Arizona charity boom – Overlapping services compete for dollars

Phoenix is one of the 10 best cities in the U.S. in which to start a nonprofit, both prompting growth in the number of local charities and straining donors, the Phoenix Business Journal reported August 14.

The city was named in the top 10 in a study done by the Arizona State University Nonprofit Management Institute. The study considered how fast cities are growing, the results of United Way campaigns, ease of entry, government assistance, the number of fundraisers and nonprofit technology incubators.

The results are confirmed by local experience: in the last year, nearly 2,000 new nonprofits have registered to do business in Arizona, bringing the total to 25,627. Over the last two years, almost 4,000 new nonprofits have registered.

Arizona’s expanding population needs more charitable programs, experts say. The nonprofit boom means that many groups are providing overlapping services, however, and competing for a pool of charitable dollars that is not growing as fast.

Another problem is that many philanthropists want to start their own nonprofits rather than giving to existing organizations.

“There’s so many people and they think they have the greatest idea, and it’s a brand new idea,” nonprofit consultant Julia Winston told the Business Journal. The problem with that kind of thinking is that there are very few causes that aren’t already covered by an existing charity.

For the full story, go to Bizjournals.

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