More nonprofits, please.

I am learning every day. I used to think Austin had too many nonprofits. Now I think we need to encourage, support, and even nurture more.

A nonprofit is an opportunity for people to donate, volunteer, engage, and we need more of these opportunities, not fewer. Each nonprofit has something different to offer, just as every person has something different to offer. How does it benefit Austin to have fewer organizations/people who can help?

I look at it this way: Let’s say there’s a single, working mother of a child with a disability. She needs a hand. If a single person – even one with all the resources in the world – were to try to address her problems and put her on the right track, would that person do better than job a group of people, each with a different skill set, a different way of looking at the world, and their own set of resources?

Our problems are complicated. In the example above, the woman doesn’t just need job training, she needs someone to care for her son while she works, she needs transportation, she needs help sorting through medical bills. And her son needs physical therapy, medical equipment, a role model… How would it benefit them to have fewer nonprofits in Austin? Wouldn’t it be better to have a large number of people/nonprofits working together on their behalf?

Too many people are thinking about the number of nonprofits from the donor and resources perspectives – as in there aren’t enough to go around – when maybe we should be thinking about it from the client’s perspective. For us to assume that only certain nonprofits are capable and therefore the only ones worth investing in is like saying only certain people have something to contribute. And that just doesn’t sound right to me.

I’m sure I’m not making the analogy correctly with my example above, but it’s worth considering.

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