Monthly Archives: January 2013
|January 31, 2013||Posted by M. P. under Management, Philanthropy, Research||
“You see, we have not been able to keep a Defense Against the Dark Arts professor for more than a year since I refused the post to Lord Voldemort.” —Albus Dumbledore
Have you ever wondered about that one position in your organization that seems to be a portal of sorts, depositing new faces into the office at a mildly alarming pace? Hmm. Why doesn’t any one person seem to hold it for very long? Why is that the only door in the office without a nameplate? What departmental antics could possible result in these once fresh-faced hires briskly stepping out the door one day never to return, nor be spoken of again?
In the Harry Potter series, a position at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry is supposedly cursed by the evil wizard Lord Voldemort after he was passed over for the post. Those who hold it do so only briefly, all leaving (some more permanently than others) by the end of the term year. In J.K. Rowling’s tale, that position is the Defense Against the Dark Arts (DADA) professor. In the nonprofit sector, it’s the development director.
Ok, the comparison may be a bit of a stretch, but surely I am not the first to see the connection? Actually, considering the findings of a study (a joint venture between CompassPoint and the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund) that pinpoints some disturbing trends in development comings and goings, there may be more similarities between the DD’s and the DADA’s than not. The report, UnderDeveloped: A National Study of Challenges Facing Nonprofit Fundraising, identifies 3 hefty issues around securing and retaining development professionals,
- Turnover. Sadly, a high turnover rate is the rule rather than the exception in development. The average period of time a fundraiser holds a position is 16 months, not too much longer than the tenure of our fictitious DADA instructors. Unlike the professors, however, fundraisers tend to leave for salary and promotion concerns rather than because they are a werewolf or have a cell awaiting them at Azkaban prison. Thank goodness for that.
- Poor credentials or just a bad “fit”. Finding qualified, experienced candidates is not an easy task. Professor Gilderoy Lockhart shamelessly padded his wizardry skills to get the DADA gig (he ended up irreparably wiping out his memory due his lack of expertise – imagine your insurance provider’s response to that claim). A more likely scenario for a nonprofit – your dream development director’s resume of degrees, skills and accomplishments does not translate into similar outcomes at your nonprofit. Where was the disconnect?
- A lack of organization capacity and culture to achieve fundraising goals. The study found that 20% of nonprofits don’t even have a donor database. What? It’s 2013! Even the ill-fated professors had both cultural and systemic supports in place at Hogwarts. If nonprofit executives welcome their new development directors with a tour that ends with the equivalent of “Here is your office, we’ll be expecting your plan tomorrow and a full turnaround by next Tuesday,” well, is anyone surprised at the turnover rate?
Obviously the development director position isn’t really cursed, but it certainly has a set of challenges unique from others in nonprofit management. It may even be the most difficult position for a nonprofit to successfully fill. Why is that and can that reality be changed?
|January 22, 2013||Posted by M. P. under News, Philanthropy, Research||
There has been much focus the past few years on the impact of the economy on philanthropy and nonprofits, but relatively little on the overall impact that nonprofits have on the economy (save some state/local level analysis). But a recent look at nonprofit operations and economics has concluded that private grantmaking has a greater impact than previously assumed – so says new research from The Philanthropic Collaborative.
The report, Economic Impacts of 2010 Foundation Grantmaking on the U.S. Economy, takes a closer look at the $38 billion in foundation grants dispersed throughout the United States in 2010. The authors found positive impacts of the funding at the immediate and short term levels, specifically in wages and jobs, revenue and Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth. In the midst of the recent recession the foundation monies resulted in the immediate creation of approximately half a million jobs. More notable than that however, was that the study identified long term impacts, including creating partnerships between organizations to encourage local entrepreneurship and grow the presence of for-profit businesses over time. The authors conclude that nonprofit activity does have long-term economic impact, reflected in both the GDP and the country’s employment rate.
The complete report, including eight community-level case studies of diverse initiatives and programs, is available at The Philanthropic Collaborative’s website.
|January 15, 2013||Posted by M. P. under Drug and Alcohol, News, Research||
Recreational use of controlled prescription drugs is second only to marijuana in popularity among drug-using Americans, and accounts for tens of thousands of substance abuse treatment admissions over the past decade. Psychiatric medications (benzodiazepines) oft prescribed for anxiety, insomnia, seizures, and other medical conditions and pain-killers were the most common duo of prescription drugs reported by those seeking addiction treatment, resulting in a 570 percent increase in patient intakes between the years of 2000 and 2010. However, a new report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) indicates a national decrease in nonmedical use of prescription drugs.
According to the report, State Estimates of Nonmedical Use of Prescription Pain Relievers, based on data from The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), seven states with the highest rates of nonmedical prescription drug use were in the western region of the country, while states from the midwest and south made up the majority of those with the lowest rates. Pennsylvania was slightly below (4.2 percent) the 2011 national rate of 4.6 percent of residents reporting past year recreational use of controlled pain relievers. Both rates decreased between 2009 and 2011. Percentages by state and age group are available on the SAMHSA website.
Initiatives focused on medical staff and patient education and enforcement strategies may be having an impact on the prevalence of prescription drug abuse. If adopted, recently proposed regulations to the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010 aimed at enhancing the ease and security of medication disposal may also contribute to a further decline of usage rates. But is it merely an issue of easy access, or are prescriptions from doctors assumed to be safer than “street” drugs?
Study Citation: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. (January 8, 2013). The NSDUH Report: State Estimates of Nonmedical Use of Prescription Pain Relievers. Rockville, MD.