Leading Non-Profits from the Heart, Not the Balance Sheet

Baby boomers, Gen Xers, and now Millennials heed the call to seek meaning in our lives. “Make a difference” is the hope. The entry fee seems low. Just teach the skills from business, and make non-profits grow.

Migrants from for-profits – especially those from financial services, hedge funds, private equity – say it’s numbers that should matter. Measure your impact, count those dollars and cents. Balance your sheets and cover that bottom line.

I wonder whether those numbers will:

  • Teach a child to read?
  • Glean potatoes from the field and fill the empty belly?
  • Heal illness and end disease?
  • Give a home to a family and love the abandoned infant?

Finserv folks seek to save their souls bring their balance sheet to rights but what is really shifting here? The person or the field?

A battle rages for the soul of charity, it’s profit versus love. Balance sheets are reassuring to the brain. But wise spending does not occasion giving.

Giving is from the heart and for a sense of community.

Can a number awaken generosity of spirit? What do we lose in pursuit of profit in a not-for-profit realm?

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