Guest blogger: Sterling Lynk
What great things for people with Down syndrome could you do with $9,000? Launch a new educational program? Host a new fundraising event? Serve more families?
I do executive coaching and strategic consulting for all manner of non-profits around the country, so I took this question to a few of the organizations I have worked with. One agency I know could keep a family in danger of homelessness off the streets for nearly a year. Another service provider I’m a fan of could reliably use that money to raise three-times as much. For one DSA, $9,000 would mean they could serve 15 additional families this year.
I didn’t pick $9,000 out of thin air; this is not an arbitrary number. Back on August 28th of 2018, Jamie Dianna Harper, former board president of the Down Syndrome Association of Tulsa, was arrested on double digit counts of embezzlement and “pattern of criminal offense”. Authorities said she stole over $9,000 of donations intended for the DSA, and this former leader in our movement cost her organization an unmeasured amount of credibility (see https://ktul.com/news/local/down-syndrome-association-moving-past-embezzlement-scandal and http://www.newson6.com/story/38986640/tulsa-woman-facing-19-embezzlement-charges-booked-into-jail). And, what happened in Tulsa is not an isolated incident in the non-profit world. A buddy of mine is an Assistant US Attorney and 1/3 of his caseload involves embezzlement of money from non-profits and churches.
Illegal activity is not the only way for your DSA to lose $9,000. Have you had a year where the budget didn’t work, a program ended up costing more than expected, a fundraiser underperformed, or you got blindsided with hidden charges in a contract? I have, despite my best efforts and I bet you have too.
DSAIA can help. As member of this trade association you can access our accreditation program customized for the needs of DSAs and their affiliates. This program can help your team get organized, protect your resources and the people you serve, and line you up with best practices in programming. Signing up could you save you $9,000.
Learn more at www.dsaia.org/accreditation.