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I need 4 paragraphs reviewing the following proposal. Giving feedback on the proposal and topic. POSITIVE Feedback only.

IB Capstone

Title

Moving Beyond Charity: Building toward Collectivized Fundraising and Leadership in Nonprofits

Introduction

The nonprofit landscape is a diverse sector consisting of various industries; education, medicine, agriculture, and human rights for example. In Streetsmart Financial Basics for Nonprofit Managers, Thomas A. McLaughlin (1995) divides the sector into six types of organizations: direct service providers, information managers, resources distribution, support and development providers, grant makers or funders, and social organizations. While standards, culture, and policy can be specific to a type of organization such as information managers, or even more specifically an industry like higher education, a defining measure of success across the sector is an organization’s ability to fulfill its mission.

An organization’s ability to successfully achieve its mission is a multifaceted goal. To do so an organization must secure appropriate leadership, ensure proper governance, build and evaluate programs, plan effectively, and execute a host of activities. At the foundation of it all is the organization’s ability to acquire revenue at the level needed to maintain the organization’s activities. Every organization must find some way to attract revenue.

An organization’s total revenue is usually comprised of a blend of revenue sources. In fact, a characteristic of a fiscally healthy organization is revenue diversity, meaning the organization’s total revenue is comprised of smaller sums of revenue from a number of other sources. Typical revenue sources include grants from foundations or government agencies, fees for services which includes program or social enterprise revenue, contracts (usually furnished by the government), investment income, and individual contributions. All funds are categorized broadly by the entity that bestows the capital as either restricted: designated for a specific program, project, or initiative; or unrestricted: funds able to support any organizational need.

While it can be easily argued that all income is a benefit, unrestrict income is coveted as it is able to be applied to overhead costs that may not be covered by programmatic grants or other restricted funds. As public opinion slowly moves from the idea that nonprofits should exists on barebones “low overhead” budgets to the realization that nonprofit organizations are mission driven businesses strengthened by investments in staff development, fundraising, and other management initiatives (National Council of Nonprofits, 2013) many sources of income still heavily restrict spending in these areas. Research shows individual giving tends to be the least restrictive, allowing revenue from these contributions to support the general functioning of an organization.

Problem Statement

In examining individual organizations there are a host of factors that contribute to the way the organization decides on a plan for fundraising, from its size, to political position or values, to simply the expertise and preferences of the professionals in the development seats. However in examining the sector by types of organizations some patterns seem to emerge. Particular categories of nonprofits, such as universities which would be considered the information managers type and social organizations such as sororities/fraternities view their constituent base as natural potential donors. These types of organizations actively solicit donations from and seek to involve their constituent base in fundraising activities, for instance university wide giving campaigns and membership dues. Where as other types of organizations such as service organizations and resource distribution agencies like food pantries or child and family centers see their constituents as strictly those they provide services to, not potential donors or as people to call on to support fundraising or development efforts.

What we know is that as nonprofit organizations work to produce social benefit they need both capital and community buy-in. Students would not attend a university if they did not believe the institution valued education. Parents would not enroll their child in a community center if they did not believe it provided a safe and enriching environment for their child. Nonprofit organizations depend on capital from funders and confidence from community and with that they make decisions about how to steward the money and the mission. Organizations seek capital through fundraising, grant writing, and development efforts and buy-in through community or stakeholder engagement activities such as open houses or special events.

Organizations are under pressure to ensure they bring revenue into their business to serve constituencies. However the most effective models show us that the best approach to social change is to seek guidance and direction from those most affected by the work or the issue that necessitates the work (Wolff 2019). A more sustainable alternative could exist in collectiving the social benefit goal. For example, moving from a question of “How does organization X raise money, resources, and staff to provide emergency food support to community Y?” and moving to the question of “How does organization X and Community Y leverage their strengths to ensure community Y has food support?” In this model the community and organization work as partners, community resources support work that benefits the community, and community members transform their role within the organization to one of decision making power and leadership. This is steps above engagement or participation efforts or small “community committees” this relationship requires a shift in power within the organization from executives to community. This way community members and organization staff collectively contributing to the sustainability of the organization.

Research Question

This research will examine organizations’ willingness to engage community members as leadership partners in fundraising and also in decision making. Based on current practices of the organization, we will address the questions, at what levels do organizations currently feel comfortable extending fundraising partnership to community? At what levels do organizations currently feel comfortable extending decision making partnership to community? What correlation exists between the two? How does the type of organization or industry influence the attitudes toward partnership? What barriers currently exists to fully embracing collectivism as a sustainability strategy?

Methodology

Surveys

Surveys are to be administered to development professionals working at all types of nonprofits across the Greater Philadelphia area. In larger organizations, with development departments or specific development staff surveys will be targeted to the chief development executive, or in cases of smaller organizations the executive director. The surveys are to focus on community involvement in two key domains, (1) current fundraising activities and (2) current decision making activities. Surveys will focus on eight degrees of involvement (Wolff 2019) which range from manipulation to community initiated- shared decision making with agencies, to identify if correlation exists between the level of fundraising and decision making involvement.

Case Study

This research will seek to illuminate attitudes in relation to the execution of moving toward collectivism. The case study is to examine an organization that is value aligned and theoretically poised to move toward collective work. In this we can examine the barriers that arise via practice.

Secondary Source Review

Part of this research is to include a review of current literature and tool kits for nonprofit organizations aimed to create social change. This review is to examine if the current literature address the current attitudes and practices.

Literature Review

This research is multifaceted and there are a number of things current literature can illuminate in relation to this issue. Reviewing the scholarship available on three main areas of focus that contributes to the need for this research (1) the current data on nonprofit and funder across the Greater Philadelphia area. In larger organizations, with development departments or specific development staff surveys will be targeted to the chief development executive, or in cases of smaller organizations the executive director. The surveys are to focus on community involvement in two key domains, (1) current fundraising activities and (2) current decision making activities. Surveys will focus on eight degrees of involvement (Wolff 2019) which range from manipulation to community initiated- shared decision making with agencies, to identify if correlation exists between the level of fundraising and decision making involvement.

Case Study

This research will seek to illuminate attitudes in relation to the execution of moving toward collectivism. The case study is to examine an organization that is value aligned and theoretically poised to move toward collective work. In this we can examine the barriers that arise via practice.

Secondary Source Review

Part of this research is to include a review of current literature and tool kits for nonprofit organizations aimed to create social change. This review is to examine if the current literature address the current attitudes and practices.

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