Stakeholder Abandonment in the Nonprofit Sector—Proceed at your Own Risk

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I am including here a great article “The Voice from Outside: Stakeholder Resistance in Nonprofit Organizations” from our SPECIAL DOUBLE ISSUE of the Nonprofit Quarterly, which is now at the printers. The article is written by Sean Buchanan and Pat Bradshaw, who writes a lot about the face of governance as if it actually matters. And by “the face of governance”,  I mean—who is included and excluded from the realms of important decision making in nonprofits.

In this case the article addresses a relatively new dynamic in a growing number of social media campaigns that challenge a key decision made by a nonprofit.

I have made it my business over the past year to cover stories where a nonprofit’s stakeholders have publicly taken the organization to task. This usually happens, of course, after the organization effectively abandons its stakeholders by dis-including them from dialogue about where the organization is headed.

Fortunately or unfortunately, social media provides some easily deployable venues for this kind of accountability challenge and we have seen over the past few years many good examples of staff or donors, disenfranchised board members or constituents, calling out a nonprofit on Facebook. I personally think that the opportunity for stakeholders to do such stuff is a good thing. It provides a little self-interest to what should already be strong motivation for the leadership of nonprofits to take a more inclusive stance.

We’d love to know what you think of the article and encourage you to contribute your own stories to the mix.

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