Nonprofit Remix

Translating business research into nonprofit language

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Tesla – For profit companies can learn from nonprofits



Was anybody else shaking their heads when Tesla announced that they are instituting fines for hogging charging stations?  They’re confusing social transactions with monetary ones, again.

For those of you who didn’t  have this show up in your newsfeeds, owners of Teslas can charge them for free at company-provided charging stations. Since there are a limited number of chargers available at each station, there’s apparently been a problem with owners leaving the cars plugged in even after they’re completely charged. The company’s solution was to institute a $0.40  fee for each minute the car stayed plugged in after being fully charged.

As nonprofits know, this isn’t going to solve the problem. In fact, it just moved Supercharger hogging from a issue of politeness to one of cold economic calculus.

Scenario 1: I should order my Pumpkin Spice Latte to  go, since there might be someone waiting for the charger, and it’s cold outside!

Scenario 2: It’s cold outside, so I’m going to sit here and drink my Pumpkin Spice Latte. That should only take 20 minutes, and at $0.40/minute, that’s only 8 bucks. I do drive a $120,000 car, after all.  And did I mention it’s cold outside?

Does that sound familiar?

If you’re unsure about this, ask why nonprofits never add finance charges to late pledge payments. Or why, unless something has gone horribly wrong, nonprofits don’t enforce promises to give by taking donors to court.

The nonprofit spin

Really, there isn’t one. It’s just nice to be able to say “You should run your business more like a nonprofit” sometimes.

Listing image: Tesla Model S & X side by side at the Gilroy Supercharger by Steve Jurvetson, (CC BY 2.0)

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