6 Ways Your Nonprofit Might Be Too Much Like an Airport

A recent post from Seth Godin’s blog outlining the peculiar business flaws of airports is golden.

Nonprofit organizations can learn much by example from other organizations who do things well–or those who do things poorly.

For example, with just a slight change of words, here’s a section of Godin’s post directed toward stagnant nonprofit organizations:

1. No one is in charge. The nonprofit doesn’t appear to have an Executive Director, and if it does, you never see her, hear about her or interact with her in any way. When the person at the top doesn’t care, it filters down.

2. The mission is aimed squarely at the (disappearing) middle of the market. It doesn’t know who its true donors are, the ones who really care.

3. Like airports, nonprofits see donors as powerless transients. Hey, donors might stop giving tomorrow, but the organization will still be here.

4. Nonprofits are ruled by superstition, not fact. They act without data and put on a quite serious but ultimately useless bit of theater. Ten years later, the theater risks becoming an entrenched status quo, one that gets ever worse.

5. Everyone is treated the same. Effective organizations treat different people differently. While there’s some window dressing at the edges, in general, nonprofits insist that the one ask they’ve chosen to offer fits all.

6. No one is having any fun. Most people who work at nonprofits have precisely the same demeanor as people who work at a cemetery. The system has become industrialized, meaning personal expression is apparently forbidden.

Obviously, each nonprofit’s mileage varies as far as how applicable these faults are, and the language is so harsh because it’s directed at an even more stagnant, entrenched industry (airports).

But isn’t it helpful to see where your nonprofit might be drifting–and where many organizations will drift to if they don’t innovate, personalize, and just plain old care?

Read more at Seth’s Blog, linked below:

10 Things Organizations Can Learn From Airports [Seth Godin’s Blog]


Marc Koenig

Marc Koenig is a regular contributor of Nonprofit Hub. Marc believes smart, ethical marketing can make the world a better place, and strives to create content that helps nonprofits tell better stories, push their organizations to excel and do work that matters. You'll find him writing Nonprofit Hub featured posts, brainstorming infographics and tweeting up a storm at @npmarc - follow him and say hi!

January 28, 2013

You May Also Enjoy

Become a Member

Whether you’re with a large team or a solo entrepreneur looking to start the next great cause, we have a membership package that will help you grow your network and your cause.