a not-for-profit lunch

From upper left: Manhattan south of Rockefelle...Image via Wikipedia

I had
lunch at Gabriels yesterday.  I have not been there for 20 years.
Frightening as it may be, I remember who we had dinner with when we went
there.  What struck me today was that all the men were wearing suits and
ties.  Something I rarely see these days.  I am obviously hanging out in a more casual part of town.

This was a meet and greet from the not for profit world.  The conversation
was really interesting.  Besides me, the other four people are all
involved with CORO.  The Chairman, the Executive Director, a board member
and the Deputy Director at Soros. 
We talked about how the world of not-for-profit is
changing.  No doubt a common theme
across the board in all businesses.

Money is
no longer flowing like it has been over the past straight into the coffers of these
businesses.  Foundations are drying up and people aren't giving as much right now. Not only that but more
and more people want to see how their money is being put to use particularly when it comes to the younger
philanthropists.  You can now to go
sites like Donors Choose or even Kickstarter and give back in a smaller way and
see either a difference being made in a school or a project getting done.  Is the model for an organization like
United Way where a huge percentage of their annual budget goes to staff becoming obsolete?  Is anybody quite sure the impact
that United Way is making?

Recently
in NYC, an organization pulled the plug on $30 million of money that was
feeding 600 not-for-profit groups around the city.  That money is now gone and more than likely 200 of these
groups will find it hard to execute on their programs next year.  Maybe that is why two groups came to
MOUSE recently and asked if we were willing to absorb their programs into ours as they are looking for like-minded partners before they cease to exist.  The question turned to, how many
organizations in this city are really making an impact.  Some are harder to qualify than others
but if people were putting money into organizations that were proving they were
making a difference on a broad scale, wouldn’t that make more sense?

Shouldn’t
not-for-profit organizations start thinking about using social media to reach
out to alumni who have gone through their programs?  How do you create communities around these
organizations?  Think like an educational institution.

The most interesting topic at lunch was hearing about what CORO
does.  This is an organization that
in all honesty, I have only heard about because of my friend who pulled this
lunch together.  Not sure they have done such a great job at branding themselves across the city past a small core group of people who stumble upon them.  CORO is in seven
different cities across the country. 
CORO New York is who I met with. 
They run 9 month long programs that prepare and teach individuals how to
become effective leaders in Government. 
Government is not so easy to navigate and they literally teach people
how to get things done.  Their
alumni list is impressive and many have made a huge impact in our daily lives
in NYC.  Every city needs people
who are passionate about their city and Government.  

More
conversations to be continued on these topics but always refreshing to hear
people who are top in their field talk so passionately about how we can change
the community one step at a time. 

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]