Despicable You

What’s going on in the non-profit community in Nevada these days? There are just too many tales to ignore how much things are going off the rails at certain organizations these days. From bullies to money issues to, worst of all, negligence in serving the community the organization was created to protect — things are getting really sketchy out there!

What’s going on?!

I’m not going to name any names. In the end, it doesn’t even really matter which organizations I’m talking about. Finger pointing just amplifies the problems and gets us no closer to the solutions. And at the very least, the most important thing is to get down to the truth of the problems that exist and handle them. After all, the most important thing — the very reason why these organizations exist and why so many of us in the community work, volunteer, donate, and support them — is to help the populations who need them!

And there is more than one organization that I know of in Southern Nevada who is neglecting to serve the community. You should be ashamed of yourselves!

In my time as a journalist covering different organizations and now as an activist and organizer, I’ve seen and been around a lot of different organizations. I’ve worked at some. I’ve donated to some. I’ve volunteered. And in the way of full disclosure: I am on the board of the Nevada Coalition Against Sexual Violence and on the advisory and legislative committees of the Nevada Women’s Lobby. But just to be clear, I am writing this on my own and my opinions are my own.

I just feel so frustrated by what is happening at some of the organizations in our community! This work is hard to do and burn-out is high. I don’t fault anyone for that. But if it’s time for you to go, then go and let some fresh blood come in and take over the work. Don’t use your position in petty ways. Don’t mismanage money and hurt the work and those who need the services. And most of all, don’t do things that make the community question the credibility of non-profits as a whole!

Sometimes I wonder how much finances play a role in all this. In my own experience, I’ve done my best activism and organizing when it’s been independent of organizations. And the organizations I find to be most effective often have very little money (if any at all). I know some organizations that really hoard grants to keep them off the table for other groups.  And there are so many stories about groups that misappropriate funds. Does money ruin everything?

I don’t know what the answer is. Certainly, I think people should get paid. I think there are a lot of folks in need out there, especially in this economy. But I can’t help but get pissed off when I see disenfranchised populations getting screwed over because of organizations/people acting in their own interests, their own glory, their own financial gain rather than the work.

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