We Can All Learn From Each Other

In my last post I mentioned my Dad, and then just this morning he sent me an article from the New York Times that got me thinking more about the relationship between for-profit corporations and nonprofit organizations in terms of measuring and reporting on social impact. The article, titled “Philanthropists Start Requiring Management Courses to Keep Nonprofits Productive,” raises the issue that is no small surprise: that many nonprofits are inefficient because they are run inefficiently. This can be due in no small part to lack of resources – specifically lack of money. But an incredibly important lesson I have learned in life is that just because you don’t have the funds, doesn’t mean you can’t accomplish everything you want to and more, and eventually the funds will come to you. All you really need is passion and hard work.

Part of that hard work for nonprofits, say Pierre M. Omidyar (found of eBay) and Peter B. Lewis (Chairman of Progressive Insurance), is learning management skills. But there seems to be a widely accepted skepticism in the public sector and among nonprofit leaders about accepting anything but donations from any person or corporation in the private sector. Mr. Lewis was quoted as saying that “[p]retty early on, I realized that when I asked these organizations about management, the response I usually got was, ‘That’s business and we’re not a business. ” Luckily, we have many people working to break down the walls between the two sectors to work together for positive social impact.

So, what can nonprofits and corporations learn from each other about measuring and reporting social impact? Tons, I think!! The article really only makes mention of how successful business people can help nonprofit leaders, but businesses that are only measuring their financial bottom lines are still making some kind of impact on society. I want to convince all organizations to be measuring and reporting on their social impact.

Can anyone share an example of how a for-profit corporation got help from a nonprofit in understanding and appreciating their social impact?

Bonus: Here’s another funny management cartoon I found for this post:


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