Submitted by Ali on Wed, 05/23/2007 - 6:31am
Ali Levine, NTEN Special Projects Fellow
I have spent almost every Thursday night for the past two years in classes, learning, thinking and talking about nonprofit management. I’ve also worked for more than ten years working at various nonprofit organizations. I’ve seen, and studied different types of management, and frequently hit up against the ever-popular question of ‘should nonprofits be run like businesses?’ In fact, it was a raging discussion just recently on a nonprofit tech list. I’ve always felt that this question misses the point. But it does offer an interesting look at the intersection between day-to-day management and the larger trends at work in the nonprofit sector.
In my Thursday night pursuits of my Master’s in Nonprofit Administration, I studied those trends– the rapid growth and professionalization of nonprofits, the ‘culture of scarcity’ that permeates the sector and the growing pressures of accountability, to name a few. I also studied the various management functions of a nonprofit – finance, fundraising, and technology. What is abundantly clear, to the point of being a bit boring at times, was that regardless of the function, every project has a set of strategic steps that are strikingly similar.