Man, do we have the deal of the century for you. This year at our Annual Conference we’re bringing you a man of many talents. An outstanding speaker, author and community leader, we’re thrilled to have Robert Egger join us as our keynote speaker. We hope you’ll help welcome him to Columbia!
Begging For Change—The Dollars and Sense of Making Nonprofits Responsive, Efficient and Rewarding for All
By Robert Egger
Robert Egger is President of Washington D.C. based D.C. Central Kitchen, and has been described as a straight talking futurist in the non-profit world, speaking throughout the county on the need to restore the purpose of nonprofits. He will challenge you, and make you examine the lack of logic, the duplication, waste, and ineffectiveness in the non-profit sector. In 2004 when the book was released, Robert stated “We’ve reached a point where we’ve got two million nonprofits slugging it out with one another for a skeptical donor pool.” He also made a startling assertion that there are too many nonprofits. “If there were a quarter less nonprofits, we’d be a stronger, more vital sector.” He also implores nonprofits to Stop focusing on “raising more money”. Focus on raising more “IMPACT!”
“…Over the last 50 years, the structure of nonprofit has evolved for optimum SURVIVAL, not optimum RESULTS.” “It’s no longer about dollars raised, or percentage of money that goes to causes. It’s about effectiveness and results…but it’s also about fewer programs getting more of the money.”
Robert also asserts (in 2004) that not one city in American has any concept of how much collectively is being spent on charity. “Everyone’s been giving money away, with the best of intentions, but with zero communication. There’s no strategy, no shared common goals.”
Now, fast forward to 2012. Are we in the nonprofit community any better today than 10 years ago? With so many nonprofits struggling and fighting for survival, do we have too many nonprofits? We are seeing many newly retired baby boomers wanting to start non-profits! Many of these same boomers who have been caught in the worst economic decline since the Great Depression have become members of the new poor.
Robert’s approach at D.C. Kitchen is to teach those who were the down and out in Washington D.C. employable skills in the hospitality/(food service sector) and able to rejoin the workforce, paying taxes, and going off the welfare or unemployment roles. D.C. Kitchens is one of the nation’s leading social enterprise organizations with total revenue in 2010 of over $8 million, converting left over food into 1.8 million meals prepared and delivered to over 88 agencies and saving these non-profits nearly $5 million in expenses. They graduated 92 individuals from the Culinary Job Training program, with 90% of those graduates becoming fully employed after graduation. The graduates earned $2.3 million in annual salaries, and contributed $285,000 in payroll taxes back to their community last year.
Robert sees the Millennials as the generation to restore the purpose of nonprofits. D.C. Central Kitchen’s national program—student powered hunger relief on 28 college campus has 5,200 student volunteers serving 265,000 meals from college campus leftovers to support 28 communities in 19 states.
I had the good fortune of meeting Robert in Atlanta in 2004, and corresponding with him for several months about his philosophy and accomplishments. Read his book and visit the D.C. Central Kitchen website to learn more. Non-profits and those in SCANPO can strengthen our state’s nonprofit community if we consider and put into practice his recommendations.
Dec. 20, 2011
Gerald (Jerry) Sweitzer is founder and principal of Non-Profit Success. He provides capacity building consulting to nonprofit organizations. Mr. Sweitzer served over 20 years as Business Manager of several Ga. nonprofit organizations. He served as a board member for two metro Atlanta nonprofit organizations, and has been a national trainer for Habitat for Humanity.
His civic activities include past Chairman of the Pickens County Vision 2025, board member of the Pickens County United Way, and the United Way Association of S.C. He’s also served on the board of Ten At The Top, the Upstate region visioning organization. He is a an approved consultant with the South Carolina Association of Nonprofits, and the Social Enterprise Alliance.
Gerald received an MBA from Georgia State University, and completed executive programs at both Dartmouth College, and the Candler School of Theology at Emory University.