“The Overhead Myth and the Sustainability Myth both seem to stem from this unconscious image of nonprofits as moochers. Overhead is about making sure we don’t spend funding in frivolous ways (such as on staff salaries and healthcare). Sustainability is about making sure nonprofits are not going to be dependent on funders forever, like that irresponsible woman and her twelve kids who just plan to stay on welfare indefinitely and use their monthly checks to buy booze and Hot Cheetos.”
These myths are not just irritating, but destructive to the nonprofit field. Successful nonprofits are seeing an increase in costs without an equal increase in revenues, making self-sufficiency impossible for all but a small number of organizations. Fifty percent of start-up businesses fail after four years with earned-income, so how are nonprofits expected to generate income while running their programs?
“The more we keep reinforcing this unconscious belief that nonprofits are leeches, the more restrictions put on us, the less effective we will be in tackling society’s growing problems. Funders have to accept that nonprofits are partners, not parasites, or our communities lose.”
It is time for us to kill the Sustainability Myth—the myth that nonprofits can be self-sustaining. It divests funders from their role as equal partners, and forces nonprofits to waste time justifying our work instead of actually doing it.
Source: Read the full article from NonprofitWithBalls.com.