One of the many things that separate the nonprofit sector from the public and private ones, is the that there is never a guarantee of funding from year to year. Yes, you may be saying the same can be true for a private business. However, the difference is nonprofits must be constantly looking for new sources of revenue as grants, foundation gifts, and annual appeals all may “end” without a second chance to make it up. A business succeeds in selling products to a niche market, generally multiple times to the same customer depending on the product (i.e. food).
Thanks to the advent of what is now called “social media”, the Twitter, Foursquare, and Facebook areas of donor outreach is a new arena that nonprofits have dived into. A recent study actually put 85% of all private businesses with a Facebook profile in 2009 – something that I cannot believe nonprofits are far behind in.
However, now nonprofits are entering a new phase of the “social connectivity” of such sities by participating in fundraising contests put on my the Big Business sector (Target, Pepsi). Allison Jones has a great four question debate about what the benefits/drawbacks are to such corporate fundraisers for charity.
And foundations are also to be prodded, says Pablo Eisenberg of Georgetown Public Policy Institute, into giving more than just to “safe” nonprofits – something the corporate fundraising projects address directly. Many nonprofits need what is called “general operating” funds. That is the money to pay staff, bills, rent, etc.
Mr. Eisenberg believes that the Social Innovation Fund’s $50 million dollars is a drop in the bucket from the White House and President Obama. And I have to agree. It is all a little to much whitewashing of the good nonprofits provide. It is almost as President Obama will not authorize more money to be freed up because he is afraid of more political backlash against “liberal spending” or something. If anything, do as Mr. Eisenberg suggests and make it that foundations have to give 6% annually from their coffers instead of 5%.
Nonprofits have to continuously look for news ways of funding their ideas and projects. And these are some things that hit near the heart in every board room.