Friday, August 14, 2009


CATCH - 22

I really don’t want to get negative about the nonprofit sector’s general attitude regarding the current economic crisis. Times are very difficult. Missions are starving for signs of board life. Caseloads are stratospheric. Clients – and a growing number of them -- are in greater need than ever before. And many more talented, professional, caring people are getting laid-off.

Oh, what to do?

A recent online query from the Center for Nonprofit Management in Los Angeles challenged folks to come up with ideas to make their organizations sustainable. To participate in the survey, one has to indicate one's title, and, I assume, an organization.

I was ready to fill out the form, but ... CATCH-22! I can’t because I was laid-off from my job of five years back in December. Consolidation. Making the organization more sustainable, I bet.

All this fashionable greening of the culture. Lip service? Whatever happened to recycling?
! I'm feeling like a plastic disposable picnic plate.

A truly healthy, sustainable socio - economic approach would be to actively find ways to “recycle” those of us who are career professionals of all experiences. And I don't mean give us back our old jobs.

Organizations such as CNM and Southern California Grantmakers, etc. might join the 21st Century and convene a meeting of us -- only folks who have been laid off and who have been heretofore actively working in the nonprofit sector -- to strategize new ways to restructure the sector to deal with the current needs and hopes of our community. Trying to sustain the status quo in the face of significant, holistic change is the mark of a dysfunctional organization. Lord knows I’ve worked for many. Otherwise, they did indeed throw the baby out with the bathwater. I'm not "victim" material. I see great waste and great opportunity.

Additionally, unions, such as AFSME which has among its ranks NPO employees, can convene such meetings as well. Perhaps we might even organize to create an affinity group of such significant number that the insurance companies might court our business. Certainly, the current discussion about health care can find a place for us, without our being considered potentially lead weights on the welfare system.

There are new paradigms to envision, and perhaps a critical mass of temporarily disengaged creative professionals are the ones to carry it out.

It's so exciting that I challenge anyone currently with a job to give it up and join us!

No matter what ... Don’t forget to ask for the money!

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