Floundering Warning Sign: Founder Blindspots

Founders of nonprofit organizations are often rightly credited for their vision and determination in molding a mission into an organization, and almost as often found to be ill-suited for the job of running that nonprofit over time. Unless you know the skill set of a founder grantee, it’s worth a close look to determine if they have blind spots on critical areas like financial management or staff development.

“She started this organization in the front room of her house,” recalled one grantmaker from a small foundation about a founder-grantee who later “got in over her head. She had heart and soul in it, and was trustworthy.” But when the grantmaker took a closer look after making increasingly larger grants over a series of years, she found “they hadn’t grown up as an organization. They didn’t have enough community involvement, in designing programs or on their board, and they didn’t have systems in place to keep track of their growing budget.”

Takeaways are critical, bite-sized resources either excerpted from our guides or written by Candid Learning for Funders using the guide's research data or themes post-publication. Attribution is given if the takeaway is a quotation.

This takeaway was derived from When Projects Flounder.