This is a question I often ask myself. Are we in the world of philanthropy working together or working against each other. Are we in competition or in collaboration?
Lets say for an example that you work for a nonprofit that provides food for children in Africa. There are hundred of non-profits doing that vary thing why should I give my money (or why should I raise money) for you instead of another organization? I am really happy with many organizations that focus their organization on a specific niche group of people that they know how to serve or issue because it allows them to specialize. What about when two organizations that have a similar or overlapping missions do they go after the same dollars?
I know many nonprofits pride themselves on how collaborative they can be. And sometimes I believe this is true when you see a couple organizations coming together to serve a family in need, or an organization has a staff member who’s salary or work area is directed from an organization outside of the nonprofit.
I have found that when it comes to fundraising there is a very small amount sharing that is going on. Try calling up a local nonprofit and telling them that you would like to see a copy of their sponsorship levels and benefits (and don’t forget to tell them you work for a nonprofit) and you’ll get a no almost every time.
What do you think? Should nonprofits be open to collaboration and shared information on everything? Should nonprofits take a more serious business approach and see their partners as competition? Or is it a mix between the two?