North Texas non-profit sector growth rate surprises experts

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by JOBIN PANICKER

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WFAA

Posted on December 28, 2012 at 9:01 PM

DALLAS -- A 2011 report by the Center For Nonprofit Management shows a staggering 28,105 non-profits working in North Texas; a 45 percent increase from three years ago.

Center president Cynthia Nunn said more people feel they have a new way of serving the community.

She doesn't rule out that the unemployed are trying to open up non-profits, but she said what this does is create competition.

“There are more of us looking for donors and dollars, and therefore that gets diluted, because there is more of us to fund,” Nunn said.

Nunn said more non-profits should mean better services to address the need, but she admitted duplicating a service can have drawbacks.

She stresses asking these questions: “Is there anybody already doing that work? Can I communicate with them? Collaborate with them and bring a new strategy to them?" Nunn said. "And do more powerful work in an organization that already exists?”

Nunn said most of the new non-profits are small with few employees and fewer resources. But bigger firms, like the American Red Cross, are taking this increase as a positive, and it has to do with partnering.

“Even though some of us do similar activities, we're much more efficient and can send the donor dollar a lot further down the road because we work together,” said Anita Foster with the Red Cross.

It's music to Nunn's ears.

“Probably in the last 12-to-15 years, we've been waiting on the resurgence of the word 'merger' and 'strategic alliance,'” she said.

Nonprofits have accounted for $28 billion in economic impact, and that trend is also expected to go up.

E-mail jpanicker@wfaa.com

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