Where government fears to tread? And a note about Board members

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.


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4 Responses to “Where government fears to tread? And a note about Board members”

  1. Katherine Says:

    Didn’t you know the WPA was just another evil plan to introduce godless Communism to the heartland, and enable the feckless and work-shy to avoid honest employment suitable to their meagre talents? For which they should have been grateful?

    I think the supporters of Saxby Chambliss and his ilk will be cross if *any* nonprofit gets a competent lobbyist: they’ll be very jealous of their success.

    Lobbyists for NPs getting a look-in seems like a bit of a pipe-dream, though: do you think the new administration would give them a hearing given campaign speeches eschewing the power of the lobby?

    • Nonprofiteer Says:

      The new administration’s stated objection to lobbying is based on corporations’ expecting to get a hearing based on the size of their campaign contributions. As nonprofits are prohibited from making such contributions, their lobbying efforts aren’t tainted. They may not be successful, but I don’t think they’ll be dismissed out of hand as “lobbyists.”

  2. Low hanging fruit: news releases with Board names « Betsy Stone’s The Philanthrophile Says:

    […] hanging fruit: news releases with Board names The Nonprofiteer, a prominent blogger in the non-profit space (who mysteriously uses only her first name, even in […]

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