Our view: Nonprofits that learn to ask for less from the government will be ahead of the game.

Those looking for a profession with the potential of plentiful employment opportunities might want to learn how to raise money for nonprofit organizations.

Diminishing government dollars have made this set of skills extremely valuable. The sooner that nonprofits learn government funding is disappearing and private-sector fundraising is essential, the better off they will be. This scenario is likely to prevail for years to come, so it”s imperative to change strategies.

Years ago, the late Councilor Coleen Jarvis told one local nonprofit in no uncertain terms that it will find itself in her bad graces, and without city support, if it doesn”t seek more funding on its own. The nonprofit heeded the warning, began structured fundraising and successfully increased its treasury. It wasn”t easy, but it was possible.

Local nonprofits aren”t cooling their heels when it comes to fundraising, but when there”s a reliance on government money, it”s easier to sit back.

We appreciate City Manager Dave Burkland”s hard line on nonprofit funding, including the reveled Artoberfest, which is a marketing campaign to promote Chico”s wonderful arts community.

Because of the squeaky nature of the city”s budget, Burkland recommended that the $30,000 the city gives to Artoberfest be halted.

Acknowledging Burkland”s perspective, the City Council still saw fit to provide $28,500, nearly what the organizer requested.

The program has been well received by the community, and is good fun. However, how much economic stimulus does it actually provide, other than paying for an activities guide and organizer?

We don”t know how many people are attracted from outside Chico, therefore providing the economic stimulation of buying gas, food, souvenirs and possibly lodging — money that wouldn”t otherwise be spent in Chico.

That”s the program with cultural events. It”s hard to track where those dollars come from and what they mean to the economy.

And there is also that underlying reasoning that this event indirectly supports the arts community, which in itself is a tourism attraction.

We”re not picking on Artoberfest. There are dozens of nonprofits that ask for city help. But all of them can be valuable with other kinds of funding — from the private sector. It”s just about changing perspective.

As the demand for more city services like police and fire protection grows with the population, and money dwindles, it only makes sense that the city has to cut back or turn down funding.

Nonprofit organizations that look to the city should keep that in mind because this economy and available funding aren”t going to improve soon.

blog comments powered by Disqus