[Foundation-l] [announcement] new staff member in business development

George Herbert george.herbert at gmail.com
Sat May 19 02:15:57 UTC 2007

On 5/18/07, Anthony <wikilegal at inbox.org> wrote:
> On 5/18/07, George Herbert <george.herbert at gmail.com> wrote:
> > On 5/18/07, Anthony <wikilegal at inbox.org> wrote:
> > > The WMF is not a business.  It's a publicly supported charity.  As
> > > such, I think the proper solution is to limit business activities as
> > > much as possible.
> >
> > This is insane and irresponsible; any organization with this much
> > activity and financial throughput not run as a business (in terms of
> > professionalism), specifically INCLUDING real charities, is insane.
> >
> > The charities and nonprofits I know of all enthusiastically hire
> > professional business people to do business stuff... because it's how
> > you get things done at that level.
> >
> This is really a matter of terminology, which I'm not interested in
> getting into.  However, the job description of the business developer
> makes it clear that this position goes beyond the necessities of
> running a charity.
> Obviously the WMF needs to be responsible and professional.  Obviously
> they need to hire experienced professionals to do things which can
> casually be referred to as "business stuff" (collecting donations,
> applying for grants, producing financial statements, writing to
> donors, reviewing contracts, etc.)  If the announcement was the hire
> of a new grants coordinator, or a controller, or a new legal
> coordinator, my reaction would have been completely different.  I'm
> not objecting to the job title, I'm objecting to the job description.
> Anthony

You don't wish Wikipedia to be involved in business income ventures
other than pure donations type relationships?

Most big charities engage in "real business" relationships (selling
services, intellectual property or content, training, consulting
relative to the charities' activities interactions with the world,
etc) as well as asking for donations.  This is not unreasonable and
does not sully the name of the charity unless you chose unsavory
business practices or partners.

-george william herbert
george.herbert at gmail.com

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