There is an interesting piece in the Chronicle of Philanthropy by Mark Rosenman about the growing wealth gap between large and small charities.
I agree with a lot of what Mark is saying, but I think there’s always been a large stratification in our sector. Fundraisers used to talk about the 80/20 rule—that is, 80 percent of your funding coming from 20 percent of your donor base. And with a lot of organizations, that ratio is now more often like 90/10.
Similarly, we’ve often used that sort of ratio for understanding where charitable dollars go—in other words, about 80 percent of all charitable funding going to the largest 20 percent of charitable organizations. Again, it wouldn’t surprise me to learn that the ratio is now closer to 90/10.
AFP serves the entire profession and sector, and as such we have members in both large and small organizations, and from across all subsectors. There is a core of knowledge and training that a fundraiser from any kind of charity needs, and over the last 50 years we have worked hard to provide those basics.
But each kind of organization also brings different perspectives and nuances that AFP has to address too. These differing needs become even more important during difficult economic times with increasing competition for the charitable dollars. That’s why we’ve developed new membership categories for large and small charities, and are developing programs for small-shop fundraisers, as well as resources for specific sub sectors.
Given the grassroots nature of many charities, the stratification of resources in our sector isn’t going anyway anytime soon. So we have to address the varying needs of different fundraisers. AFP has been doing so in earnest, and with new technology such as our website and powerful new database, will continue to do so in even more effective ways.
If there are specific needs that you and/or your organization would like to see AFP address, post here or send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org). I’d love to hear from you.