Colorado Nonprofits Should Think Football, not Golf

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Teamwork, not independence, will deepen the investments given to nonprofits


Depending on the source, the number of charitable nonprofits in Colorado stands between 12,000 (says the Colorado Secretary of State) and more than 20,000 (according to the Colorado Nonprofit Association). These organizations garner attention and apply billions of dollars a year to vital work ranging from environmental advocacy and homeless services to addiction recovery, youth support and much more.

But there’s a problem: too often, charities operate in silos. They excel at their chosen missions, but in general do so independently and without enough focus on the bigger picture. 

In comparing this to the world of sports, nonprofits often act like golfers, athletes who, for the most part, operate independently of the competition. They might express their tally in terms of meals served or college scholarships promised, but such metrics are often narrow.

However, when they’re operating independently – though doing great work in their specialties – they don’t have a sense of how they could multiply their impact by fitting their contributions with those of other nonprofits. And, they often fail to see how help from outside strategic coordination and investments could further their impact.

Laura McGetrick