Competition between nonprofits for available funds—and how it’s getting more fierce—is a perennial subject of media and a tired saw of nonprofit organizations. But what sort of competition is it really? This glass-half-full chorus comes from an environment where a growing number of charitable organizations compete for the shrinking pie of public grants. Why not a glass overflowing with organizations clamoring for more of an expanding, elastic well of philanthropy?
Public funding for charitable organizations with its fixed grants for fixed ideas continues to shrink. The competition for attention in the world of transactional fundraising—galas, auctions, etc.—is also getting fiercer because there are simply more and more nonprofits clamoring for the same discretionary dollars.
Philanthropy, on the other hand, continues to demonstrate elasticity—the more that is asked the more that is made available. This reservoir of support, however, can only be accessed by those organizations that can demonstrate urgency in their missions and effectiveness in their outcomes.
This is the sort of competition we should all rejoice in. Critical missions are plentiful. Donors are looking for high-performing charities in which to invest. Donor research continues to confirm that donors will give, and give more if they are asked to invest by organizations that get great results fulfilling worthy missions.
Nonprofit leaders have a clear choice before them.
The choice is to be constrained by the shrinking market of public funding—or to define your place in a growing market of philanthropists searching for those organizations that are succeeding in making the community a better place. Which option will you choose?
Larry C Johnson
LinkedIn: Larry C Johnson, CFRE
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