Saturday, 6 May 2017

Are there too many VCS organisations?

OK it's the USA but Aaron Renn hits a chord with me:
When I look around older cities, I frequently see that they’ve got a veritable armada of non-profits. Rarely do I see these making a huge difference in the trajectory of the city.
Try to do anything in a city and you’ll be told to meet with all these “stakeholders”, a large percentage of whom are non-profit leaders who claim to speak in the name of some constituency or cause but too often represent their own personal fief.

Anyone wanting to do things in a city has to run this gauntlet of non-profits and find a way to placate them.
Of course, here in the UK we call them the 'voluntary sector' or 'VCS' or 'Third Sector' but the same applies. There are brilliant organisations out there doing fantastic work but for each one of these there seems to be at least one other best described as a 'grant farmer' - sustaining itself and its staff by chasing grants to 'deliver' projects created and designed by local, regional or national public bodies.

As Renn concludes:
In cities, the Pareto principle likely applies to non-profits as it does everywhere else: the top 20% most effective non-profits deliver 80% of the public benefits.


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