“I agree with many of the things guest columnist Sonya Campion had to say in her article about Washington state nonprofits, many of which my wife and I support [“It’s time for nonprofits to advocate for their missions,” Opinion, Nov. 21].
She writes, “It is time for the nonprofit sector to take a long look in the mirror.” What she does not ask is the most fundamental question of all: Do they need to exist as they do today? In other words, is there another nonprofit out there that is duplicating efforts, and doing it better and is doing it at less cost? Should some nonprofits join forces, thereby making both organizations stronger?
The unspoken plea in every charity solicitation you receive is actually, “We need this money to come in to pay our salaries first.” Maybe 18,000 charities in Washington state with 300,000 people working there are too many. Consolidate, and make them more efficient — and lay a few people off.
Yes, I’m very aware that nearly all of those 300,000 work for less than sterling wages, but these nonprofits need to be run more like a business. Ed Waldock, Seattle“
I agree with this writer. I know of a number of organizations duplicating efforts- even within the same zip code. This is absurd and waste of resources. When I have inquired why, the answers I have received have been “We’re funded by religious groups, which have strict rules”. “The state declares we can’t serve anyone over 18” “We can’t take children, it’s a liability” “We can take women and children, but no husbands or boyfriends. It’s a safety risk”.
I understand the concerns behind these answers, but as former program manager of one of these nonprofits, I find myself hard pressed to believe that these organizations couldn’t band together for the greater good of their clients and mission and find a way to streamline and work together. Combining funding and building a more cohesive program, or perhaps even being available twenty four hours a day or for three meals instead of one or two would make a huge difference. This would allow more individuals to keep their jobs, and better serve individuals- keeping more of them off the street. At the end of the day, non-profits are still businesses that have to pay salaries, provide demographic data to donors, do inventory, and be accountable for every dollar spent and given.