Doing Good Well
What does (and does not) make sense in the nonprofit world

Chapter 18: Nonprofit Qwerties

Quitting Quirky Quagmires

Taking its name from the alphabet layout on the keyboard, the “Qwerty” effect has come to be used in the business world to describe the practice of continuing with outdated and sub-optimal, but perhaps “good enough,” methods. The reason for continuing is usually attributed to either inertia or the cost of implementing a new solution.

The nonprofit sector has its fair share of qwerties.

The fundraising efficiency ratio and other financial ratios have been created to assess the effectiveness and accountability of nonprofits. However, their use is fraught with implementation issues. Worse, they are inadequate to capture the nature and diversity of nonprofit organizations, leading to unintended and undesirable consequences.

It is a shame, too, that estate duty, which has been a boost for charitable giving, is being reduced or abolished around the world. The basis for estate duty – rebalancing wealth and opportunities with each new generation – is sound, and the practical issues of enforcement, collection and acceptability can be overcome with proactive collaboration by governments.