On of the questions I get asked all the time is 'How do I start my own Non Profit'. I often shudder and then ask what they want to benefit, what their passion is and if their is an organization that fills that need already. The balance that we are striving for is personal connection vs. economy of scale. I'll discuss a few ways to bridge this gap in section III of this series of posts.
FUND RAISING IS NOT A ZERO SUM GAME! Each time a new organization arises to benefit a cause where another organization already exists we loose a bit in the economy of scale. We are not taking dollars away from each other, we are just spending them unnecessarily and repetitively on things that do not help our end goal. Each new organization needs a host of things to stand alone and differentiate itself from the other organizations serving the same community.
Maybe there are so many more one man philanthropies out there to day because setting one up is so much easier. We technology lets us have a virtual office on our cell phone if we want. Or maybe There are more causes that are important to more people. The bottom line is how is the money we raise actually helping move our mission?
In social service and community engagement organizations it can be as straight forward as providing food for the hungry, or shelter, or clothing or even job training. In the medical field things are not that simple.Organizations like the American Cancer Society spend substantial portions of their budget on epidemiological and scientific research. Some of the research demands significant funding to be done correctly. Small local charities may not be able to raise the money needed to fund a 30 year longitudinal study, or full scientific research project.
There has to be a better way to give people that personal I-make-a-difference feeling that all philanthropist AND concentrate the positive results of their hard work into real tangible mission moving results.