Joanne Wilson writes sometimes about her nonprofit board experiences. One of my favorite posts of hers: Why do people treat a non-profit differently than a profit?:
There are so many influential talented successful people who sit on non-profit boards and when it comes to those boards they make decisions that they would never in a million years make in their own companies. I wonder why they don’t ask themselves if is ok to have an organization that is not efficient in a profit company but why is it ok in a non-profit company? It shouldn’t be.
Nonprofits are created because there’s tremendous passion for a specific mission, but often the decisions of a board become focused on very short term things. A result is that the mission never becomes sustainable— assuming it’s evergreen.
Earned income is crucial to sustainability. Think Girl Scout cookies. Mission service and earned income should work together. To think about earned income is to think about creating programs, products, and services that advance the mission and ideally embody it. This allows you to move past a reliance on disjointed development tactics.