When Non-Profits Are Their Own Worst Enemy

Today’s New York Times has a prominent article in the business section (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/06/business/06charity.html?_r=1&ref=business) featuring nonprofit complaints that the Pepsi Refresh on-line fundraising contest is being manipulated and that worthy nonprofits were being cheated out of a “win” by fraudulent voting.

Obviously Pepsi has an obligation to ensure the integrity of such an effort. But what’s left unsaid is that this is an example of how nonprofits can be their own worst enemies by becoming reliant on both wishful thinking and sources of funding that are entirely unsustainable in the long run.

Ultimately there is no substitute for nonprofits learning how to create their own wealth, the kind of community wealth that makes the charitable pie grow, rather than always fighting for their share of a finite pie, if they want to see good ideas and programs get to scale and be sustained.

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