 2011

Impact boils down to performance

By Todd Cohen

Nonprofits are at a crossroads.

They can stick to business as usual and risk failure, or they can focus on fundamentals while also pursuing innovative and collaborative opportunities in the new charitable marketplace.

Operating effectively and making an impact are important for nonprofits because they are in business to serve people and places in need.

And doing that ultimately depends on the people who work at the nonprofit.

Kevin Trapani thinks a lot about these challenges: His company, The Redwoods Group, provides insurance for YMCAs, Jewish community centers and nonprofit resident camps, and a big focus at the company has been to help its clients adopt best practices and improve their performance.

And that requires creating a corporate culture that values the organization’s most valuable asset – its employees – and uses strategies to help them work better and smarter.

How can nonprofits seriously expect to serve their clients effectively if they do not serve their own employees effectively and give them the tools they need to operate effectively?

This is not simply some feel-good issue; it represents a critical challenge for all organizations, especially nonprofits.

With few resources, nonprofits are expected to work the miracle of fixing our most urgent social and global problems.

Yet nonprofit employees are overworked, underpaid, underappreciated, under stress and worried about their livelihood.

And in tough times, investment in the professional development of employees is the first thing nonprofits cut.

On Feb. 15, at 1 p.m. Eastern time, Kevin will be joining me in a special web briefing for Philanthropy Journal members.

In the web briefing, I will talk briefly about the impact the troubled economy has had on nonprofits, and then Kevin will talk about ways nonprofits can improve their performance and impact.

PJ members then will have the opportunity to ask questions.

If you are not one already, I hope you will become a PJ member, and take advantage of this special web briefing and other membership benefits.

The Philanthropy Journal, a program of the Institute for Nonprofits at North Carolina State University, delivers our news and resource information for free.

PJ does not receive government funding, and we depend on advertising revenue and donations.

So your membership is important to help us continue to provide the news and information nonprofits count on.

To become a PJ member, click here.

I hope you will join Kevin and me for this special web briefing for PJ members.


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