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All Boats Rise: Lifting Up the Nonprofit Sector

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of hearing Vu Le of Nonprofit AF address the Rocky Mountain Philanthropy Institute on the topic of “Ending the Nonprofit Hunger Games.” In addition to lots of slides with adorable baby animals, Vu shared some important ideas about how nonprofits are stuck in a competitive cycle with one another for funding and attention.

I couldn’t agree more.

Funding streams are, by their very nature, highly competitive. And, culturally, we seem to value the idea of competition above collaboration.

Here are Front Range Source we are of an abundance mentality. We believe that when the tide rises, all boats do in fact rise. 

After all, the missions of nonprofits are not siloed.

We all know that education, hunger, housing, health, poverty, peace, environmental stability are interconnected. In order to truly make the change we wish to see in the world, we need one another.

How would it be if we lifted one another up more deliberately? If we refused to buy into the competitive mindset? If we made the case for more cooperation?

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Invite a representative from another nonprofit to attend a funder site visit to vouch for your organization and then do the same for them.
  • Feature another nonprofit in your newsletter.
  • Help spread the word about other nonprofits through Social Media.
  • Invite board members from another organization to meet with your board and talk about how you can work together more closely.
  • Share resources whenever possible. For example, invite another nonprofit to attend a professional development program you’ve arrange for your staff.

As Vu said at our conference, think about the long-term wellbeing of your community, not just your nonprofit.

I’d wager you’re already doing a lot of these things. I see how nonprofits help each other all the time. Let’s continue to lift each other up. Let’s talk about the health of our sector as a whole and figure out how we can advance all of us together.

Here’s a challenge: Do ONE thing in the next 10 days to help another nonprofit reach a funder or a broader audience. Let’s get that tide to rise!


Image by conolan from Pixabay


  1. Bill Friedeman says:

    This very accurately pertains to the work we are doing here.
    Bill Friedeman

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