Daily Buzz: Risk Factors for a Starvation Cycle

If programs receive most of a nonprofit’s budget, other essential departments are at risk of a starvation cycle, a new report finds. Also: Without value, your podcast is a dud.

Nonprofit programming is often the life force of the organization, and as such it tends to receive most of the budget. In fact, 72 percent of organizations allocate 80 to 100 percent of spending to program-related activities, according to the 2019 Nonprofit Standards report [PDF].

Sure, devoting most or all of your nonprofit’s budget to programs can further its mission and improve engagement, but it can also leave your organization vulnerable to a starvation cycle, “a phenomenon that occurs when an organization chronically underfunds vital infrastructure like technology and employee training,” says the report.

Another key finding: About 1 in 4 organizations said disconnection from their mission was a high or moderate employee satisfaction issue.

“This may be of even more importance when an organization is financially strapped—more than a third of organizations that experienced net loss in revenue last year rank disconnect from the mission as a high to moderate challenge, compared to 21 percent of those with net income,” the report says. “It’s clear that nonprofit employees value both the financial and social aspects of nonprofit work; savvy organizations will need to effectively address this both to gain and keep top talent.”

Create a quality podcast

The rise in podcast listening does not a successful podcast make. And as more brands join the airwaves, organizations have to balance marketing goals with creating authentic content.

“When it comes to brand publishing, we don’t typically have a quantity problem. The issue is a struggle to invest in long-term quality and value creation,” writes Mark Jones.

To make your podcast worth listeners’ time, and to keep them coming back for the next episode, Jones suggests tailoring content to them rather than to organizational goals.

“What does quality sound like to them? Double down on great insights, entertainment, and adding real value,” he says. “Then, when you’ve found the magic formula, it should become obvious why you’re a rare commodity in a sea of mediocrity.”

Other Links of Note

Member onboarding is one thing, but getting new employees up to speed is a separate task. The MemberClicks blog shares how to properly onboard staff members.

Feeling like a failure? JP Moery outlines nine takeaways from such learning moments.

Going back to work after vacation can be rough. Forbes reveals what post-break dread might say about your career.

(AtnoYdur/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Jeff Hsin

By Jeff Hsin


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