Nonprofit Irony

Photo by Carbon NYC

Nonprofit organizations should do their best to avoid embarrassing and hypocritical situations. I recently heard about a nonprofit organization that focuses on women’s issues and women’s rights, yet it has no paid parental leave for its staff. Many have also read or heard about ACORN, which works to get better wages for the poor, yet doesn’t want to pay its own employees minimum wage. ACORN has justified this by saying “A person paid limited sums of money will be in a better position to empathize with and relate to the low and moderate membership and constituency of ACORN.” These are just two examples of the irony we see in some nonprofit organizations.

These sorts of issues are very important because to the public, it conveys a mixed message. For example, if your organization is an environmental nonprofit, yet you don’t use recycled paper, how can you expect others to do so? Same thing goes for a GLBT nonprofit that doesn’t provide domestic partner benefits. This can also relate to board members and fundraising- how can you ask others to give to your organization, when you yourself are not a donor? Nonprofit organizations should make sure that they are living their mission in their everyday work.


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