The author confesses that nonprofit agencies harp on hope. But ?hope is not a strategy?. Bateson makes this candid confession at the outright. Traditional funding sources are drying up. Government funding is tighter. Is it then hoping against hope? But reading the book is bound to fizzle out all despair. Twenty-seven years of toil has steamrolled the author into an optimistic philanthrope exuding gut, grit and gumption. And now he avows to groom his prot?g? with aplomb panache.
Bateson appellates ?program development? as ?exactly how much blood is dripping?? He snazzes up the drab yet pragmatic topic with a volleyball game jargon ? ?improve the ball?. According to it, a player needs to anticipate the ball in such a way that his fellow player next to receive the ball faces the least hassle. In the context of program management too, such an attitude would contribute to the crisis center in ?improving the call means that the next person to interact with the caller??is able to better assist the person?.
Bateson stipulates the norms for spearheading such an organisation. He also elaborates on the inexorable rigmaroles that impinge on a smooth functioning.
?The most common reason why a board is ineffective is because board roles are poorly defined.? And it'squite so, when cogs in the wheel turn out all thumbs. Bateson emphasizes on the roles of governors and supporters to set the ball moving unhindered. He has remedy for inefficacy as well as rescue for ?broken boards? reeling under a discord.
Working in a non-profit organisation? Isn'tit barking up the wrong tree? The author douses all such despairs. About staff'sallegiance to the organization, the author cites numerous poignant instances that itself gets mapped onto a global perspective. Minerva grapples with the homeless services cell. Quirk of fate has it that she has been battling vicissitudes of her own life. Yet she holds on unflinching to this job scoffing the more lucrative job offers. ?One of our core tenets at the crisis center is: Don'tgive up on people; miracles happen every day?..Minerva is a living proof of it.? But the
9/11 catastrophe jolted their boardroom. Two members, James and Melvin of the crisis centre board of trustees had to snap their ties owing to their own calamitous state.
A chapter is devoted to financial management. Donors expect optimal utilisation. Executive director is on the dock to bolster confidence. ?Poor financial management jeopardizes everything that the agency does.? To spell out the crux, Bateson hatches five benchmarks to reflect an agency'sfinancial health. He goes on to underscore two bottom lines which require a tandem functioning??Neither by itself, is sufficient. Striking a balance between them is the essence of good nonprofit management?. To cite regulations and accountability, he pays heed to the stipulations laid down by the National Council of Nonprofit Associations. Fund-raising too finds requisite elaboration with several rules and the theoretical contraption of ?fund-raising software?. Bateson, is skeptic about English charities who send out ads in newspapers. The author prefers a t?te-?-t?te with tentative donors.
The book has snappy and hilarious lingo of punch-lines riveting the reader with anecdotes splurged every here and there. This is a veritable strategy to present insipid ideas as might appear to many readers without a placebo effect. Bateson quashes the morbid idea of exterminating ?society'smost intractable problems??in one full swoop?. He justifies the strategic modus operandi??That is why we take the solace in each individual success or mourn each individual loss. Both are part of our world.? The writer proves his adept handling of traumatic situations. At the same time, the book darts around with the ratiocination of viability of running such an organisation as well as the intricacies of running wheels within wheels.
(Macmillan India Ltd., 2/10 Ansari Road, Daryaganj, New Delhi-110 002.)