Friday, January 15, 2010

A New Era for the Nonprofit Sector

I am writing this as the bequest of my staff, interns and clients who for years have asked me when I will start blogging. Well, I am starting 2010 off with a Constare blog!

Before I start I should give a brief overview of the organization from it's humble beginning in a coffee shop. In late 2004, friends started having conversations about the need for a consulting firm that would assist nonprofits in the South Bend, Indiana region with their fundraising needs. We grew from conversations around coffee to launching a consulting firm that at first served grant-writing needs of organizations. During the next two years we worked out of our homes and met with clients at their locations (or even a coffee shop or two!).

In May 2007 we made the leap to a real office, with a coffee pot (we still visit coffee shops!). After setting up shop in downtown South Bend, we started launching into more complex issues with nonprofits, including board management, fund development studies and understanding the nuances of what makes nonprofits succeed. Also, i should note that in amongst these years I was working towards the completion of my Juris Doctorate (and drinking lots of coffee at night) and thus had the opportunity for some extensive research and writing on the law and how it relates to the nonprofit sector.

This brings us to the past year, where we have grown from a small firm, dedicated to our clients, embracing their passions as our own, to an organization that now works to develop sustainable income strategies for the nonprofit sector. My personal, professional and academic experiences with the nonprofit sector has led me to realize that the sector must adapt for-profit business practices, to an extent, to survive in this new century. No longer can organizations rely solely on the the dollar donation or dinner gala for their longevity. Today's nonprofit sector must be open to change, including developing strategies that will promote revenue models that embrace a sense of a for-profit organization.

Over the next few months I'll be sharing some thoughts on issues facing the sector, but more importantly exploring the avenues that support and maintain a sustainable income stream in these trying economic times. So grab a cup of coffee and I'll grab mine and we can start this journey together, standing together to strengthen our communities.

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