Monday, November 07, 2005

More feelers on economic sustainability

On the organizational level, entities that generate their own resource flows have enormous advantages over those that depend on volunteer time and donation revenues. To be effective, an organization must first of all assure its own survival. Next, it must deploy resources in the pursuit of its aims. It helps to be able to pay people for their time--rare is the volunteer activist who can outlast a corporate lobbyist doing what he does for a living. Yes, it's possible to apply management and marketing disciplines to fundraising and working with volunteers, but really, the farther you move in that direction, the more you might as well just drop the restraints and strive to earn a profit. What's more, non-profits are easily captured and neutered by corporate donors, or must circumscribe their political activities to protect their tax status. Independent businesses can remain autonomous.

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