Reams of guff have been written about private sector management. A bit of guff has been written about public sector management (including by me). But very little if any has been written about the challenges of managing in the voluntary sector.
Yet managing in the voluntary sector is the toughest challenge of all. Charities suffer a double whammy - they have the commercial pressures of managing in the private sector and the complexity of managing in the public sector.
Like private sector organisations charities are in a constant cycle of selling to funders (or customers). Even larger charities with long term commitments and some long term funding cannot escape the daily grind of thinking where the next slug of money is coming from. For a charity manager the pipeline, business development, marketing plan, and managing relationships with existing funders all loom far larger as day to day concerns than for their public sector counterparts.
However, unlike a business their primary focus is not on making money but on delivering often complex social outcomes which rarely have clear success factors. As in the public sector there is rarely a single easy to measure success criterion to ease the management tasks of developing a strategy, setting targets, assessing performance and motivating people.
This combination has consequences in a number of areas:
Bring on some charity management guff!