Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Recession: Here We Go Again

At noon today, the Dow Jones had fallen another 172 points and is now below 11,800. Washington won't use the "R" word -- but we're in one, for sure. Over a long career I've been through fire, flood, plague, high hem lines, low hem lines, depression, recession, prosperity, etc. Of course most of our clients are edgy. What to do?
  • Cover the basics. Forget about "new" vs. "old" philanthropy. You get money by asking for it!
  • Your donors are not going broke. They may not feel so good but the smart ones are covered. If you don't ask because you're waiting for better times, other causes will be picking at your flesh.
  • The market indicators are off from their top postings - but still way above recent lows, viz. the days right after 9-11.
-- HG


Last week the Red Cross - still reeling from the latest CEO kerfuffle) announced it was riffing its staff by 1000 people but that the cut wouldn't affect services. Hm. The staff bloat was a thousand people. Who is advising these people? The real issue is that fish rots from the head down - meaning the board structure, even though streamlined somewhat, still does not permit of effective governance. Until that changes, if it ever does, it will be difficult if not impossible to attract a CEO who can make a difference. Many have been called but none has survived.

Actually Mark Everson, the ex-IRS head, who had been in the CEO job for less than a year, was showing promise in getting his arms around this monster. Unfortunately, he allegedly had his arms around some of the help.

-- HG