Snark Tank

Welcome To The Snark Tank


 Burke’s Personal Rant Farm…something to cheer about!

Despite what many practitioners believe, the nonprofit world is not a verdant valley filled with romping unicorns and glistening rainbows. Instead, it is a highly competitive marketplace – an arena where good management and common sense are undervalued – but essential to fulfilling mission.


Managing and marketing nonprofits is a tough challenge, best accomplished by managing and marketing as a business would.

There is great resistance to that notion. So, you’ll see the Snark Tank confront conventional wisdom with awkward heresies and a touch of reality. This is where my thoughts might trigger yours as I comment on nonprofit issues that piss me off.    Issues like these:


  • The public service sector is harmed by Group Think.
  • Excessive idealism can cause loose management and mission failure.
  • Like it or not, your nonprofit IS A BUSINESS!
  • Board dysfunction is common, intolerable, dangerous and correctable.
  • The effective nonprofit manager can learn much from the world of business.
  • Nonprofits that can’t regularly build a financial surplus skate on thin ice.
  • Most mission statements are unfocused nonsense – but necessary.
  • Nonprofit jargon signals a lazy mind, or an attempt to impress – or both.
  • The public service mission is no justification for paying nonprofit employees less than their counterparts in the business world. 

You’ll sometimes disagree with the views expressed in periodic Snark Tank posts. That’s cool. No need to worry about hurting feelings. You get the last word in the Snark Tank. Just use the comments sections after each post.

I slipped. Called the President an Asshole: Told the other Vice Presidents they were assholes, too. It was my third day of employment! And it worked out just fine – with a lesson for all nonprofits. Not the lesson you are expecting….

The Governor Sent Us Two Jerks: Sure, you want a balanced board of directors. But at what price? A cautionary tale about well-meaning stupidity.

The Organization Was A Mess: And we Directors were to blame! Common sense review of a basic board responsibility – which we blew – and the a detour into crappy mission statements.

The Governor Sent Us Two Jerks: Trustees and Directors do not represent constituencies. They represent the general public AND the organization’s mission.



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