Inside Philanthropy

A blog on philanthropy and nonprofit news and issues. A publication of Philanthropy Journal.

November 5, 2007

Nonprofits and givers are unsung heroes

The charitable marketplace represents a big and rapidly growing sector of the U.S. economy, and plays a critical role in efforts to address urgent needs and their causes.

Sadly, that marketplace operates below the radar of much of the American public and media.

And while they are well aware of the role nonprofits play, government, organized philanthropy and individual givers too often view nonprofits as supplicants, a secondary role many nonprofits are only too willing to accept.

Their work is essential for fixing what is wrong in our communities, yet too many nonprofits operate with weak organizations and clueless boards, and they often get mired in clawing for turf instead of simply figuring out how to do their job more effectively.

Equally stuck in business as usual are foundations, which too often become so smitten with an unearned sense of their own self-importance that they fail to see, understand or respond to nonprofits’ ongoing need for support to run their operations, build their organizations and work to fix the flawed public policies at the root social problems.

To raise awareness of nonprofits and increase volunteerism and other forms of giving, a coalition of groups throughout North Carolina in November is celebrating Nonprofit Awareness Month.

In addition to raising awareness about the role nonprofits play, Nonprofit Awareness Month also aims to increase volunteerism and giving in the state.

The month-long effort will include reaching out to local elected officials and local news media, recognizing volunteers and staging events such as a “virtual nonprofit shutdown” to underscore local nonprofits’ impact on their communities.

Next: Nonprofits’ impact


  • At 1:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    To build awareness, nonprofits should clearly define their mission and vision then share them with the public and the marketplace.

    Their ability to demonstrate the role they play in meeting the needs of the community will determine the increase in public awareness. Nonprofits need to show their impact on those they serve and the win-win it creates both today and tomorrow in the community.

    Nonprofits can take awareness to the next level by developing strategic partnerships with the business community. While strategic partnerships improve the nonprofit’s financial status, businesses also find strategic partnerships can improve their bottom line by identifying with specific causes.

    The partnerships will also increase awareness amongst employees which then opens the door to potential volunteers. In fact, many businesses promote volunteerism because of the positive impact it has on employee performance.


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