Turn Increased Scrutiny Into Opportunity
The nonprofit sector faces ever-increasing questioning from the government, the media and the public regarding its integrity. Still, charitable giving continues to grow, with Americans leading the way in terms of philanthropy.
Jeffrey Solomon, president of The Andrea and Charles Bronfman Philanthropies, says the current charitable climate offers opportunities both in terms of fundraising and accountability for nonprofits.
“Both in volunteer time and in contributions, the American public every day demonstrates its faith in the nonprofit sector’s ability to improve the world,” says Solomon, whose organization consists of a family of charitable foundations operating in Canada, Israel and the United States missioned to encourage young people to strengthen their knowledge and appreciation of their history, heritage, and culture as well as to support programs to improve the quality of life in Israel.
Despite the disappointments in the practices of some organizations following Sept. 11 and Hurricane Katrina, Solomon says the nonprofit sector continues to grow in quantity, quality and sophistication.
“The message of the trends of these last years is that integrity and ethical behaviors and practices are the sine qua non for success,” he says. “Good governance, management and absolute transparency are the best insurance for growing at a time of increased scrutiny, whether by government or by readily available information through innovations such as Guidestar, Charity Navigator or Better Business Bureau Web sites.
“While public companies have long had to deal with myriad SEC reportings, the voluntary sector had little in the way of oversight. Today, the combination of changing views and the power of accessible information dramatically change the landscape -- a change that effective organizations can use to better tell their stories, demonstrate their impact and create new loyal supporters,” he says, adding that nonprofits can use this period of greater scrutiny to demonstrate their return on donor investment.
This will provide donors with information that will enable them to balance their desire to give with rational analysis, and make more informed choices about where to direct donations, Solomon says.
Jeffrey Solomon can be reached via www.acbp.net