Are there too many nonprofits?

by Jane Arsenault on December 19, 2011

In our work around strategic alliances in and among nonprofit organizations, I am often asked:  Are there too many nonprofits?

In many instances, there are too many nonprofits…and in other areas there are too few. It is a bit like saying there are too many churches, or too many businesses…a useless generalization without specific context. 

There is an ecology to the nonprofit sector that is as rigid as the for profit marketplace ...nonprofits exist because people (foundations, government, corporations, small businesses, individuals as donors and/or volunteers) decide they should exist and then provide the resources to support them. If the resources disappear, the nonprofits will as well. The sector is inefficient where there are sufficient resources to pay for inefficiency….and it is very efficient where
those resources are scarce.

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