Why Nonprofits Serving Poor, Homeless Should Stop Taking Government Money

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After spending years serving the needs of the poor and homeless through nonprofit ministry, James Whitford says he learned that “it’s good for nonprofits … to stay away from government funding.” 

Whitford, the co-founder and CEO of True Charity, a national initiative to reform charity work, started serving the poor through a ministry called Watered Gardens Ministries in Joplin, Missouri, over two decades ago. Over time, he has crafted a model for how nonprofits can best serve the needs of the poor and actually be a part of solving the homeless crisis. 

Step one, according to Whitford, is declining government funding because it reduces fundraising efforts, which disengages local donations, and “those local donors are often volunteers as well,” he tells “The Daily Signal Podcast.” 

“So there’s a kind of a symbiosis between the local donor and being a volunteer,” according to Whitford. “Sometimes it’s a volunteer first that becomes a donor. Sometimes it’s a donor that becomes a volunteer. But the last thing we want to do is crowd out local involvement in the work.” 

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Nonprofits working with the poor also need to measure the “impact, not just outputs, but outcomes,” of the work they are doing, he says. 

And finally, “nonprofit leaders need to embrace work for their clients.”

Whitford joins the podcast to explain how nonprofits can create a sustainable model to address homelessness and poverty in their communities. 

Listen to the podcast below: 

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