Sunday, March 22, 2009

Donors Must Buy Light Bulbs

Not-for-profit organizations often struggle to raise operating funds. It is easier to apply for and obtain funding to support programmatic work. Recently, I heard the necessity of operational funds explained in the most simple, and profound, way.

Joanna Krotz, author of the forthcoming book A Guide to Intelligent Giving: How You Can Make a Difference in the World (and in Your Own Life), was speaking to the New York Women's Foundation, and said, quite eloquently, "I'm a big believer in donors buying light bulbs. How is the work going to get done if the staff can't see the pages in front of them?"

Joanna then went on to say that it's good to donate food and clothing and other supplies to victims of disasters, but donors must also pay for the storage of these goods, the trucks to deliver the items, and heck, even the gas to get the trucks to the beneficiaries.

Quite the light bulb moment.

1 comment:

  1. What a great way to think about this. I usually say, who will open the checks and deposit them? But these examples make very clear the need for administrative or operational funds. While they may not be as sexy as programmatic funds, there will be no organizations - and that means no services - without them.