Ken Goldstein, MPPA

Ken Goldstein has been working in nonprofits and local government agencies from Santa Cruz, to Sacramento, and back to Silicon Valley, since 1989. He's been staff, volunteer, board member, executive director, and, since 2003, a consultant to local nonprofit organizations. For more on Ken's background, click here. If you are interested in retaining Ken's services, you may contact him at ken at

Friday, July 07, 2006

Bad News in Threes

They say that bad news always happens in threes, and within the last couple of weeks three nonprofit agencies with which I've been associated have made negative announcements. One is going through another round of lay-offs, another is having lay-offs and disclosed a massive deficit and service cuts, and the third is shutting down completely.

Frankly, one of them has been mismanaged for years and is mostly responsible for its own problems. The other two (and even the first to a degree) are simply victims of the economy.

Despite reports that donations increased in 2005 (I've reported on that earlier), expenses increased as well. Besides expenses increasing, demand increased as well. Certainly a few more dollars came the way of the nonprofit sector in the last year, but it did not keep pace with the additional clients seeking social services or the cost of providing services.

The economy is on the rise, we are told. What new jobs there are, however, don't include health insurance. Retirement benefits are being slashed leaving seniors without support. Low-income parents must choose between putting gas in the family car or paying for day care so they simply go to work.

And who picks up the pieces when these things happen? Who fills in the cracks in the system? Certainly not the government. The nonprofit sector is what allows the economic engine to keep churning as it does, without providing benefits to employees.

Be proud of the work you do, and be sure to tell the story of how your organization contributes to the community and allows the rest of the economy to grow. And then ask for another donation.

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