To the Editor:
Re "Woeful '95 Leads U.S. Charities to Introspection" (news article, Dec. 10):
I was astounded to read that nonprofit organization leaders are concerned about increased professionalism in the field. Your article suggests that participants at a New York conference questioned the role of professional managers in running nonprofit hospitals and foundations, citing loss of the small volunteer managerial ethic as a problem.
It is not surprising that the nonprofit sector, of which I am a part, is in trouble with thinking like this. Professionalism is what the nonprofit corporate world needs to regain the organizational and spiritual respect of the public.
The nonprofit community and the public must accept that hospitals, educational facilities and social service and arts organizations are big businesses that need to be run efficiently in order to fulfill their societal mission.
The public should not confuse philanthropic scandals with attempts to bring more professional, bottom-line managers into the nonprofit sector: just the opposite, it is the lack of professional, experienced financial and organizational managers that creates a breeding ground for scandal and abuse.
If an individual is intent on taking advantage of an organization, what better opportunity exists than in an organization that is in the dark ages of organizational management and financial accountability?
To maintain its role in American society, the nonprofit community had better accept the managerial principles the rest of the country respects.
This article is reprinted from a letter to the editor that appeared in the New York Times on December 15, 1995.