Do You Have Nonprofit Navel-Gazing Syndrome?

Writing in the Stanford Social Innovation Review, Jeff Brooks asks us…

Does your newsletter (and/or website) contain any of the following?

  • News about back-office staff.
  • Photo of well-heeled donor presenting a giant check to your organization.
  • Photos of people standing around (possibly holding wine glasses) at your fundraising event.
  • Articles whose sole purpose is to educate donors.

If you answered yes to any of these, your organization may suffer from Nonprofit Navel-Gazing Syndrome (NPNGS). This condition causes nonprofits to believe that their own understanding of the world must be shared by others—especially donors. This leads to a lack of respect for donors who “don’t get it.” This elitist attitude prevents effective fundraising.

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We do not necessarily agree with Jeff and as you can see, the comments go both ways. But, his post should give you cause to continually review your own marketing materials, always keeping in mind your organizations’ goals and audience.