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11.07.14 -
After working in the nonprofit field for the past twenty years, I have come to some conclusions. We need less nonprofits. I worked on a very refreshing project this past year—helping the Buffalo Christian Center communicate their plan to close. After discovering the enormous amount it would take to update their building, they asked themselves: Do we need to be doing what we are doing if others can do it just as well—or better?

At the same time I worked on this project, I begged another group that I worked with to merge with a like missioned organization, but they refused. Unfortunately, the organization continues to struggle.

Nonprofit organizations generally resist closure, maybe because they're usually founded by people with a vision and a desire to serve the public. Yet, sometimes closing is the right choice.

"I can think of a dozen nonprofits that should close their doors”, said Nancy Hall, who teaches nonprofit management at Johns Hopkins and consults to nonprofit organizations. “Some actually have decent programs that could be moved to a larger agency, maintaining quality while reducing overhead expense. These nonprofits can best fulfill their mission by going out of business.”

When an entrepreneur starts a business, he knows that at some point the company might be acquired by a larger entity. Acquisition or merger is cause for champagne and celebration. The entrepreneur happily goes on to start another enterprise.

When suggested that a nonprofit be absorbed by another entity, it is viewed as failure, with tears and hand wringing.

(On the other hand, if it is an issue of capacity building, there are resources out there for you. We can point you in the right direction.) Nonprofits are started for many reasons. If a nonprofit is created around a specific problem, should it continue after the issue is addressed? If a nonprofit is launched to demonstrate innovative programming, should it carry on if another can replicate the program at a lower cost?

Certainly, questions to consider.

If your nonprofit's financial health fails and its program quality declines, it may be best if you accept the idea of closure before it's a last-gasp necessity. Shutting down a nonprofit involves several stages — some of them formally defined and some of them merely good practices.

Unfortunately—but fortunately—Buffalo now has some folks who can coach you through this process. If your group is thinking about closing, or merging, you will need to communicate this properly. You will need a plan.

It is a lot to think about. I commend the Buffalo Christian Center for their vision…and wonder if some more groups may benefit from their actions. Contact us if you want more information.

Most importantly, how can we help you?

Contact us today at (or 208-1064) if you want more information.

About Tracy Diina Communications
Tracy Diina Communications provides PR and fundraising support for non-profits and small businesses who need big time results. We provide personal, mission driven attention to your organization, using our experience in issues development, communications and non-profit management. And remember…at Tracy Diina Communications, all work is totally catered to the individual client so once an organization's needs are fully fleshed out, we will determine what package we can create that will be the best fit for you!

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