Too many nonprofits?

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This article from Huffington Post has an American perspective but how different is Australia? Do we have too many nonprofits? Are we overpopulated with under-resourced nonprofits? Is the focus turning from extinguishing a problem to sustaining our organisations? Are we replicating instead of consolidating? Are we spreading our talent too thin? (Oh YES.) Have we asked enough rhetorical questions? Very interested to get your comments.

4 Responses to Too many nonprofits?

  1. Michelle.S says:

    We seemed to be swamped with nonprofit organisations here in Australia and also overseas in the U.S of A. According to The Australian Centre for Co-operative Research and Development – there are 700,000 nonprofit organisations in Australia.
    We seemed to be swamped with nonprofit organisations here in Australia and also overseas in the U.S of A. According to The Australian Centre for Co-operative Research and Development – there are 700,000 nonprofit organisations in Australia.

    How do we sift out the good from the ‘just pretending’ – aka – let’s set this up for a few years ( ? $$ ) – then become bored – close the business ! Are some of them serial entrepreneurs crouching behind the couch?
    How many more are popping up and which ones are a hit and others a miss? A little bit like the whack a mole game.

    In a way isn’t being a non profit business similar to a micro business just starting out. Lack of funds, finding the funds from other sources? Surviving
    Public can be confused as to which one, two or three maximum to choose to support. You have to really read the small print to see the true beliefs of the company, and research through the many media options we have at our fingertips today. People are sometimes fooled by the in your face amazing images matched with the NLP marketing ‘words’ and sometimes ‘music’ to match the emotion they want for you to feel.
    If you’re really not sure about a nonprofit business and you have the time, join as a volunteer. This will provide the answer you have been looking for.

  2. John Coxon says:

    It may surprise the rest of the world, and probably a good number of Americans and Australians, but the USA doesn’t have the largest nonprofit sector in the world, Australia does, judged by number of nonprofit organisations per head of population.

    In Australia there is around 600,000 nonprofit organisations, including education, health, and community organisations. Only about 60,000 of them are economically significant (FASES Report 2010). They are primarily service providers. The remainder are what we would refer to as community organisations, the local footy club or neighbour.hood quilting groups.

    No one would suggest there is an excess of community groups. They rise and fall according to social patterns and demand. The 60000 economically significant nonprofits are another matter.

    Size does matter in this instance. Yes it is possible a small regional based nonprofit provider may be better in touch with community needs, and it is certainly viewed as a ‘local organisation’ however there appears to be scant evidence of the ability of regional or local service providers being able to solve community issues any better than larger, nationally based organisations. I would suggest that as you split the funding pie into increasingly smaller slices you reduce the abilities and effectiveness of smaller organisations.

    There is a solution. Smaller nonprofit providers can form collaborative partnerships with each other to provide an integrated solution, drawing upon the strengths of each partner. This does occur from time to time. It doesn’t occur as frequently as it might due to internal politics and people trying to protect their patch.

    Are there too many nonprofit providers in Australia? Probably. The sector has become a bureaucracy of its own with constant cries for ‘more money’.

    This is not to suggest nonprofit service providers fail to provide a necessary and quality service. They do and the demand for their services continues to grow. It also is not a suggestion the sector is adequately funded. It is not. There will never be enough money to address growing social problems while we fail to address the core causes of these problems.

    At the same time increasing or maintaining the numbers of nonprofit social providers doesn’t create any better solutions.

  3. RBA supporter says:

    I agree that there are too many community sector organisations. They suck valuable resources running back offices when they could be putting serious money into producing the outcomes we all want for our communities.

    A great approachI heard about last year is results based accountability. Mark Friedman has written a great book on this subject, and collaborative partnerships, working together to solve problems ,is one of the seven key steps he recommends. It’s well worth a look..but be prepared to be intimidated!

  4. In my opinion charities are growing very rapidly around the world and its very difficult to select one which really works for the people in need so before donating just check whether its worthy to donate or not.

    charity Australia