Arden Solutions - Association Management Logo

Quoted from: Drucker, P. F. (2004). The daily Drucker: 366 days of insight and motivation for getting the right things done.  New York, NY: Harper Collins Publishers .

Nonprofits need management even more than business does.

In the early 1990's, people sentenced to their first prison term in Florida, mostly very poor black or Hispanic youths, were paroled into the Salvation Army's custody -- about 25,000 per year. Statistics showed that if these young men and women had gone to jail, the majority would have become habitual criminals. But the Salvation Army was able to rehabilitate 80 percent of them through a strict work program that was run largely by volunteers. And the program cost a fraction of what it would have to keep the offenders behind bars. 

Underlying this program and many other effective nonprofit endeavors is a commitment to management. Forty years ago, management was a dirty word for those involved in nonprofit organizations. It means business, and nonprofits prided themselves on being free of the taint of commercialism and above such sordid considerations as the bottom line. Now most of them have learned that nonprofits need management even more than business does, precisely because they lack the discipline of the bottom line. the nonprofits are, of course, still dedicated to "doing good." But they also realize that good intentions are no substitute for organization and leadership, for accountability, performance, and results. Those require management and that, in turn, begins with the organization's mission.

ACTION POINT: Commit your nonprofit organization to effective management. Adopt high standards of organization, leadership, accountability, performance, and results.