Reaction to the "Joint Venture Cape Cod" Idea
on the 2005 Volunteer to Sustain Cape Cod EXPO
Reception, Grille 16
2: CD Launch, Hyport Brewery; Breakfast, Four Points Sheraton;
3: Volunteer to Sustain Cape Cod EXPO; EXPO Participation
4: EXPO Generally
The Center for Sustainability hosted a dinner to which it invited 45 people of different responsibilities, perspectives, and interests regarding the purposes and operations of nonprofit enterprises. Our purpose in assembling the group had to do
with our interest in the general notion of community "capacity building," a goal of the center. We hoped the gathering would foster discussions and ideas about this topic that might lead to specific action.
The Center relies on collaborations with other established nonprofit businesses, institutions, and individuals as the means by which we gather sufficient resources to engage in our program activities. We are looking very closely now at how to best receive input and interact effectively with others to expand the capacity of the Cape's nonprofit sector.
The discussions started at the dinner have continued since in several contexts. Emerging from this feedback is the point that there is no consistent view regarding how best to expand the sector's capacity. And there is also no consensus as to whether there is in fact a problem to be solved although the recent report by
MassINC about the
nonprofit sector is still being read and its conclusions interpreted.
The desire we have expressed to encourage collaboration as a means with which to effectively reduce operational costs and increase revenue is not an idea that we are presenting in a way that people easily understand. While there is courteous interest, there is also a great deal of skepticism. We have yet to give the general idea enough detail to allow people to support or dismiss it.
The dinner "program" encouraged people to offer their suggestions and ideas about collaborations. Many of the responses since have suggested that nonprofits need to look more closely at combining rather than
collaborating. These responses suggest that there is no economic or social benefit to be gained by propping up nonprofit businesses that are unable to adapt themselves to changing economic or other circumstances.
The findings presented in the recently released MassINC study support an ironic
interpretation: If the percentage of the region's overall economy that makes up the nonprofit sector is rising significantly as measured in dollars and employment, does that not suggest that the situation is actually quite robust for nonprofits?
The following page contain comments about nonprofits' collaborating that we have received since the dinner meeting took place. We hope that publishing these comments will encourage others to send us their thoughts on this subject. --Allen Larson
"Fiscal worries not lone issue among NPOs," Boston Business
Journal, May 2, 2005.
George T. Dillon
and Matthew M. Wilkins, "True Sustainability, A New Model to Aid
Non-Profits in Developing Self-Sustaining Revenue Streams,"
Advocatus, Giving a Voice to Those Who Have None, May 2005.
will be posted as they accumulate.)
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February 25, 2006