There are over 1.4 million registered nonprofits in America alone. That is far too many. The redundancies and competition for the donors' almighty dollar are actually slowing down the needed solutions. That is why, I think it is time to start helping charities go out of business. "Pragmatism often does not appear in the nonprofit field... The industry often is led by passionate hearts, not logical minds. Groups interminably squabble over scarce resources and fail to create long-term change." wrote Jonathan Greenblatt, founder of Ethos Water. (read his piece on why nonprofits should consider merging HERE)
"The main reason that many of them still exist is the ego of their founders and their board, not the cause that they were originally created to tackle," was the perspective of a very successful nonprofit executive I recently spoke with. She shared with me that here in New York City there were two organizations both built to help cure the same disease. A donor put up over $2 million dollars to negotiate a merger so that greater good could be served. After four years and countless ego driven battles, the organizations are still separate entities and still competing for donors' dollars.
Scott Case, Co-founder of Priceline.com and founder of Malaria No More, had a great perspective on why charities should set their entire organization's goals around going out of business. Here are the top five reasons:
5) It is what everybody wants. No one that you serve wants to be dependent on you.
4) It allows you to prioritize your cause, mission and the ultimate outcome that you seek ahead of the "brand" your organization spends too much time defending.
3) It frees up creativity and you will be much more willing to take risks.
2) It will free up resources to help solve the next big problem. Everyone who helped solved your problem can then be free to go help solve the next problem. We are not going to run out of problems to solve.
1) We should celebrate our successes. Ending a problem in the world is a great reason to have a party.
To see Scott's 10 minute talk with further details, go HERE