Volunteer to Sustain Cape Cod Expo 2005:

Community Reaction to 
the "Joint Venture Cape Cod" Idea

Page 1

 

 

Community Reaction to the "Joint Venture Cape Cod" Idea

 

Comments on the 2005 Volunteer to Sustain Cape Cod EXPO

 

Page 1:    Opening    Reception, Grille 16

 

Page 2: CD Launch, Hyport Brewery; Breakfast, Four Points Sheraton; Training Sessions

 

Page 3:  Volunteer to Sustain Cape Cod EXPO; EXPO  Participation 

 

Page 4:  EXPO Generally

 

 

 

 

The Center for Sustainability hosted a dinner to which it invited 45 people of different responsibilities, perspectives, and interests regarding the purposes and operations of nonprofit enterprises. Our purpose in assembling the group had to do with our interest in the general notion of community "capacity building," a goal of the center.  We hoped the gathering would foster discussions and ideas about this topic that might lead to specific action.

The Center relies on collaborations with other established nonprofit businesses, institutions, and individuals as the means by which we gather sufficient resources to engage in our program activities. We are looking very closely now at how to best receive input and interact effectively with others to expand the capacity of the Cape's nonprofit sector. 

The discussions started at the dinner have continued since in several contexts. Emerging from this feedback is the point that there is no consistent view regarding how best to expand the sector's capacity. And there is also no consensus as to whether there is in fact a problem to be solved although the recent report by MassINC about the nonprofit sector is still being read and its conclusions interpreted.

The desire we have expressed to encourage collaboration as a means with which to effectively reduce operational costs and increase revenue is not an idea that we are presenting in a way that people easily understand. While there is courteous interest, there is also a great deal of skepticism. We have yet to give the general idea enough detail to allow people to support or dismiss it.

The dinner "program" encouraged people to offer their suggestions and ideas about collaborations. Many of the responses since have suggested that nonprofits need to look more closely at combining rather than collaborating. These responses suggest that there is no economic or social benefit to be gained by propping up nonprofit businesses that are unable to adapt themselves to changing economic or other circumstances.

The findings presented in the recently released MassINC study support an ironic interpretation: If the percentage of the region's overall economy that makes up the nonprofit sector is rising significantly as measured in dollars and employment, does that not suggest that the situation is actually quite robust for nonprofits? 

The following page contain comments about nonprofits' collaborating that we have received since the dinner meeting took place. We hope that publishing these comments will encourage others to send us their thoughts on this subject. --Allen Larson 

 


Mary K. Pratt, "Fiscal worries not lone issue among NPOs," Boston Business Journal, May 2, 2005.

George T. Dillon and Matthew M. Wilkins, "True Sustainability, A New Model to Aid Non-Profits in Developing Self-Sustaining Revenue Streams," Advocatus, Giving a Voice to Those Who Have None, May 2005.

 

        

 

(More comments will be posted as they accumulate.) 

 

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February 25, 2006