Ball hopes to stimulate change in the not-for-profit (NFP) sector, organisations, corporations, government and the education system via his new book’s bold and controversial proposals.
He believes many organisations have lost their identity due to the influence of government and the for-profit sector. These influences include the adoption of practices and values of the corporate sector and government regulation and grants. Government grants are seen as contracts that allow governments to regulate organisations by controlling their income and specifying what’s to be done and how. Ball also disagrees with the economic focus of the NFP sector.
“In Australia, there have, over the past ten years, been a number of official enquiries into ‘charities’, ‘not-for-profits’ and the like … My view is that all of these enquiries and initiatives started at the wrong place. All are strongly focused on economies … and how, accordingly, best to regulate [organisations] and which part of government should do so.”
In order to function effectively, Ball believes organisations need to be independent and function “for the common good” of society. He suggests four defining characteristics of truly NFP organisations: voluntary, independent, not for private profit and not self-serving. While these characteristics may seem obvious, Ball expresses concerns about how many organisations fall short of them.
In an attempt to resurrect the sector, Ball proposes that:
Ball’s proposals are based on more than 40 years of experience in the NFP sector and in government, including leading the Commonwealth Foundation, which supports the non-profit sector across 54 countries.
Whether you agree with Ball’s proposals or dispute them, they certainly raise many valid points of debate.
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