Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Challenges of Innovation at Nation’s Nonprofits

A new Johns Hopkins University survey has revealed widespread innovation among the nation’s nonprofits, as well as efforts by those organizations to measure their programs’ effectiveness. You can download the full report here.

One statement from this report says

Although innovation is widespread within the nonprofit sector, more than two-thirds of responding organizations also reported having at least one innovation in the past two years that they wanted to adopt but were unable to. The vast majority of respondents (86 percent) attributed their inability to adopt a proposed innovation to a lack of funding. Other key barriers included the inability to move promising innovations to scale due to lack of “growth capital” (74 percent), narrow governmental funding streams (70 percent), and a tendency among foundations to encourage innovations but then not sustain support for them (69 percent).

Lack of funding. Lack of "growth capital".

As I read these reports, I'm constantly looking for ways to INNOVATE strategies that connect the non profits, donors and researchers so we're talking about how we can overcome these challenges and make more and better volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs available to youth living in inner city or rural poverty.

Come to the Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking Conference on May 27 and 28 and connect your ideas to those of the other people who will attend. Come to the on-line Tutor/Mentor Connection if you cannot come to the conference.

To paraphrase an old saying "It's hard to innovate when you're up to your neck in alligators." If we don't make more general operating dollars available to pay rent and hire and retain motivated people, we'll never build the human capital that it takes to innovate new solutions, then sustain those innovations for the many years it takes to have an impact.

You can donate to Cabrini Connections, Tutor/Mentor Connection here if you want to help us with this problem.

No comments: