Wednesday, April 29, 2015

A Positive Final Thought for the Last Reading

Rachael Swetnam

As I read the "Creating Shared Value" piece this week, I once again wanted to write that nonprofits can again learn from the business sector in this way. I can't help but preoccupy myself with the inefficiencies of small nonprofits with such big hearts that fail within a few years due to poor management. Far too often do small nonprofits focus on their mission to the point of failure. This article clearly offers a way out of that conundrum: "value is defined as benefits relative to costs, not just benefits alone."

Nonprofits can now benefit from the analysis that has been done by the business sector on creating value in society.  Businesses now see the benefit in creating a profit from making the world around them a better place. They are able to offer jobs to their employees, offer a service to their customers, and improve their communities. I was intrigued by the comment that government and NGO's should focus more on creating value rather than "expending funds," however I also understand the perspective that public taxpayers expect tangible results, and want to see immediate feedback of what's being achieved with their tax funds. It's especially difficult for government and NGO's to pursue this avenue based on how they obtain their revenue stream. What the article suggests here, relating to environmental organizations for example, requires an ideological overhaul of our entire citizenry.

This has been one of my favorite pieces in the class. Instead of leaving me feeling discouraged about the state of affairs for the nonprofit sector, it left me feeling excited about the possibilities. You don't have to start a 501c3 to help the community. A social entrepreneur can do both with their small business. A millionaire can do it with their huge foundation, spun off of their highly successful company. Or, you can go ahead and create the small nonprofit. Applying these concepts to government and NGO's was also new to me, but exciting as I currently go out to interview for such organizations. Business, nonprofit and public sector management all have so much to learn from each other, and I appreciated this final reading because I think the most important thing to keep in mind is that no matter where we all go on to be CEO's after studying at Heinz, we should do our best to leave the world a better place.


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