Monday, July 6, 2009

Are There Too Many Nonprofits?

New Ideas Shouldn't Necessarily Spawn New Nonprofit Groups

Paul Shoemaker has a simple piece of advice for philanthropists who have new ideas for helping to improve the world — find an existing charity to do the work.

Mr. Shoemaker, executive director of Social Venture Partners in Seattle, writes on PhilanthroMedia too many philanthropists create new organizations when they want to make a difference.

But, in many cases, they would be better able to accomplish their goals if they found an existing group to help take up their ideas for new programs.

“It is much easier to start a non-profit than a for-profit company, but it is much harder to effectively sustain a non-profit over the long-term,” Mr. Shoemaker writes. “When you have a new idea, please be sure to look around to see if anyone is already doing the work you care about; or if there is someone to partner with or someone that might want to take on a new ‘line of business.’”

Does the nonprofit world have room for more charities — or can the existing organizations effectively accommodate new programs and missions?

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