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Nonprofits vs. Know-it-All Consultants

In May 2003, writing in the Harvard Business Review (the report is available for a fee, but an abstract can be found on McKinsey & Co.’s site), former NBA star, U.S. Senator, and sometime presidential candidate Bill Bradley, along with McKinsey’s Paul Jansen and Les Silverman collaborated on an article titled “The Non-Profit Sector’s $100 Billion Opportunity.” In this, they write:

…nonprofits could save roughly $25 billion a year by changing the way they raise funds. By distributing funds more quickly, they could contribute an extra $30 billion to social causes. Organizations could generate more than $60 billion a year by streamlining and restructuring the way in which they provide services and by reducing administrative costs. And they could free up even more money – an amount impossible to estimate – by better allocating funds among service providers.

The paper, understandably, rankled those who toil in the non-profit sector.

Now, “Phil Anthrop,” writing in The Nonprofit quarterly fires back with a searing parody of this “helpful” paper, suggesting that all nonprofits be merged and transmogrified into “five theme-based meta organizations for each state and the District of Columbia,” including Arts-Mart, Health-Mart, Human-Mart, Work-Mart, and Misc-Mart, which would be a “regional repository for the rich variety of all other environmental, religious, education, international, community improvement or hopeless-cause nonprofit.”

Nonprofits 1, Know-it-All Consultants 0

McKinsey may have the sure hands and quick on-court footwork of Bill Bradley, but the nonprofits apparently have Jonathan Swift.

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