07/11/2013 01:26 pm ET

We Just Don't Have The Money And Other Fibs Nonprofits Tell Themselves


Whenever I hear nonprofit executives say they cannot build capacity or make investments necessary for long-term sustainability because they “just don’t have the money,” I know they are not really telling the truth, even though they think they are.

What they are really saying is, “We don’t want to use the money that we do have” to make that investment because it is already allocated for important program costs.”

That’s very different from not having the money, and it gets to the heart of why nonprofits struggle to solve problems at the scale that they exist: They suffer a failure of imagination and a crisis of confidence when it comes to investments that won’t pay off until the long term.