Monday, April 11, 2005

Organization Executives Need Training

My bias that all nonprofit executives and board members need training specific to the sector was reinforced as I read through the reports submitted to the Senate Finance Committee looking at changes to nonprofit law. I'll provide tidbits from them in future posts and will go into depth on some proposals from the point of view of a nonprofit board member or executive director.

There are some great ideas out there for improving the sector. Leon Panetta correctly pointed out that there are plenty of laws currently on the books that aren't even enforced. So, putting more out there will be meaningless without more enforcement and training. There are a lot of well-meaning staff and volunteers out there who just badly need training. The few truly bad actors should be rooted out by increasing the number of IRS staff for this purpose.

Panetta also suggests all nonprofits become "accredited", but I see this as an idealistic and impractical eventuality. I think the feds should give grants to the state attorney generals to help them develop their own nonprofit training programs. Oregon's attorney general barely keeps up with the massive nonprofit fraud cases and has no budget for other hair-raising problems out there that may not be technically "illegal". Foundations, educational institutions and industry experts should team up with the states to match the Federal grants and to ensure program quality.

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