To Have a Volunteer Committee, or Not…THAT is the Question!

One of my former nonprofit employers had 18 committees, yep, 18! Now, keep in mind, it also had 90+ board members, 1,000+ volunteers, and a multi-million-dollar budget. That’s an overload for the vast majority of nonprofit organizations, and thankfully so. It takes a lot of time, energy, and patience for staff members (and volunteers) to manage everyone effectively and to have the committees produce effective work to benefit the organization’s mission.

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The History and Role of Nonprofits in the United States

I find it cathartic to go back to basics. It reminds me why something is important. It centers me. So, let’s explore the question: Why does the nonprofit sector in the United States look the way it does?

First, a little clarification on what it means to be a nonprofit. A nonprofit organization is one that is organized for the purpose of improving public welfare. A nonprofit is run much the same way as a for-profit. The term “nonprofit‡” refers to how the organization handles its excess revenue. Instead of being distributed among executives or shareholders (as in a for-profit business), profits are reinvested into the organization. This could mean expanding programs to serve more clients, buying new equipment or supplies, creating an operating reserve, or any other method of improving its positive impact on society. So: a nonprofit serves the public good and uses any extra money to further its mission.

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Labor of Love…Practicing Philanthropy

Another Labor Day is in the books…and while we took the day to hopefully pause, reflect, and enjoy some time with those we care about, it is challenging to not think about the work that still lies ahead. For many nonprofits this marks the “beginning of the end of the year” – fall appeal letters, galas, and so much more. It can certainly feel like a lot of labor!

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