Being versus Doing


Click here for an audio version of today’s article.

Is your organization more worried about Being than it is about Doing?

I submitted an audition recently for an audio book that got me thinking about how much time and energy is spent by the nonprofit sector in maintaining operations. It’s the often-discussed issue of being vs. doing.

In my experience, nonprofits spend a lot of time, energy and resources maintaining their operations. They are often called back-office functions. Those things that are required to keep a nonprofit running smoothly and efficiently but that are not (usually) actually related to the mission of the organization:

  • Payroll
  • Data entry
  • Information technology
  • Human resources
  • Legal
  • Marketing

I completely understand that a nonprofit’s enterprise simply can’t function without these things. But when you look at the nonprofit sector in even a modestly sized community (like Manhattan, Kansas) there is a ton of time, energy and money wasted in duplication that could be better spent on solving problems and issues. Why do 25 different organizations each need a bookkeeper? Or HR staff? Or maintenance guy?

My hypothesis: You’re spending more time, energy, and money on “being” a nonprofit than you should.

What do you think?