Monday, February 26, 2007

The proliferation of nonprofits: Is competition an opportunity or a threat?

This is an excerpt from a recent article by Louise Chatterton Luchuk published on which i thought might be of interest.

There are 161,000 nonprofit and voluntary sector organizations in Canada...and counting. To ask the question, “Is the proliferation of nonprofits an opportunity or a threat?” is a little like asking if the glass is half full or half empty. Depending on who you talk to, or what aspect of competition you are discussing, the answer will be different.

There’s no question that when it comes to funding the proliferation of nonprofits poses a real challenge because there are only so many grants to be disbursed or donors to be tapped. Huge amounts of time, energy and resources go into competing for funding. The Calgary Chamber of Voluntary Organizations has studied funding issues in some depth. President and CEO Katherine van Kooy sees a growing awareness among funders in Calgary that their contributions per funded project are not sufficient. That fact undermines the sustainability of funded organizations. “The big dilemma,” she points out, “is that there is a finite pool of money - that’s the issue.” In Calgary, some community-based funders are deliberately supporting organizations at a level that is sustainable but, in turn, they have to make decisions about the number of organizations that they can support.

Then there is the related challenge of competition for fundraisers. In Alberta, says van Kooy, the supply does not meet the demand. Smaller organizations don’t have the same dollars to pay for fundraising professionals and this causes imbalance among nonprofits.

Read the full article here...

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