I had my first not-for-profit tour experience.
Over the next few weeks we will be publishing several articles that touch heavily on the not-for-profit world. There will be four articles written by guest experts that specifically take a look at CCRC’s. I am honestly a little nervous about publishing them, for fear people will pass them over, thinking it’s not their sandbox (which is true). I found them to all be compelling and added to my broader understanding of the senior living ecosystem which is why I am publishing them. There will be two (including this one) which are mildly critical and I am also nervous about that, because it feels like I am being critical of the flag, motherhood and apple pie. Here we go . . . .
Someplace in California there exists a multistory, multiple level of care senior living community owned by a fairly sizable not-for-profit that is based in some state. I picked what seemed kind of an opportune day and time to go visit; Friday afternoon at exactly 3:45 pm. My thinking was that this would be a common time for families who have been caring for an elder loved one could get off work a little early and would be highly motivated heading into another tough weekend of caring for someone they loved, but were overwhelmed by.
I walked in the front door and found the receptionist enjoying one of those prepackaged ice cream cones. I didn’t actually provide any explanation why I was there (meaning I could have easily been a prospect), but just asked if I could get some information on the community. She took a break from her ice cream, glanced up at the clock and told me that all the people who could tell me about the community or show me around had gone home.
I pushed a little asking if there was anyone who could tell me anything she said no. I asked what levels of care they provided and she told me independent living, assisted living and skilled nursing. Finally I asked if they had any vacancies and she said she wasn’t sure, but if they did, “not many”. The best I got was a brochure but only because it was sitting in a little holder on the counter.
Mostly I tend to think not-for-profits have just a little something of an extra ingredient because they are mission driven rather than profit driven, which means they should care more. That caring should start at the front desk. Though I am guessing the executive director and the marketing director did not give the ice cream eating receptionist the tools she needed to do a good job. Later this week or next I will publish an article that questions the tendency of the not-for-profit world to occasionally denigrate for profit providers. While just one data point, this would suggest not much difference between for-profits or not-for-profits. Steve Moran
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