Two quick responses to a recent announcement from the Growth Philanthropy Network, which provides growth capital to nonprofits. First, the Nonprofiteer remains skeptical of the Network’s mantra that it requires grantees to have “the ability to scale their proven solutions nationally.” Any agency with that level of demonstrable success probably needs private financing less than it needs a good lobbyist: nationally scalable programs are just the sort of thing the Feds are dying to pick up, if and when they can find them. And the Network’s observation in its press release that the government now has a lessened ability to fund such programs seems weirdly out of touch with new Keynesian realities: the middle of a financial crisis is precisely when the government should, and will, invest in successful social programs–do the words “WPA” ring a bell?
But the press release (see “Announcements” on the Network’s home page) interested the Nonprofiteer for another reason: when all was said and done, it was merely an announcement that a new member had joined the GPN Board. This was presented as an endorsement of the Network’s concept–which, of course, it is–and used as an opportunity to present that concept in the breathless prose reserved for something new.
Good work, guys. Every charity should put out a press release whenever a new member joins its Board–not just because the Board member’s neighborhood paper will pick it up (though it will) but because it’s an opportunity to claim an endorsement from a substantial member of society while at the same time describing an old institution as if it were new.
And because it’s an acknowledgement, one of far too few, of the importance of Board members to the nonprofits they serve.