For the few months I have been attending courses that constitute the University of Utah’s Non Profit Leadership Academy certification. The program has served to remind me of two very important characteristics of not-for-profit efforts:
First, it is not easy to do it right. While the creation of a charitable organization is not difficult, doing it “exactly right,” is. There are a great many steps and rules to follow and rightly so, particularly with a public entity. Every charitable organization should be committed to understanding the rules charities must follow and then guarding its compliance in every way.
Second, I am reminded that there are a lot of good people in the world who want very much to make a difference. Their passions range from recycling to the arts with a seemingly endless menu of need.
It all serves to reinforce why we are working so hard at Operation Kids. There is a need for organizations who “do it right;” who pay attention to every possible detail and encourage, through support, other charities who do the same. There is also a need to sort through the many efforts. A recent course discussion focused on the state of the current economy and its immediate impact on giving.
Our observation is that charities need to take the current economy as a cue to refine their message, their operations and present programs that address a true need and offer an effective solution.
If they can do that, there are generous people who can and will give. Perhaps the economic downturn will cause donors to ask an additional question or two of a solicitation, and that is not a bad thing. We encourage that, in good times and bad. Donors deserve to know that they are supporting charities that make every effort to be compliant, effective, efficient and accountable.
Operation Kids was founded on these principles. Our commitment to accountability and efficiency is not economy-driven, but rather it is part of the DNA of our organization. We continue to encourage donors to remember that there is great need, and there are charities they can trust.
It is validating to hear that we’re on the right track. We will continue to evaluate, to partner and to advise – to ensure every dollar has maximum impact and serves the greatest need. Because now, more than ever, accountability counts.