Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Nonprofit 1 Percent


I spent last night at Coro New York talking with a group of young fellows about one of my favorite subjects: the non-profit sector. One of the things I discussed was my sense that there were two related trends currently at work in the non-profit sphere: the first a movement toward more and more out-sourcing by government to non-profits and the second a movement toward holding non-profits to higher and higher standards of accountability. (While in general it is hard to argue against accountability, I expressed a concern that if we tighten the screws on non-profits too much, we will ameliorate the very advantages that make non-profits better able to deliver services in many instances than government.) Anyway, I was walking to the subway this morning when I spied the latest issue of the Village Voice which has the provocative headline "The Nonprofit 1 Percent." The article, which focuses on a single non-profit that paid its CEO a salary that the Voice deems to be excessive, isn't really worth reading, but it is worth paying attention to: it is an expression of a growing backlash against non-profits that those of us who work in the sector would do well to keep our eyes on.