What would you do?
Suppose you agreed with an idea and supported folks who came up with it to try to put their vision into action. You joined a nonprofit board to try to make the idea real. The idea and the organization got some traction, even though the operations and execution of the organization weren't very good. Then some really stupid things were done by those running the organization., , , . Mea culpas were offered, apologies made. However, the truth is the organization exists in public trust and relies on public faith, good will, and credibility and these have been damaged - fatally in the eyes of some, less so in the eyes of others.
What do you do? Fire the offenders, finish unfinished business, and pull the plug on the entity, hoping that the ideas will take form elsewhere and be better, even successfully, managed? I might call this the "one strike and your out, put faith in the creative destruction of social entreprenuerism, and move on" approach.
Take steps to fix the organization, remediate the mistakes (and those who made them), invest in the slow, painstaking work of rebuilding public trust, credibility, and faith, and see if the idea can not only stick, but can overcome these early, enormous pratfalls? This might be called the "we all make mistakes, an organization is more than a single person, finish what you started and eat humble pie all the way home" approach.
...no doubt there are other approaches. Everyone thoughtful that I have spoken to about this has seen the many sides of the many issues, so there must be other approaches to dealing with this. A friend pointed me to the Whole Foods version of this - which shows that the SEC and FTC have their own views about how to deal (or not) with this.
Suggestions are welcome (Please use comment form. Please do not comment anonymously - at least use a creative pseudonym. Please refrain from name calling, accusations, or language that you would not use with your grandmother or your small child. Management reserves the right to refuse service to patrons who don't move the discussion forward in a productive way.)
I know I am opening myself up to more attacks and vitriol by bringing this up. But, as I've experienced directly in the last few days, there are many people out there who care deeply about key principles of integrity, public trust, fair and respectful discourse, and learning collectively how to navigate the bounds and lines of known publics and anonymous communities, online and offline public trust, and creating transparent and accountable behaviors that also respect people's privacy. I hope to learn something from asking this question - it has real, practical, and immediate application for me. It probably does for you too, if you read this blog.
Full disclosure: I am a board member of GiveWell and The Clear Fund. My other professional affiliations are online here and here.
 comments at http://philanthropy.blogspot.com/2007/12/2007-buzzword-10-philanthropy-20.html