The Great Debate
February 1st, 2007Over the course of the last few weeks, I have read with great interest a spirited debate that developed from a series of more than 50 or more emails through a great organization - Grantmakers for Effective Organizations. The debate focuses on the topic of operational support to nonprofits - should this be funded or not by philanthropic foundations or others. Should there be a percentage allocated to support the cost of keeping staff functioning, the lights on and the infrastructure fully operational so that services and programs can be effectively delivered?
And this reaches out to individual donors as well as they question whether they want to pay salaries or focus their dollars on programs.
Whew - the commodity is staffing for many nonprofits and I believe that more attention be focused on the results/outcomes of an organization's programming. Percentages of direct costs and the percentage of indirect costs are arbitrarily set by many groups. The State AG's office sets parameters, the Better Business Bureau sets parameters, Charity Navigator sets parameters, national accrediting bodies set parameters. . . it is not standard and frankly it may be more meaningful on a case by case basis.
More likely on this topic!