Opinion

Bainbridge nonprofits may need to reinvent themselves | In Our Opinion | June 11

One of the negative effects of a recession on an altruistic community such as a Bainbridge Island is that as local, state and federal monies dry up there’s a correlative increase in fundraising pressure to keep the established events and institutions afloat. And, of course, while competition escalates among those seeking help, people have fewer dollars to give despite the need being greater.

Most nonprofits are feeling the crunch during a time that’s probably serving a culling purpose, where the strong survive and the weak need to reinvent themselves to stay alive. Bainbridge has more than 300 registered nonprofits, but don’t be surprised if some merge to avoid failure. Some nonprofit veterans will argue that it’s healthy to prune the trees a bit, and that’s certainly happening throughout the country these days at all levels.

The more established charitable organizations that provide critical human services seem to be holding their own, perhaps because they were able to establish reserve funds. Staying relevant for a community is never easy, but, like any business, longevity helps.

One Call for All certainly fits that category, as does the Rotary Auction, which, through 50 years of hard work and a little bit of luck, has created an event that boasts a fundraising formula unparalleled in its indefatigability. The year-to-year net income has dropped a tick, perhaps, but the popularity of this one-day event shows no signs of decline. In fact, it continues to thrive.

But that’s an exception these days. Annual events such as the Grand Old 4th of July (and its ancillary, the July 3rd Street Dance) are examples of celebrations struggling to stay afloat that, while not philanthropic in nature, are important to the community. They, like many nonprofits, have made adjustments either in finding new funding sources or streamlining their organizations, or a combination of the two.

The good news is that islanders genuinely care and understand the value of neighborly giving. So, yes, there’s hope.

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