Welcome to Winter 2007

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The cover image of this Winter edition of the Nonprofit Quarterly is a little dark and stark, as befits the winter solstice before we light the lights and candles to cheer us. NPQ hopes you are safe and warm, but it wants to contribute its own bright moment to those who work in the nonprofit sector with a landmark study that indicates that nonprofit leaders out-perform business leaders. This study, conducted by Community Resource Exchange and Performance Programs Inc. compares the results of the 360-degree evaluations of the two groups, finding that, while nonprofit leaders rated themselves approximately on par with how business leaders rated themselves, peers, superiors, and direct reports actually rated nonprofit leaders higher than those of for-profit leaders in 14 out of 17 categories.

This comes as no surprise to the NPQ editors who understand the challenges of the role, and we were glad to find that it came as no surprise to Jim Collins, world-renowned author of the classic management books, Built to Last and Good to Great. He explains why nonprofit leaders may be perceived as more capable by those with whom they work.

We depend on you, our readers, to share this study with your community and to encourage them to see what we see in you.

This issue also contains pieces focused on some of the less-attractive aspects of our sector, but ones you need to know about. Jeanne Bell of CompassPoint Nonprofit Services discusses nonprofit spin—where nonprofits convince themselves and others, of things that are untrue; thereby weakening themselves. A fact-based article from Janet Greenlee, Mary Fischer, Teresa Gordon, and Elizabeth Keating on how nonprofit fraud occurs and who commits it in nonprofit settings is a must read for managers and board members as is the article, contributed by Scott Harshbarger, former attorney general of Massachusetts and co-author Amy Crafts, on the inadequacy of whistle-blower policies both to protect well-meaning whistle-blowers and to encourage timely identification of problems in your organizations.

NPQ national correspondent Rick Cohen provides readers with an insightful article on the community impact strategy at the United Way. As we have said before, you are what you eat, and that goes for funding as well. In that same vein, Chao Guo’s article suggests that government funding weakens boards and makes them less representative of their communities. He does, however, provide guidance as to what organizations can do to temper that effect.

Finally, it is with deep gratitude and very best wishes that we are parted from our intrepid advertising director this season. Tom Loughran has been part of NPQ’s solid staff team for quite some time, and we will sorely miss his presence and influence as he moves to his next job.
We hope our offerings to you are welcome and useful. Turn on your lamp, settle in and enjoy!