MPA521: Mid-term Assignment
In his text, “Managing a Nonprofit Organization in the Twenty-First Century” Thomas Wolf suggests that a major
challenge for nonprofit organizations involves searching for the proper balance between organizational
extension and risk taking/security. This is called a risk survival analysis. Meeting the challenge involves:
Engaging in ongoing organizational planning
Analyzing future options from both a practical and idealistic point of view
Debating the pros and cons of each proposed action in terms of the organizations stated mission and its
Remember, nonprofit organizations can’ t make a profit, but they must take-in more revenues than they expend
to survive. As the Worth text suggests, earned income strategies are sometimes a good way of diversifying
revenue sources and furthering the organization’s mission. Consider the following case. If you are on the board
of directors, how do you vote and why? What are the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats facing
the Legal Education society? What role do boards of directors and personnel have in setting organizational
missions and implementing organizational priorities?
LEGAL EDUCATION SOCIETY
The Legal Education Society has been in existence for several decades. Its mission is to provide legal assistance in
a variety of ways-legal aid to individuals who cannot afford it, legal assistance to nonprofit organizations, and
scholarly contributions to advance the public's understanding of the law. The multiracial board of directors of
the Legal Education Society is composed of lawyers, judges, and private citizens representing different
socioeconomic groups. At present, the organization is adequately funded, has a modest endowment, and has a
permanent staff of twelve people.
In 1983, the Legal Education Society hired a woman who was widely recognized as one of the brightest young
lawyers in the country to be the society's executive director. She had been on the Law Review at a prestigious
law school, had contributed significantly to the law literature, and had spent two years clerking for a Supreme
Court justice. Her appointment was hailed as a turning point in the history of the Legal Education Society.
However, it was a turning point in a way that no one had expected.
During the first four years of her tenure as executive director, the young woman pleased everyone. She added
programs, secured increased funding, wrote important articles, attracted new staff (including minorities and
women), and appeared to be the dynamo that everyone thought she would be when they hired her. After four
years, her interest began to shift. With her growing prominence in the field, organizations throughout the
country wanted to hire her as a consultant to advise them on setting up legal education programs.
At first, she accepted these assignments only on weekends and vacations, having received permission to do so
from the board of directors. But as the demand for her consulting services grew, as her own interest in these
projects increased, and as the scope of the projects demanded greater time commitments, she asked the board
whether she might set up a small consulting program through the Legal Education Society, bringing the
consulting contracts through the organization. The advantage, she explained, would be that the Legal Education
Society could earn income and expand its influence nationally in the field of legal education.
At first, the arrangement worked well. Two large contracts during the first year netted the organization $42,000
in additional income. The Legal Education Society was cited as a leader in its field. The executive director, with
the assistance of several key staff people, continued to be happy with the challenge and growth of the
consulting work, but the Legal Education Society's primary constituency back home was becoming restless.
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