What do you call a disaster relief organization that can’t seem to escape their own internal disasters? (If only this were radio, Caller #9 would win the prize!)
My favorite charity watchdog, Renata Rafferty, IM’d me this afternoon. If one can detect breathlessness in an IM, hers was absolutely panting. “Did you see the New York Times?”
According to the Times, the American Red Cross is preparing to cut as much as 1/3 of their headquarters staff – up to 1,000 people – due to fundraising shortfalls.
An anonymous staffer is quoted as follows: “Look, this restructuring is needed. It can be a good thing if they cut the right things, like some of the internal support functions, and focus what’s left on providing services.”
Is any of this a surprise? Unless and until the American Red Cross can focus on the only thing that matters – providing results to our communities in the long term and the short term – they will have fundraising problems and turnover problems and governance problems and FDA fines and “inappropriate relationship scandals” and who knows what else.
And unfortunately, as they continue to do, they will try to treat each of those symptoms, rather than aiming at the elephant in the room – the fact that they have no vision for what they will accomplish for our communities (and from that, no plan for accomplishing it), and no core of values guiding their decisions.
This is one of those times I wish I didn’t have to say, “I told you so.” But I told you so.
To avoid the Red Cross’s disasters, you can start with 11 Ways Your Organization Can Focus on Vision and Values.