Nonprofit organizations


Measuring Impact / Saturday, November 12th, 2011

Charities are a growing trendimage

Non-profits are cropping up all over the place. According to this article, http://www.infotoday.com/searcher/feb04/cameron.shtml, non-profit organizations have a remarkably high grow rate and revenue increases when compared to standard businesses. Today there are over 1.2 million non-profits in the U.S. (and more if you factor in the ones that have less than $25,000 revenue).

What does having more charitable organizations mean?

Bigger need for social services? More population? Is there money to be made in the field?

Sure, you would have a pretty good argument that today there is more of a need for social services than ever. Unfortunately I did not yield any fruitful data from my research using online databases courtesy of the Kansas City Public Library. I was trying to find statistics about the number of “poor and needy” people in the US over the past 20 or 30 years. I did find that, “nearly one out of every five American children lives in poverty — one of the highest poverty rates in the developed world (Neuman 2008). I find it important to keep in mind that what it means to be considered “poor” should be considered controversial. There are certain political gains to be made by raising or lowering the “poverty line”. Plus, how accurate can our data be? Whether we are looking at percentages of the population that make less than a certain amount or the amount of people that are served by social services, the number of people who are caught in the cycle of poverty continues to stay the same or slightly increase (I do not have a source for this so please give me some evidence if this is not true). Non-profits serve many different societal needs besides just the poor and disenfranchised. However, I think there is something alarming about the fact that the number of new non-profits is growing rapidly with literally millions of organizations and yet nothing or very little seems to be happening in terms of yielding sustaining results.

Yes, the population is growing. Slightly. Unfortunately the only statistics I could find were 10 years old, but in the year 2000 it reports that the percentage of poverty has remained the same over the years (Indiana Business Review 2000). So with non-profits springing up at such an impressive rate, there are more charitable organizations today than ever before yet the same amount of poverty and social needs. So are non-profits really helping the world??

There isn’t any money to be made in the field. Of course unless your plan is to embezzle funding or in some cases CEO’s can make $1.2 million salary but you are crazy to enter the non-profit world to try to get rich.

The industry does create a lot of jobs. The non-profit sector is responsible for 7% of all US Jobs. So this might be a good place to look for employment opportunities and by the look of things, the trend of new nonprofits will only increase.

Sources

Neuman, Susan, ed. Educating the Other America: TopExperts Tackle Poverty, Literacy, and Achievement in Our Schools. Baltimore, Md.: Brookes, 2008.

Poverty in the United States. (2000). Indiana Business Review: IN Context, 1(10), 8-9+. Retrieved August 20, 2011, from ABI/INFORM Global. (Document ID: 65228836).

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