Monday, November 21

Rabbit Holes & Real Points

An article in the Chronicle of Philanthropy e-newsletter caught my eye, and I couldn't help but comment on it.

Calling All Boomers: Don’t Start More Nonprofits starts with a somewhat startling fact: 12 million baby boomers want to start their own nonprofit or socially oriented business over the next decade.

Although the article gets into a number of issues from there (some valid, some rabbit holes), I felt like both the author and the comments people left missed what should have been the giant red flag waving through the whole thing:  

Current non-profits are failing.

America already has over a million non-profit organizations. Even accounting for those that aren't directly focused on impacting the public good, that still leaves far more organizations already in existence than we can possibly need.
Every non-profit involves overhead. The more NP's we have, the more time, energy and funding we bleed out into overhead that could have been applied directly to the primary causes we're fighting for. 

More importantly, people want to be involved and make a difference - but not with us.

All non-profits seek supporters, donations, volunteers and resources. If there are really millions of people out there actively looking to get involved and they can't find a single place to get on board, something is terribly, terribly wrong.

I'll end here, because if I keep going this post could go on for pages. But I think that it is non-profits, rather than baby boomers, who have the most to take away from that article. The warning signs are here, as is a precious chance: recruit the would-be competition NOW. They don't have to be your headache - they could be your strongest supporters and the next generation of visionary leaders. 

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