This is a guest post by Erik Daubert, Chair, Growth in Giving Initiative, Affiliated Scholar, Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy, The Urban Institute
A 2001 survey reported by the BBB Giving Alliance found that: ”…Over half of adult Americans felt that nonprofit organizations should have overhead rates of 20 percent or less; nearly four in five felt that overhead should be held at less than 30 percent. In fact, those surveyed ranked overhead ratio and financial transparency to be more important attributes in determining their willingness to give to an organization than the demonstrated success of the organization’s programs.”
Which would you rather be as an organization – efficient or effective?
“Effectiveness” is how good an organization is at accomplishing its goals, objectives and mission while “efficiency” is how money is spent based on costs expended versus results obtained. The difference between these two issues has been a point of contention within the sector over the last several years and the conversation is far from over.
So, back to the question:
Which would you rather be as an organization – efficient or effective?
In actuality, most organizations would like to be both…but if you could only pick one, wouldn’t you choose to be effective?! This is where the challenge over the last several years has come. The pendulum for many years swung so far to the EFFICIENCY side of the equation that charities haveunder reported their overhead and fundraising costs and under invested in their organizations – especially due to the scrutiny of sector watchdog groups like Charity Navigator, GuideStar and others. This issue pushed the envelope of fundraising efficiency so far that the groups themselves spoke out against their original stance. Check out this letter! http://overheadmyth.com/wp-
On the other side of the issue is the EFFECTIVENESS side. Nonprofit expense advocates like Dan Pallotta believe that it is critical for nonprofits to spend more to get their messages out and their missions accomplished. http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_
The effectiveness vs. efficiency dialogue is healthy as we continue to balance what is the “right” amount to spend on overhead and administration. Too much overhead is undoubtedly wasteful and there are nonprofit organizations who embarrass themselves and the sector by spending inordinate amounts of money on overhead to the point of being a disservice to those they are supposedly “trying to help”. For example, I got a call this week from a paid telemarketer who, after questioning, admitted that 92% of my gift would go to overhead if I gave…This is truly disgusting.
By understanding how effective an organization is in utilizing their resources, we can better understand the dynamics of overhead costs in a given charity. In the words of one emergency room physician to a potential donor, ”Oh, you don’t want to support overhead costs here at the hospital and want all your money to go only to support direct services? Then I will just have to do surgery without electricity or lights or custodial services…I don’t think the surgery will go too well.”
What are your thoughts? How should the sector and/or the government or other entities deal with these issues?
- Erik Daubert
One of Nourish International’s core activities is leadership development. Our leadership programs provide meaningful opportunities for students to gain new skills and experiences in innovative ways and furthermore enables them to use those skills in their future success. The Nourish International runs many different programs that foster leadership development and support Chapters’ success with Ventures, Projects, and general Chapter activities. Through a variety of programs, Nourish students receive opportunities to develop their leadership skills, a chance to network with other leaders, and a platform to take action on issues they are passionate about. Our leadership programs include our Phone Mentorship program, that provides one-on-one coaching and advising; The Summer Institute, our five day leadership conference in Chapel Hill, NC; The Virtual Institute, virtual conference in which Chapters can discuss goals, their impact, and learn from one another’s successes and failures; and Chapter Visits, where Chapters apply to bring the National Office staff to their campus to run workshops, speak at events, and meet with leaders in their campus community.
In the evaluations from our leadership programs during the 12-13 year, we found marked improvement in leadership skills. We saw the largest skill development in the following areas: ability to create a work plan and timeline for tasks, ability to manage a team and delegate duties, and an understanding of Nourish’s values and how to promote these values at their Ventures. Furthermore, 97% of Chapter Leaders said that their “experience with Nourish has better prepared them for their future career.”
Promoting student leadership development not only furthers Nourish International’s impact today, through effective Ventures and Projects, but also furthers Nourish’s long term impact, as students gain valuable and practical skills and experiences that help them tackle the challenges we face as a society. When you Invest in our Future you are bridging the global leadership gap: Your gift provides leadership training, business coaching, and transformative international experiences so that our students become seasoned change-makers and global leaders. Additionally, you are training the next generation of change makers: Your gift enables us to expand to 15 new campuses and add over 200 students to our program.
Consider making a gift today to help us raise $125,000 by June 30, 2014 to continue our remarkable growth path and leverage more impact on students and communities.
We are excited to announce the Bridge Scholar Class of 2014! These students were selected among a highly competitive group of applicants to receive scholarships to participate in sustainable international development projects this summer. We know they will have an incredible impact in the fight against extreme poverty. Without further ado, here are this year’s recipients:
I am a 4th year student at The Ohio State University, majoring in Industrial Systems Engineering. I joined Nourish International last year and am now serving as the Human Relations Chair. I was born and raised in Columbus Ohio, to a family of Ohio State graduates, basically born and bred to be a Buckeye.
My family is originally from the country of Bangladesh, which plays a huge role in my involvement in Nourish. Bangladesh is developing third world country; I have many family members who still reside over there.
As a college student I was fortunate to meet a group of students who wanted to help eliminate extreme poverty through sustainable development. Students from various backgrounds all had one common goal, so I joined Nourish International to make sure I can make a lasting impact on poverty around the world. Receiving the BridgeScholarship means so much to me, this will allow me to travel to Ecuador helping the local community of Quito by making a sustainable impact. The Bridge Scholars gives me the opportunity to receive a life-changing experience so that I may help people who are less fortunate then I. I am really grateful to be a member of the 2014 Bridge Scholars class so that I may work abroad to make a lasting impact on the community in Ecuador.
I am a student at the University of Idaho, majoring in International Studies with an emphasis in Global Resources and Development. I am a chapter co-founder and co-leader, and have loved sharing Nourish’s mission and vision. I think that too many college students ignore their ability to create positive change in the world, and I have done my best to show my peers at U of I otherwise.
I am currently putting myself through school, and trying to finance my next year without a full summer of work due to the time I wanted to spend on a Nourish project would have been nearly impossible. The Bridge Scholarship has given me the opportunity to participate in my chapter’s project in Indonesia without the fear of being unable to afford my next year at school. With this scholarship, I will be able to gain firsthand experience and exposure in the world of international nonprofits. I am so excited to be able to directly apply my studies to the real life experience of working on a Nourish project. I am eternally grateful for this opportunity, and I am eager to make the most of it!
I am a junior at UNM double majoring in Biology and Chemistry with a minor in interdisciplinary arts. I am hoping to begin medical school in the fall of 2015 and am applying this June. I work as a tutor for FrogTutoring and also volunteer with a local organization called Heading Home. For fun I like to hike, go to trampoline parks, and watch UNM Rugby games.
Without this scholarship I would be unable to attend a project. I have been wanting to go on a project since my freshman year and haven’t been able to afford it. With this scholarship I am able to go on a project and make a difference. I am unbelievably excited to attend this summer’s project and incredibly grateful that I was awarded Bridge Scholarship.
I am currently a third year Student at The Ohio State University. I am majoring in Social Work and minoring in Nonprofit Management. Growing up in Youngstown, Ohio, with my three younger sisters and my older brother, I never imagined that I would ever get the chance to travel abroad to learn and help others. I decided to major in Social Work early in my college career because I wanted to help families in America overcome poverty. When I joined Nourish International as a sophomore, I discovered that it is possible to impact poverty not only in America but around the world as well. Now I am a co-leader in my chapter, and I take every opportunity I can to learn how I can continue to make a difference throughout my life.
This scholarship means more to me than I could ever express in just a few sentences. Thanks to Nourish I can now travel to Ecuador and work with the community of Quito. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and I know I will take the lessons I learn and apply them throughout my future career as a Social Worker. Traveling abroad to help others was not even a possibility for me until I was awarded this scholarship. Thank you Nourish International! This is just one of the many ways you have changed my life.
Guest Post by Jared Staley, OSU Chapter Member, Co-Chair of Student Advisory Board and Student Board Member
In the fall of 2011, I began my time with Nourish International at The Ohio State University. Little did I know, this organization would light a fire inside of me and lead me down an incredible path. Nourish excited me because of its close community of leaders and the ability to really see how one individual can have a strong and lasting impact. Nourish International has helped me, as it has many other students, grow into a caring and compassionate leader. I began my time with Nourish as a general body member, and later took on the Marketing, Co-Leader, and Outreach positions within my Chapter. Today, I work with Nourish on a movement scale as Co-Chair of the Student Advisory Board and Student Board Member with the Board of Directors. The opportunities that Nourish provides students to develop as a true leader are endless.
Nourish International abled me to develop my leadership abilities unlike any other organization. From day one, I was made to feel like someone who had something to offer to the group. I was made to feel important. As I began to take on more leadership, I had my predecessors to look to. The leaders that came before me were honest, caring, supportive, and above all passionate. Nourish has taught me that to be a leader is to be a motivator. You are not required to have all the right answers nor all of the questions. To be a successful leader you have to be open to your peers. Nourish has taught me that leadership isn’t a place of power but a place of belief, love, and drive. As a leader, you need to have belief in your abilities, your peers’ abilities, and a collective mission. A Nourish Leader values the success of a collective, rather than the success of the singular.
Every member in Nourish International is a leader. We are a community of leaders that is constantly holding each other to higher standards, asking each other to be and do better. A Nourish Leader is a person who is able to see the abilities in others. They are able to take someone higher and bring out the leader in everyone. It’s that kind of community that makes the greatest of leaders.
- Jared Staley
Announcing the 2014 Spring Campaign: Help us raise $125,000 by June 30th to grow the Nourish Network
Invest in our Future
Announcing our 2014 Expansion Campaign
Help us raise $125,000 by June 30, 2014 to continue our remarkable growth path and leverage more impact on students and communities.
The Impact of Your Support
Training the next generation of change makers: Your gift enables us to expand to 15 new campuses and add over 200 students to our program.
Bridging the global leadership gap: Your gift provides leadership training, business coaching, and transformative international experiences so that our students become seasoned change-makers and global leaders.
Using business as a tool for change: Your gift supplies our student entrepreneurs with seed capital to turn $1 into $5 through their social Ventures.
Making a lasting impact on communities in poverty: Your gift supports hundreds of our students in implementing 27 poverty reduction projects in 11 countries during summer 2014.
Goal by June 30, 2014:
Raised to Date:
Nourish International Virtual Institute convenes over 180 student social entrepreneurs from 24 college campuses to enact social change.
On January 25, 2014 from 12 pm- 6 pm, Nourish hosted its second annual virtual conference with 24 college Chapters of the Nourish International Network entirely online.
The Virtual Institute is an opportunity for students across the Nourish network to come together, connect with each other, learn from each other and participate in valuable workshops to further our impact on extreme poverty and on student leaders. The Virtual Institute is a unique conference program in the field of student led social entrepreneurship and international development. This aspect of Nourish International’s virtual mentorship builds a stronger movement
The 2014 Virtual Institute was a huge success. In a survey sent out to participants, 95% of respondents said that after the Virtual Institute they felt connected to and supported by others seeking to change the world. Additionally, 86% of respondents said the Virtual Institute helped to prepare them to run sustainable and responsible development projects, and 77% of respondents said the Institute helped prepare them to run ethical and profitable ventures. Based on our research, there are no other student organizations in our field that are running a Virtual Institute. This is an innovative idea that is helping to further student leaders across the country.
Nourish is thrilled to be on the front line of innovations in virtual organizing and virtual training. To support Nourish’s high impact virtual programs, like the Virtual Institute, you can donate here.
Why Entrepreneurial Education and Virtual Training for Student Entrepreneurs
- Entrepreneurial education is crucial to preparing the leaders of tomorrow.
- Gallup studies show seven out of 10 high school students want to start their own companies.
- According to the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, in 1970 only 16 business schools in the U.S. offered entrepreneurship classes. Driven by the desires of today’s young talent, today more than 2,000 colleges and universities offer entrepreneurship courses.
- There is a need for entrepreneurial education. Universities are responding by adding more classes, but classes only go so far.
- Nourish gives students the opportunity to take their classroom lessons out in the real world and get the hands-on experience.
- As of February 2013, 43 states had cut their budgets for higher education.
- As universities continue to cut their funding, programs like Nourish become more crucial so that our students learn the skills they need.
 McCarty, Christine “First Online Community to Connect Start-ups and Interns Launches Pilot Program in California” May 14, 2010. YouTern. http://www.youtern.com/cm/press_release
 Johnson, Nicolas, Phil Oliff and Erica Williams “An Update on State Budget Cuts” Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. February 9, 2011. <http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=1214>