There’s an old proverb that it takes one person to throw a stone in a well, but ten to get it out.
I think the nonprofit equivalent is that it’s vastly easier to start a program than to end it.
Here’s what I mean. Let’s imagine a small community-based social services organization. It was founded twenty years ago to provide services for families with teen mothers. The agency focused in the early days on home visits and other support services by social workers and volunteers, designed to help ensure the babies’ safe and healthy development.
The organization gained a reputation for effectiveness, and soon there was encouragement from families, local government, and donors to create a childcare center for these and similar kids. So the organization built the childcare center and later expanded it. It became a well-respected and important community institution.
So far, so good. Then things got tricky. Continue reading