Things have not changed.
People working in the non-profit see the scarcity, the lack, and the need for more, greater, better, and bigger. They tend to compete for the small pie that is handed out to them by the donors, funders, and whoever holds the purse. It is a game where the small gets smaller and the big gets bigger. When you think that with all the goodness in the sector, cooperation is not normal; scarcity mentality drives brazen competition.
What drives the non-profits to compete? What led to divisive, turfing wars prevalent among them?
To keep the staff, to keep the programs going, to keep the funders happy, to keep the status quo? What is the fall out? Who doesn’t get the pie and who folded up sooner than later? These do not get published but whispered around.
Good competition is good. Bad competition is bad. It is always a race to the bottom. It kills everyone on its path.
If you are small, nobody wants you, you don’t get picked. That is the reality. But smallness is a perspective. Scarcity is a perspective. The small to you is not small to the people and communities that subscribe to them and hold them as part of their tribe. It may be cliché sounding but it is true, the worth of an organization is not based on their net worth but their network.
I take the blue ocean perspective - that success comes not from battling competition but by creating untapped new market spaces for growth. The social sector needs blue ocean, not a sea of red. Making the sea red is not the way to live for social good. We need to create our own blue ocean because at the end of the day, we owe it up to the people we seek to serve. If there is thriving not sinking, the sector will be healthy, whole, and more powerful.
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