Call me a contrarian. I read this just the other day about writing on the web:
Blogging?—? I mean, honey, don’t even say the word. No one actually blogs anymore, except maybe undergrads on their first week of study abroad.
Well, I’m starting a new blog.
The blog is called Nonprofit Chronicles, and it will explore a question that I’ve been thinking about a lot lately: How are nonprofits performing?
It’s a question may have occurred to you when you donate money to charities.
It’s an important question. Nonprofit aim to alleviate poverty, save the environment, cure disease, educate people, promote social justice and protect human rights. In the US, the nonprofit sector accounts for about $2 trillion in economy activity and employs nearly 10 percent of the workforce. There are about 1.1 million nonprofits in the US, and another 80,000 foundations.
It’s also an exceptionally difficult question to answer. Measuring the impact of a nonprofit is much harder than gauging the success of a business. Happily, a lot of smart people in the world of foundations and NGOs are working hard to develop answers. I’ll going to begin my exploration by writing about some of them.
Over time, I’ll broaden the focus on Nonprofit Chronicles to examine the best and worst nonprofits. What difference do they make? How do they set goals and measure success? How transparent are they? What have they learned from their mistakes?
Nonprofits are everybody’s business because they depend on US tax policy for their support; donations to charities are tax deductible. The Center for American Progress estimated in 2011 that the tax break would cost the US Treasury $315 billion over five years. Like tax deductions for mortgage interest and college-savings accounts, the charitable tax deduction disproportionately benefits those who are relatively wealthy–and their favorite causes.
For all these reasons, I’m certain that nonprofits deserve more journalistic attention.
I’m excited about this new venture, but I’m not quitting my day job. I’ll continue to write about the social and environmental impact of business as editor-at-large of Guardian Sustainable Business US and here at marcgunther.com. Meantime, I hope you join me at Nonprofit Chronicles.
P.S. Just in case it’s true that no one reads blogs anymore, I’ll be posting my writings about nonprofits on my page at Medium. Medium is a simple and beautiful platform for story-telling on the web that was created in 2012 by Ev Williams and Biz Stone, the founders of Twitter.