From The Board of Directors
We are writing to report on the findings of the community process that was undertaken this summer by The Nonprofit Center task force. As you may recall, the Board convened a group of community stakeholders who had an interest in preserving the mission of this valuable community resource. This group was charged with exploring the needs of the nonprofit sector, assessing the viability of delivering those services and making a recommendation to the Board on how to proceed. We thank all who participated in our stakeholder meetings and/or filled out the survey. Your time and your thoughtful and honest feedback are appreciated.
From June through September the task force met four times, convened three gatherings of stakeholders and conducted a community-wide survey of the nonprofit sector. They also researched other organizations with missions similar to that of The Nonprofit Center that are successfully operating in other communities. The task force concluded that the greatest area of need was among smaller organizations, and this conclusion was supported by conversations with regional funders. For smaller nonprofits, the most valued and most-needed services are:
- Education and Training to support managers, staff, board chairs, and board members.
- Convening and Connecting individuals and organizations with similar interests, for example, executive director roundtables, grant writers, or organizations that could potentially partner on grants or projects.
- Offering Referrals to high quality service providers and experts who have been screened.
- Back Office Services such as financial, legal, human resource and IT services.
The need for these services appears to exist in Kitsap and Thurston counties as well as Pierce County. The task force recommended two possible courses of action to the board:
- Rebuild and rebrand the organization, focusing on the four areas of high-need identified above. This option would require the infusion of significant start-up capital and the recruitment of highly dynamic and visionary management and board leadership.
- Responsibly close The Nonprofit Center to allow the mission to be carried on by other interested parties in the community. This option would require the board to be conscientious about ensuring the well-being of current clients and protecting any assets of the organization so that they can be handed off to another organization serving the needs of the nonprofit sector.
After careful and deliberate consideration the board has decided that the course of action that will best advance the mission of serving the nonprofit sector and the communities we serve is to formally dissolve The Nonprofit Center. We will be taking steps over the next few weeks to do so responsibly and ask for your support and understanding throughout this process. The Nonprofit Center has added significant value to the Puget Sound nonprofit community and this is of course a direct result of the dedicated, committed and passionate past and current staff, volunteers, and community members who have so generously donated their time, sweat and tears for this vital mission over the years. The board wishes to thank everyone who has been involved with The Nonprofit Center.
For those agencies currently being served by Center staff for your financial services, Alan Strand and Christine Garst will continue to provide nonprofit bookkeeping services. Their professional and knowledgeable services will continue to be an asset for the nonprofit sector and we thank them for their contributions. Alan can be contacted at www.notforprofitaccounting.net and firstname.lastname@example.org. Christine can be contacted at email@example.com.
Despite the challenges facing all of us and The Nonprofit Center these past few months, we are heartened by the task force process. It brought to light the significant level of community engagement and energy for the continuation of nonprofit capacity building services to exist in the south Sound. It is the sincere hope of the board and the task force that this positive energy will result in other organizations and individuals stepping up to rebuild, recreate and find solutions for improving the capacity of the nonprofit sector to make our communities better places to live, work and play.
We are confident that leadership will emerge from those who expressed a desire to continue this mission into the future and we encourage you to be an active participant in whatever should develop. Thank you for your continued support during this time and for sharing your thoughts, opinions and expertise.
The nonprofit sector has a proud past in this region and makes a significant impact in all of our lives. We are confident in the resiliency, passion and determination that exist in our South Puget Sound nonprofit sector.
Dave Petrich, Board President
Joe Lawless Board Vice-President and Task Force Chair