A good organization should be able to do own fundraising

A good organization should be able to do own fundraising

For all of the reasons cited in her column, Arlene Violet has made a strong, rational case against raising the marriage license fee to support a private organization. I would add an additional reason, based upon over 40 years experience as a fund-raising consultant to non-profits. Non-profit organizations are the key to identifying and developing programs to meet a critical human need. Those who do a good job of doing so, also carry the burden of raising the funds needed to support their work. If the need for their services becomes widely recognized as beneficial, and the financial requirements to meet that need are beyond the means of the private sector, then it is appropriate for government to step in and fund all or a major part of the program. (Examples: polio, drug addiction, obesity, etc.) If that is not the case, and an organization's supporters cannot or will not sustain it, it ought to seriously question whether it is needed.

Too often, we see local Town/City Councils handing out taxpayer dollars to small, independent non-profits who, if they were properly managed, could very likely raise more than the government subsidy provides. This practice inevitably leads non-profit recipients to rely on government "handouts" to their own detriment. Taxpayer dollars should be spent for vital services that affect the entire tax base, not a fraction of it. Government grants to local charities, although they may seem the nice thing to do, are both a misuse of taxpayer dollars, and an incentive to those so favored to delay or refuse to adopt a sound fund-raising program.

Harry L. Staley


Staley founded Rhode Island Statewide Coaliltion in 2003 as an advocacy organization for good government. He is now chairman of the re-named Rhode Island Taxpayers organization.