August 07, 2015

When a fast food chain lands in hot water for dishonesty, people still eat burgers and fries. They may boycott a certain colonel or king until they clean up their act, but a controversy that affects one brand doesn’t sink the entire industry.

What’s standard fare in business doesn’t always apply in the nonprofit realm. While nonprofits may inherently be more trustworthy than their for-profit counterparts, their credibility is fragile. A nonprofit with a stellar reputation can have it quickly spoiled when another is sunk in a scandal.

“When one nonprofit is accused of doing something wrong, it reverberates throughout the sector,” said M.D. Kinoti, Ph.D., assistant professor, Global Nonprofit Leadership at Regis University. “It’s unique to nonprofits, but it’s inherent in what we do. For instance, if a group is accused of taking money that should go toward cancer research, it affects everyone else trying to raise money for cancer. Losing credibility can happen so quickly – one group can significantly impact everyone.”  

Strengthening credibility across the board won’t happen overnight. That’s why Regis’ Master of Nonprofit Management program focuses on developing values-based leadership. And challenging students to focus on ethics rather than just doing business as usual.

“Regis is trying to develop students who are thoughtful and critical, but who lead with a sense of passion and ethics,” said Kinoti. “We want students to ask ‘why’ and look toward the future to see how they can serve the common good. We’re not just developing managers or volunteers, we’re developing leaders. And those are the type of people who’ll influence change in the nonprofit sector.”

Looking to make a difference in the nonprofit sector? Learn how you can improve your own community, and communities everywhere through our Master of Nonprofit Management program.