Jack's Journal - July 2020
Demythologizing the Nonprofit Sector – How to “Operate Like a Business” and Improve Mission Outcomes in the Process
Director of Nonprofit Education & Consulting
TANGO members are likely familiar with our belief and recommendation that nonprofit organizations begin to operate like a business. We have discussed this topic at our annual meetings in the past, and I have discussed it in this monthly column.
People often react to this suggestion with cognitive dissonance because at first glance it sounds like we are trying to fit a round peg into a square hole. . . but there is so much more to what we have to say. . . and it takes some time to digest our thinking fully to understand the type of cultural adjustments we have in mind.
To this end, rather than write more about the topic I decided to record a video discussion I had recently with Jimmy Larose, who is the CEO of the National Association of Nonprofit Organizations and Executives (NANOE).
TANGO and NANOE independently of each other, and without knowledge of each other, came to the same conclusions about business practices in the nonprofit sector. Since then we have had many conversations about how to get our thinking out into the marketplace, and we thought that having a Zoom call to discuss our thinking and then offering it to TANGO and NANOE members for viewing would be a good idea.
More From TANGO
I typically use the metaphor of a three-legged stool to explain the nonprofit sector to students and readers. I start by explaining that there are three sets of tasks generally necessary for any society to function.
On Oct. 14th Jack Horak discussed a new wave of thought called “stakeholder capitalism,” which injects some fundamentally new DNA into corporate America by requiring governing boards, for the first time, to consider social justice as they make their business decisions, even if doing so lessens shareholder profits.