They do die, you know. Some 501C3 charities do go out of business. Here in Columbus, a heralded arts organization, Players Theatre, abruptly folded on September 11, 1993, just days before they were to open their 70th season. At the time, Players was the only professional theatre company in Columbus, as well as the city’s oldest arts institution in continuous operation.
What happened? Well, different charities go defunct for different reasons. Perhaps they outlive their mission, and close due to success. Or possibly merge with another organization of a similar mission.
In the case of Players Theatre, an official report cited a range of systemic problems within the organization including “mismanagement, inaccurate and incomplete internal reports, continuing cash-flow crises, lack of cost and auditing controls, and unrealistic budgets and income projections.”
Of course the operating expenses of a professional theatre company will outweigh the cost of keeping smaller groups in the black, but the challenge is merely a matter of degree, not a matter of kind. All non-profits must operate just as efficiently as a successful business…the only difference is that our non-profits are not motivated by profit, but by values, mission and vision.
Are you on the board, or a committee, or a staff member of a 501c3 not-for-profit organization? Are you a stakeholder of the npo as a service provider, a recipient, possibly a vendor? Has a non-profit ever provided value to you, your family and loved ones? Then give yourself a survey…did the organization deliver service that helped. Do they have a mission statement, and a vision that is clear to you? Does the group’s business, their activities, their governance align with the vision and their mission statement?
Now, continue your self-survey. Have you ever made a donation to this non-profit…money…in-kind services…both? Have you ever been asked to donate, and if you have and did not make a gift, WHY NOT? Have you ever been asked to volunteer? And did you? Are you a current donor and/or volunteer?
As go your answers on this search, there goes the not-for-profit organization. If you believe in its mission and approve of the manner it operates…SUPPORT THE VISION. If you don’t, then follow its tracks as it plods toward the boneyard.
I’d appreciate your feedback…please add your comment so we may share your insight. Thank you.