For Impact


Remainder Ideas on the Nonprofit Market

Change | | Nick Fellers

These are ‘half-thoughts’ I’ve been toting around in my head. I’m hoping others will comment/challenge… or use.

  • Colleges and Universities have been in something of an arms race and increased tuition at 6% – 7% annually.
    • Hard to maintain that pace forever unless what we’re seeing is a change to a completely different model.
    • I think funding model is changing (or has changed) from ‘work hard to pay your way through school’ to student loans/financing to a philanthropy model (those that went before are paying the way now) and on it’s way to a venture funding model (schools will end up with all the wealth and fund more businesses – generating income which will fund ‘tuition’).
    • Amazed we’re not seeing MORE start-up colleges. Perfect time – education changing and incredible demand.
  • I’ve read that some 100K nonprofits will close their doors during this recession. I’m okay with that – while there will be some stories of orgs failing that shouldn’t the marketplace has needed a correction. Too many orgs trying to do the same thing. I’m not a big fan of the WAY collaboration is being talked about right now (sounds too much like a fad) but I’m a huge fan of it as a fundamental – in any economy.
  • On social media: Someone asked me how I’ve see facebook and twitter change fundraising. To be completely honest – I think there is a ton of noise around the subject. In my thinking though these are VEHICLES. Like the telephone and/or the checkbook. One is communication and one is a mode of payment. I just think online giving is a vehicle. Play madlibs and substitute telephone for ‘twitter’ and ‘paper checks’ for online giving and you’ll see my point.

    To be clear, this is new and exciting stuff! In the same way the telephone or email changed communication so too are things like twitter (which, I do love and of which I’m a huge evangelist – for other reasons). And, while the broad world has not fully adopted twitter or facebook I don’t think the amount of noise should be an indication of funding potential. It doesn’t change the fundamentals of FUNDING/REVENUE – relationships, message, model, math, visits/sales-approach.

  • “Capital Campaigns” could change forever. This could be cool. In many markets we’re seeing ‘capital campaign pitches’ dry up. Some funders are saying ‘we have a really hard time funding buildings right now’ (for a variety of reasons). Orgs will adapt – but so will funders. We’ve been talking about this for a while – the future lies in funding the vision – with partners – vs. trying to get others to fund a building (old capital campaign pitch).
  • Stimulus Money – I marvel at what this will do to the marketplace. Still don’t know. What I do know is A LOT of money has to be spent in a very short time and no one is really sure how that’s going to happen or who’s going to get it.

    Is your org applying for stimulus money? If so, email me ( I’m doing a little survey of orgs in this boat… going to aggregate info and share with respondents.