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Some non-profits do close down. Remember, NPs can be charities, foundations, professional societies and a lot more: http://www.irs.gov/charities/content/0,,id=96931,00.html. There are more non-profits than there are corporations, if for no other reason than to give politicians a place to hide their funds raised and to keep their re-election campaign leaders employed between campaigns.

The ancient Office Managers Association morphed into the Administrative Management Society which finally self-destructed through reckless spending and dissolved around the late 1980s. As right-sizing and re-engineering pared organizational levels, the formerly substantial role of the middle manager in the American business pyramid virtually disappeared and membership dwindled until insufficient to support their expenses. Three past board members kept the AMS Foundation alive as a certification authority for the Certified Professional Manager credential and struggled to maintain its annual survey until it also disappeared (I think) fairly recently.

The National Secretaries Association transitioned from NSA to Professional Secretaries International until finally throwing off the burkha of "secretary"-hood to now thrive as the Intnl. Assoc. of Administrative Professionals.

Those are professional societies rather than charities, which tend to continue for the enrichment of their employees, suppliers and vendors despite having negligable public service value. Anyone who gets those annoyingly phony boiler-room scripted calls from "State Police Charity Support" outfits who pocket 99% of their income and give the minimum possible to a legitimate cause knows what I mean. Trouble is, there are only 17 IRS agents assigned to police abuses at charities in the entire nation.

Thus, charities are the hidden purse for power brokers. Abuses committed at non-profits are virtually immune from detection, they operate outside market economic forces, suffer few legal controls and are extremely useful to their sponsors. Those who run "Fix Problem Y" charities are unlikely to behave like Cinncinatus.


Good information and fair commentary. I don't mean to imply that this is an across-the-board issue or has "global" relevancy, but I do think it is one more consideration for us to keep in mind, particularly as we work with executive rewards in the nonprofit arena.

And - to your point - rewards can only follow and support good governance, not surplant them.

A happy new year to all your blog readers! Here's to a great 2011.

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    Compensation consultant Ann Bares is the Managing Partner of Altura Consulting Group. Ann has more than 20 years of experience consulting with organizations in the areas of compensation and performance management.

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