Competition or Collaboration?

Competition or Collaboration?

We’ve seen substantial growth in the nonprofit sector over the past decade. In 2010, there were 1.6 million nonprofits registered with the IRS, an increase of 24% from 2000. The growth rate of the nonprofit sector has actually surpassed the rate of both the business and government sectors. And while we know that in the corporate world, competition is essential to fair pricing, better products, and growth in our economy; it seems donors might be questioning the reason for competition in the nonprofit sector. As my business partner mentioned in his last blog post, we hosted a few donor and donor prospect focus groups for one of our clients in the healthcare space. One of the exercises we conducted was to show the participants our client’s logo along with all the other logos of nonprofits in the same space (fighting the same disease). In each of the groups, the discussion of the participants seemed to lead to the question of “Why are there so many organizations doing the same thing?” And while we know there are distinct differences in the mission among some competing organizations, the donors did not see those differences as a reason for competition in the marketplace. It makes sense, in the donor’s eye, if you have 5 different organizations all working together, wouldn’t collaboration lead to more resources, an accelerated timeframe to find a cure and innovation solutions? A recent article in The Huffington Post by Joseph Amodeo explores this issue and just like the author, I believe collaboration is no longer an option in our industry, it’s a necessity as donors are now asking...