The nonprofit sector now encompasses 1.5 million organizations, from universities to hospitals to environmental groups. Human services organizations alone account for nearly one-third of public charities.
With so much choice, donors tend to consider two questions as they decide where to invest philanthropic dollars: What are the donor’s philanthropic goals? What makes an effective nonprofit—its effectiveness is the degree to which a potential grantee delivers results over time?
To a significant extent, a nonprofit’s effectiveness depends on your goals as a donor. For you, effectiveness will mean delivering results on issues you deem important. That being said, in this article, Exponent Philanthropy addresses five qualities and characteristics common to effective nonprofits.
Keep in mind: Effective nonprofits—and those having the potential to be effective—often are underfinanced and stretched to their limits. Many worthy nonprofits suffer cash flow problems; poorly developed finance, management, and fundraising systems; and inadequate training of board and staff in essential skills. If you are open to strengthening those organizations aligned with your goals, then huge opportunities can emerge for you as a donor.
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