Letter to Mr. X: Get It Together

rant(In response to an email I recently received)

When I get ready to go before my board with grant recommendations, I bring the ones that I think are the best bet – solid leadership, goals, plans, strategies, evaluation and, yes, even a decent website in this 2.0 age!

Has it ever dawned on you that I can’t make a case – even to myself – for supporting your program if you don’t come correct? I should get the money because I’m on the front lines in the community is NOT a viable nor justifiable rationale! The Give me the money because I know what to do approach doesn’t cut it either. Typos and muddled language do not help. Disregarding the guidelines does not help. Having no website, no financial systems, no org chart, and no strategic or operations plan DOES NOT HELP. And if you don’t know how to do these things – or don’t even know what you need to know – rather than dropping the quite tired excuse of Blaming the System, you betta ask somebody! CompassPoint and the Foundation Center are two of the resources that provide these “best of the basics.” Or even still, ask a program officer to arrange 30 minutes for some coaching or feedback.

Yes, there are a lot of things wrong with the philanthropic sector. I was in a meeting yesterday when the presenter said the word “racism” and I could see some of the other folks recoiling. We have much work to do in this field. But just as we need to step up while working on the inside of this sector, some of you need to tighten up on the outside!

Rant over.  Lawd have mercy, where are my blood pressure pills??