Sunday, March 23, 2008

Not-for-Profit News starting in Cincinnati

In addition to all the routine fun of working with nonprofits, publishing the Indpls Not-for-Profit News, being a dad and husband - much of my attention the past few months has been on exploring the Cincinnati nonprofit sector. I have been very impressed by what I have learned. Cincinnati has a long tradition of philanthropy and a vibrant nonprofit sector. Since they are on the Ohio River, they were settled earlier and bring a more historic feel in many regards than Indianapolis while also having the beauty that comes from a major waterway.

They have a Fine Arts Fund that actively raises money for the arts through a Spring workplace giving campaign that compliments the United Way campaign in the fall that focuses on human services.

The Resource is a nonprofit that solicits donations of furniture, office equipment, office and cleaning supplies and more and then sells them to nonprofits for a handling fee of pennies on the dollar.

The Leadership Council of Human Services Executives is a round table group with over 120 members that evolved from the United Way Executives group and now works to build leadership across the full human services sector.

And Ohio has a state nonprofit association, based in Columbus that provides some support in advocacy and training.

If you are interested in learning more, I hope you will subscribe to the Cincinnati Not-for-Profit News - for Free and help us spread the word.

Are There Too Many Nonprofits?

With some estimates now exceeding 1.4 million charitable nonprofits nationally, it is easy to make the case that we don't need more. Still, every year 30-50,000 new nonprofits are created - each requiring board members, volunteers, and some combination of donations, foundation grants, corporate support, government funding, etc.

On the other side of the debate, I hear experienced nonprofit leaders talk about the importance of these new organizations to drive fresh ideas, new approaches, bring new leaders into the nonprofit sector, and increase awareness or focus on a particular issue.

If it were up to you, what criteria would you use to determine when a new nonprofit is needed and when it is not?