The NANOE Declaration
by Louis Fawcett, CNE, CDE, CNC
“When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the
political bands which have connected them with another…”
— The Declaration of the Thirteen Colonies of the United States — Thomas Jefferson
The NANOE Declaration – In order to form a more perfect union of nonprofit organizations and executives, National Association of Nonprofit Organizations & Executives (NANOE) has established New Guidelines for Nonprofits. These new guidelines serve as our road map to prosperity in the charity sector. They are our NANOE Declaration.
NANOE is rethinking what it means to be a nonprofit. NANOE is reforming the basic tenants of the sector according to what works, not what has been passed down to us from elites. NANOE is re-imagining philanthropy to put the needs of donors ahead of the needs of organizations. Today, we declare our independence from the failed practices, methods, policies and procedures of the nonprofit establishment. Why? To change and save more lives.
Here is what we know to be true:
What was successful for nonprofits fifty years ago no longer succeeds today. Nonprofit executives are working hard today to pay for yesterday’s bills. We are still writing newsletters, sending out holiday mailers, organizing golf tournaments and booking bands for galas while at the same time cutting expenses, asking local businesses for free goods and services, and calling in every favor in hopes of somehow making the budget work for another year. With over 1.5 million nonprofits in the United States, resources are stretched, services are repeated and staff members are weary. We capture the idealism and young energy of college graduates for a few months only to lose their talents to the for-profit sector because we refuse to change. We are bottom feeding on talent and focusing on program service delivery rather than developing
entrepreneurial leaders and focusing on revenue growth.
In fact, in 2017, 70% of nonprofit executives did not receive a salary increase. This should come as no surprise. In the nonprofit sector, when we hire new staff, the first thing we say is, “well you know, we’re a charity, so we can’t pay you very much.” Then we ask new staff members to work fifty to sixty hours a week without benefits and we wonder why they quit after eighteen months.
When small and medium charities bring their concerns to the nonprofit establishment, they hear the same old tired advice:
(and please, don’t do any of these things if you hope to succeed)
• Recruit better board members
• Train your board
• Get your board to do fundraising
• Sign up for a webinar
• Purchase expensive donor data tracking software
• Send your staff to a grant writing conference
• Put together a planned giving brochure
• Build a stronger social media presence
None of these things work. Instead of getting solutions, you get a road map to frustration. Through it all, you receive the implicit imperative: If you want to serve the poor and hungry, you need to be poor and hungry as well. Here’s the good news: nonprofits need only comply with state and federal laws regarding the sector. Nonprofits have no responsibility to follow the standards established by elites attempting to maintain power while promoting ideas from the 1960s.
NANOE is an American movement born out of American freedom. When the United States was formed, the colonists sought to exercise their freedom in order to survive and thrive in the new world. Yet, as the thirteen colonies grew in population, organization and wealth, more and more taxes and laws from the Crown were imposed without allowing the colonies to be represented in parliament. More than 7000 patriots organized the “Committees of Correspondence” to work on the local level to oppose and defy British laws limiting freedom and prosperity. Leaders like Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Samuel Adams and James Madison emerged to take on the heavy work of forming a new nation. In the same spirit, NANOE has taken on the work of transforming the nonprofit sector.
While we have heard the history lessons over and over again, we tend to overlook the fear and trepidation the founders must have felt. Forming a new nation and breaking away from the British Empire was no small thing and their declaration of independence was full of risk for their lives and their futures. Yet, the founders had a vision for a new nation based on life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
NANOE is seeking freedom from the past and forging a new future. What is at stake? The impact the nonprofit sector makes on millions of people every year. This is about transforming the lives of children and families. Instead of recycling and repackaging the same techniques we have heard about for fifty years, a new approach to nonprofit leadership is needed. NANOE is about significant impact. NANOE is about changed and saved lives. NANOE is about supporting, encouraging and prospering nonprofit executives.
Here’s how we do it:
1. We connect philanthropists, funders and academics to people that transform their worlds;
2. We create platforms, programs and tools that supercharge financial capacity building;
3. We form economic impact engines infusing capital into charities to guarantee mission success;
4. We confront intellectual dishonesty using mass communication to dispel myths and disseminate truth;
5. We disrupt industry associations, organizations and media outlets whose activities injure nonprofits;
6. We build personal relationships with leaders that strengthen them and meet their needs;
7. We establish compensation standards that safeguard the financial success of those employed in our sector;
8. We credential executives in advanced management models, capacity-building and consulting;
9. We research and report on scale, sustainability and significant impact;
10. We host forums, conferences and events on scale, sustainability and significant impact.
Some may say, “what’s the big deal? Are things really so bad that we need to form a new organization?” Here is our answer: In no other aspect of our lives would we accept stagnation. No business would operate for fifty years without growth and expansion. No family would prosper over three generations from income that doesn’t flourish. If we do not accept stagnation in our personal or business lives, then why do we accept it in the nonprofit sector? If we are going to change and save more lives, there is only one thing in this world that will facilitate heroic missions of scale: money. If we are going to establish a revenue growth
mindset for the purpose of growing impact, we need to make drastic changes.
We are not looking for a war, but we are calling for a revolution.
The NANOE Declaration was written by Reverend Louis Fawcett, who holds a BA from Randolph-Macon College and two Master Degrees from Wake Forest University and Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary. He was privileged to Pastor three Lutheran congregations in Florida, North Carolina and South Carolina. His service to the charitable sector began with his work at Christian World Foundation where he raised support for orphans in China, Russia and Ethiopia. During the 2008 recession, Louis led a successful campaign to build a children’s home in Ethiopia. Following the 2010 earthquake, Louis transitioned to Haiti Children, a charity serving destitute families and children in that island nation. In 2013, Louis accepted the position of Senior Vice President of Principal Gifts at EdVenture Children’s Museum where he forged collaborations with under-resourced communities throughout South Carolina. He has served Central South Carolina Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) for seven years as both board member and president. He was honored in 2016 as AFP’s Outstanding Fundraising Professional.
National Association of Nonprofit Organizations & Executives (NANOE) is a nationwide network of donors, volunteers and charitable leaders whose relentless commitment to significant and sustainable impact transforms the communities we serve. NANOE members are innovators who solve problems (not just service them) by deploying heroic missions of scale that confront social and environmental dilemmas so completely that money chases after their every need.