I recently had dinner with a good friend of mine. He has more degrees than he needs and is over qualified for his current job at non-profit. But he believes in the mission of the organization and has really made a huge impact on their community in the short time he has been there. And he is being fired.
It was explained to him that due to budget limitations in 2011, his services were no longer wanted or needed. In fact, if he hadn't fought like a bear, his termination letter would have also been his last day on the job with no severance or assistance in moving on to what will come next. And, the worst part about the situation is the people that didn't get let go. The person one notch above his, without a degree even remotely associated with the work they do, much less two masters degrees like my friend has, will be keeping her job because of her marital relationship with someone on the board.
Now, I am obviously biased in my perspective on the situation, but it is an unfortunately prime example of why I often ask the question: What if non-profits were run like businesses and held to the same standards as for-profit business? What if there were actual expected rates of return for the monies donated to these organizations? What if the use of funds was a question that the average giver knew to ask?
If that was the case, not only would the woman married to the board member lose her job instead of my friend, so would the head of the organization who has not grown the reach of the community or found ways to build a sustainable donor base. And, as the majority of this current community is aging and moving away from their prime earning years, my friend was the only link to the young vibrant families and professionals that had considered associating themselves with this organization.
This isn't an isolated case and my friend isn't the only one put in tough spot by the ridiculousness of the standard-less standard of so many non-profits. There has to be a better way.