Welcome | Summer 2000

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Welcome to our second national issue of the Nonprofit Quarterly. This issue debuts our new special departments. We have developed this section in response to readers’ requests that we cover topics of constant interest to nonprofit managers: fundraising, governance, financial management and accounting, human resources, advocacy and the spirit of our work. Our coverage of these topics will, of course, focus on the innovative and the provocative. These articles will also be of practical use in your everyday work.

Among the special department offerings in this issue is a radical recipe from Peter Block, challenging the traditional oversight role of the board. We love Peter’s unfailing ability to shake us to our very roots. We also pass along a thoughtful piece on one of our favorite innovative management tenets, truth-telling in the workplace. A recent national survey revealed that 93 percent of all respondents admitted to habitual lying at their place of employment, so this concept (honesty) may also seem quite radical. Nevertheless, Erline Belton considers truth-telling vital to the development of healthy and sustainable organizations. Organizations we know that have actively used truth-telling as a learning tool have found it profoundly transformative. We are also grateful to Thomas Raffa for his article simplifying the basics of the ever more prevalent charitable remainder trust and to Kim Klein for her hilarious piece on the value of preparation in major donor work. Finally, we offer an article on the role of communications technology in advocacy by Sarah DiJulio—read it for an eye-opening view of what is now possible in movement building through use of the Internet.

As for our lead topic, technology, we would not have been able to do justice to this complex issue without the guidance of Internet and technology strategist Marc Osten. We offer a snapshot of the emerging resources developing to aid nonprofits of all sizes and types as they examine the potential uses of technology in pursuing their missions. You will be heartened to know that the volume of technology support efforts appear to be gaining synergy nationwide. Scattered through every article we share the enormously instructive experiences of nonprofits as they’ve adopted more effective uses of technology.

One of the most significant revelations for us was discovering the 60-year old link between mathematician Norbert Wiener’s conception of self-organizing systems (from which learning organization theory largely derives) and today’s advanced information technology. You will want to look to the article, Principles for Creating a Technologically Powerful Nonprofit Sector for more on this.

We are certainly lucky to have others around us to help us along our respective paths and we take this opportunity to make two announcements relative to the Nonprofit Quarterly’s own course. First, we are thrilled to report that the David and Lucile Packard Foundation awarded us a grant of more than $500,000 to support our national expansion over the next three years. We couldn’t be more gratified by their faith in us. Second, we regretfully bid farewell to our founder, the entrepreneurial David Garvey, as he leaves our team for an exciting new position at the University of Connecticut. While these new circumstances represent a considerable challenge, we wish to acknowledge our indebtedness to Dave and to the Packard staff and trustees for setting us on our way.