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Jim Eskin Says, “We Don’t Need More Nonprofits!”

Jim Eskin Says We Don't Need More Nonprofits

Jim Eskin Says, “We Don’t Need More Nonprofits!” is an honest take on the state of the charitable sector. Let’s hear what this fundraising veteran has to share:

I can proudly declare that it would be difficult to find anyone who more deeply than myself appreciates the selfless gifts of time, talent and treasure from men and women who fuel our nation’s nonprofits, and in doing so, advance noble missions that touch, improve and save more lives.

Whether their roles be as staff, board, volunteers, donors or other friends of these magnificent organizations, they deserve our endless respect, appreciation and admiration for making the world a better place to live.

But on too many occasions, I’ve had candid conversations with colleagues who, like me, literally groan when we receive a phone call from a well-intended individual who wants to launch a new nonprofit.

Though voluntary organizations endorsed by private contributions have existed in the U.S. since the mid-eighteenth century, they have only recently become an omnipresent part of American society. As recently as 1940, there were only 12,500 secular charitable tax-exempt organizations. Today, there are more than 1.5 million tax-exempt organizations in the nation — this includes all 501(c) designations from churches and cultural centers, to food banks and disaster relief organizations. There are more than 100,000 nonprofits in Texas alone.

Jim Eskin Says, “We Don’t Need More Nonprofits!”

Instead of proliferating more organizations, the social sector and society in general would benefit concretely from stronger communication, coordination and collaboration. The nonprofit infrastructure covers every conceivable mission under the sun. The truth is we already suffer from too much duplication and overlapping.

The startup requirements are numerous and burdensome, including the meeting of IRS regulations, bylaws and policies, recruitment of board members, and competing for a finite supply of donor dollars and minutes.

This leaves donors in the excruciating position of having to choose not between the good and the bad but between the good and the good. More nonprofit organizations will only exasperate the current dilemma.

While formal/legal actions such as mergers and consolidations create steep mountains to climb, there are a host of informal activities that produce win-win outcomes for everyone involved. At the top of the list is submitting joint requests that funders profoundly welcome. There can be productive arrangements in which services for clients are jointly provided and back-office operations are shared.

The bottom line must always be a kinder, more equitable and socially just environment, especially when reaching out to and assisting those who are struggling.

So, when someone contacts me with an idea for a new nonprofit, I respond immediately by challenging them to consider lending their support to existing organizations that champion similar causes. There are many third-party independent resources to research the effectiveness and return on investment in such organizations.

I can’t resist this cliché: Why reinvent the wheel? And more to the point, who really benefits from reinventing the wheel?

Nonprofits are all around us and improving the world through advances in education, health care, arts and culture, economic development, animal welfare, human services, seniors, children and other important areas. They remind us that more is possible and that we can take matters into our own hands and make the world a better place to live, one person and one community at a time. Momentum will be achieved not by launching new organizations but by good men and women adding their voices to the nonprofit movement and magnifying existing good works.

Jim Eskin Says, “We Don’t Need More Nonprofits!” was first posted at INSIDE CHARITY

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Major Gifts How Much Are TheyJim Eskin’s consulting practice, Eskin Fundraising Training builds on the success of his more than 250 fundraising workshops, webinars and podcasts and provides the training, coaching and support services that nonprofits need to compete for and secure major gifts. He has authored more than 100 guest columns that have appeared in daily newspapers, business journals and blogs across the country, and publishes Stratagems, a monthly e-newsletter exploring timely issues and trends in philanthropy. Sign up here for a free subscription. He is author of 10 Simple Fundraising Lessons, which can be Purchased Here.

Eskin Fundraising Training
10410 Pelican Oak Drive
San Antonio, TX 78254-6727
Cell: 210.415.3748
E-Mail: [email protected]

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Jim Eskin
Jim Eskin
Jim Eskin’s leadership roles span more than 30 years in fundraising, public affairs and communications in the San Antonio area. During his career, he established records for gifts from individuals at three South Texas institutions of higher learning. He enjoys training non-profit boards on fundraising best practices and overcoming the fear of asking for gifts. His consulting practice Eskin Fundraising Training builds on the success of his fundraising workshops and provides the training, coaching and support services that non-profits need to compete for and secure private gifts. He has authored more than 100 guest columns that have appeared in daily newspapers and business journals across the country, and publishes Stratagems, a monthly e-newsletter exploring timely issues and trends in philanthropy. He is author of 10 Simple Fundraising Lessons.

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