So my wife and I are at a wedding reception this weekend, and we sit next to a couple we don't know. The two women start chatting and after a bit, the wife of the other couple asks me who I work for.
"Myself", I reply.
"What do you do?"
"I work with charities on their management."
"Oh. Boy do they need help."
Of course, with music, other people stopping by, and other distractions, I didn't get to ask the logical question: "Why do you say that? Why do you think nonprofits "need help?"
Yet this stereotype is widespread, and, at least in my experience, partly true. Some nonprofits are miserably run, poorly managed and, in general, a disaster. But most are well run, and more than a few are incredibly managed, getting more done with less resources than any for-profit I know.
How do we fight the stereotype? By letting people know we CAN run organizations well, and then doing it. By being transparent, by opening our doors and our books, and by saying "NO, we're not poorly run when we are accused of poor operations.
Time to take back the night.