‘Doing good’ – you see that all the time these days. Everyone wants to ‘do good’. And in truth, everyone can. Gone are the days when charities or nonprofits were assumed to be doing good simply because they had a nonprofit registration.
This should be prompting a period of reflection for charities and nonprofits about what they are actually for and whether being a nonprofit is really the right structure to achieve their aims. Instead what we are seeing (in the UK at least) is organisations bunkering down to weather a storm of government cuts, Brexit, and a shrinking civil society space. Of course we have to fight the shrinking of civil society space for all sorts of reasons, not least because it is a bell-weather signal of how robust our democracy is. But government cuts and Brexit are a political reality (whatever your political persuasion might be) and rather than staring, rabbit-like, into the on-coming headlights, organisations should instead be planning and moving out of the way of the cuts and into new opportunities.
“A bit rich” you might say, “with things like care homes closing rapidly all over the UK”, but actually the principles are always the same:
- What is the change you are trying to acheive?
- What needs to change for that goal to be acheived?
- What do you need to do to make change happen?
- What support do you need in order to do the stuff to make change happen?
Where in those key questions is there space to say “change is only delivered by a charity”? Extinction Rebellion would probably argue not.
Your shape and structure doesn’t really matter. What matters is your goal and your attitude towards achieving that goal.
Is it time up for some charities and nonprofits? Is there a better way to deliver change? Do some charities actually matter more than others?