Think new thoughts

Making Room for New Folks

By Michael Barnes

I previously wrote about the need to reduce the number of nonprofits. I also wrote about the need for existing nonprofits to make room for people who are thinking about starting a nonprofit. It’s a 2-way street.

In the time since I wrote those, I have had many conversations with leaders of large nonprofits. Many times, as I describe my current project, Cincinnati Hacking Homelessness, I say that our outcomes will be to create: 5 for profit companies, 5 social ventures, and 5 nonprofits.

Leaders at existing nonprofits are inevitably resistant to making new nonprofits. They say that the field is already overcrowded, funding is tight, funders want fewer nonprofits for a number of reasons.

I agree.

But when I talk to them about the need for THEM to adjust, to let people in at higher levels, to find ways to incorporate founder-wannabes, I inevitably get a stone face.

I have yet to hear any of these leaders at established nonprofits agree with this idea.

And this is 1 side of the problem.

A person who is thinking of starting a nonprofit usually believes they have a great idea. They believe they can do better than what exists. They want to be a leader.

To simply say, “Don’t do that because I’m already doing it. You can come be a peon in my organization instead,” rarely has appeal.

So, My Question is:

Do you know an organization that does this? An organization that incorporates new people and ideas at senior levels?

What are some ways that this could be implemented?

We have so many people out there who DO have great ideas! They have innovative ideas! They have ideas that will work MUCH better than what is currently being done.

How do we get these people and ideas and bring them into the current structure?

If we want fewer nonprofits, we need to give a strong path for those who we are telling not to found new organizations. How do we do that?

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