Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Are Non-Profits Toxic to the idea of shared value?

When you ask anyone what a non-profit does they will say that they are a company that works to benefit society. When asked what any other company does, you’ll get a myriad of answers summing up to “ they make :blank:” Society has created a dichotomy of benefit and maliciousness between profits and non-profits. This wouldn’t be so bad if non-profits hadn’t taken this sentiment to heart.

The idea of shared value is lost on many non-profits today. When I interviewed the executive director of Reading is Fundamental Pittsburgh she said, pointing to her heart, “Most non-profits are run from here...” Florri is the executive director of a non-profit. She came from a business background and sees some shared value in the work that she does. RIF has the organizational and creative power to put on “reading celebrations” for the students. Since they are a non-profit, you would guess that they do this for free. The answer is they do not. The schools are charged a small fee to have the program coordinators come to the school. Most non-profits wouldn’t dream of doing this. Especially in low-income neighborhoods because they are run on a bleeding heart principal. They will pour donor money into giving free services to people who need it most.

If you look at these companies you see that their program directors that are making a great community impact are paid so little. According to a Non-Profit HR survey, the turnover rate in nonprofits is 19%. This is, in part, due to the low wages and high expectations of its workers. A typical employee at the internal rescue committee has over 100 cases to keep track of. The company gets little to nothing back from its work and the employees have to sustain themselves on the good feelings associated with the work. The organizations that utilize them get a good will, tax breaks, and time that these companies have to offer. The non-profits then perpetuate the rhetoric that for-profit companies are bad and set themselves up as middlemen to adding to the community. Now for-profit companies are pouring money into them and not adding the community to their strategies because they can increase their brand image with little to no work.

Shared value gets created when there is a need in a business and a community. Non-profits may be watering down the system of doing good to build a community by providing for-profit companies a way out of thinking about it.

References

"Results Are In: 2016 Nonprofit Employment Practices Survey |." Nonprofit HR. 10 Jan. 2017. Web. 03 May 2017.

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