As an Australian recently moved to San Francisco, the U.S. political system is a little new to me, and I do at times catch myself observing the sideshow aspects of the presidential race and the Machiavellian manipulation of the news cycle by candidates like Donald Trump with a little bemusement.
I read a fascinating article in the New York Times Magazine on April 17 that talks about how the candidacy of Mr. Trump in particular is partly due to what’s called the prosperity gospel.
To directly quote, “The preacher is blessed, and you can be, too.
The good news is that faith will be repaid in kind.
The deal – belief in return for relief, belief as a form of relief – is as old as religion, too fundamental to human consciousness to dismiss simply as a con.
Pray for rain, sacrifice to the gods, keep kosher – you needn’t believe to recognize the power of trading devotion for the hope of well-being."
If only it was as easy as, ‘I'm a winner, vote for me and you'll be a winner, too.’
So why am I talking about the appeal of Donald Trump? Because I contrast the Donald Trump model with recent trends and the sophistication increasingly required of nonprofit community sector organizations.
Nonprofit community sector organizations operate in an extremely competitive environment for funding, whether it be from government or other funding organizations, and sometimes clients.
There maybe was a time when a nonprofit community sector organization could definitively state that 'We do good work in this area and with the power of faith and belief, the required funds will flow' to allow the work to continue/happen.
However, every day that becomes less and less the case as both government and funders want to understand how their money is making a difference and why they should fund your organization.
So how can a not-for-profit community sector organization position themselves in this environment?
The first step is arming themselves with high quality data.
Sometimes this can feel at odds with the notion of service provision and focusing on client needs. What is more important?
Both are, of course, important and effective.
Use of both improves service provision, client outcomes and an organization's success in the competitive funding world.
The Penelope case management software system is a purpose-built tool to support nonprofits to efficiently and effectively support service delivery as well as meet macro organization reporting requirements.
Penelope can be a faithful and intelligent tool supporting the organization's day-to-day needs as well as providing strategic inputs into service review and assessment.
Key to achieving these holistic requirements is the well-informed and intelligent design of Penelope for each agency.
While there is some commonality between similar nonprofits, there are often nuances which differentiate.
Solid foundations in how an organization uses Penelope based on organizational requirements, quality design and implementation, and quality training for staff, will position it well for being able to understand and communicate its broader social impact.
Unfortunately, a poorly-designed case management software configuration can have the reverse impact.
Whether a current client or a prospective client considering Penelope, you can channel the wisdom of Athena Software to position your organization well with your funders.
You can create, maintain and evolve solid justification for investing the difference your organization makes to your clients.
So for those of us who can’t tap into the Donald Trump model of appeal, at least evidence-based alternatives are available.