Saturday, April 9, 2011

Should more not-for-profits be encouraged to close down?

Interesting article in the New York Times about nonprofits that have closed or are planning to close in the next few years – not because of any financial trouble – but because they have accomplished their missions.

The New York Times emphasizes some of the benefits of agencies voluntarily closing their doors:
Executives who have closed nonprofits say a feeling of pride overcomes any potential regrets. 

“Knowing that we were going to close helped us work with extreme urgency and intensity and not slack off for a minute,” said David Douglas, a founder of Water Advocates, a charity that closed late last year. 

Over its five years, Water Advocates raised more than $100 million. Its goal was to increase awareness of water issues, as well as to pull together the efforts of a wide range of organizations. The open knowledge that Water Advocates was destined to go out of business helped it encourage greater collaboration among those various groups. 

“We weren’t trying to attract attention to ourselves, which allowed us to focus on the issue itself, and we were always looking at ways to hand off things to other nonprofit groups,” he said. “And we weren’t competing for money, which also helped us build relationships.”

As Ruth McCambridge writes in the Non-Profit Quarterly this an unusual occurrence:
"........... because a voluntary closing in a moment of strength is a fairly unusual outcome for a nonprofit. Many nonprofits institutionalize to such an extent that closing becomes virtually inconceivable."

But perhaps more NFP's should have the courage to ask the questions- is our mission still relevant and should we still exist?

No comments: