Nonprofit organizations have a problem.
Every year about this time, people start circulating graphics depicting nonprofit organizational waste related to executive compensation. It really bothers people, it turns out, if they give to a charity and some CEO is making a million bucks off of those donations. But compensation is not nonprofit organizations’ biggest problem. Not by a long shot. While a few enormous organizations (arguably) overpay their leaders, the average compensation doesn’t draw much ire from anyone.
So in my view, that’s not the issue.
What is a drastically more pressing concern is when people give to a charity and their donation is consumed by organizational needs, leaving in its wake an identically urgent need. Very few charitable organizations have found success with sustainable solutions. They seek donations. They spend donations. They seek donations again. We’ve come to expect it. Is it Christmas time? There are those bell ringers, at it again.
How do nonprofits pave their own way to implementing solutions that sustain?
Sure, charities are always going to rely on donations from individuals, foundations, churches, etc. But they’ve also got to find a way to fund their own work. A lot of nonprofit leaders lament that their community is not generous enough. But what if the nonprofit sector isn’t acting sustainably enough?
I have the great blessing of working with two beautiful nonprofits. In both organizations, we’re taking a stab at this in meaningful ways. We’re a looooooong way from having it figured out. But we are giving it a try.
And we’re giving it a go with cows and with clothing bins.
The 25 Group is raising money to buy cows for a ministry in India. They’ll use the milk from the cows to serve their orphanage directly. They’ll also take the excess milk and sell it the surrounding region, providing needed revenue to purchase other food (rice, protein, fruits and vegetables). Ten cows gets it done. They are $700/piece. We’re raising funds to purchase 10, so that’s a total of $7,000. But that investment will provide daily food for over 250 children in perpetuity. It’s a tremendous investment. Well worth it. Want to help fund a sustainable solution?
You can donate here or on Venmo @the25group.
Clothed By Faith provides gently used clothing to those in need. We’ve served over 52,000 individuals in our six year history. This year alone, we’ve served nearly 200 zip codes in the Houston metro area. A bag of clothing costs about $25 to distribute to someone in need, but each bag is full of about $250 worth of clothing. While the whole process relies on the donation of used clothing and the work of volunteers to sort, fold, and pack these clothes, it does take some money to pull all this off.
So we are seeking bin sponsorships of $5,000 so that we can deploy donation bins throughout our region. These bins will pay for themselves in about six months and, over the life of the bin, clothe hundreds of people thanks to the increased inventory gathered. It will also earn the organization tens of thousands of dollars over its lifespan because of our recycling program. The return on investment is impressive. Interested in donating to a sustainable solution like this one?
You can give to support Clothed By Faith here or donate on Venmo @clothedbyfaith.
I get it. Your money is limited. Your donations should be wisely chosen. But here are two examples of (pardon the cliche) gifts that will keep on giving. They will be given by you once and then given over and over and over again. That’s what sustainability is, after all. Cows that keep giving milk. Bins that keep producing inventory and income.
It’s smart. It stays. It is just what nonprofits need to do more of.
Thanks for helping us get there.