Nonprofit Organizations Can Do a Lot of Good, but They also Have a Limited Scope
Their operational capacity is limited by local laws, regulations—and their own internal issues. Their in-house structure can sometimes limit them. Many have pointed out that non-profits must often move at a glacial pace in order to conform to both their own institutional guidelines and those of the communities in which they operate.
Dec 4, 2020Updated 9 days ago
Non-profit organizations can do a lot of good. From delivering medicines to those in need, to working on issues such as climate change, NGOs and entities in the private sector are an integral part of making the world more fair.
But they are limited both in their jurisdictional scope and their impact. Nonprofits are often treating the symptoms of an issue like poverty or racism, without necessarily being able to get at its roots.
A food bank, for instance, that gives free food to the needy, is certainly providing an important service. But that work is treating the problem far downstream from its initial causes: such as systemic racism, redlining, or corrupt corporations that don't pay their workers a fair wage.
Additionally, many nonprofits suffer from impractical business models or too much overhead cost. Sometimes only a fraction of the money they take in goes toward achieving their social justice goals.
"Too many nonprofits are constrained by a slow-moving, institutional, and self-interested model," reads an article in the Stanford Social Innovation Review. The article goes on to note how much money non-profits spend on their staff and on lavish fundraising events rather than the communities they serve.
Between their limitations in scope and the obstacles to the highest level of functioning, nonprofits are not always the sharp tool for social change that we might like them to be.
John agrees with this fact based on:
Are Nonprofits Getting in the Way of Social Change?
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