Nonprofits joining forces to survive

By Laura Geller - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The rough economy is hitting nonprofits in our area, especially hard.  While resources are dwindling, the list of people in need is growing. So, these groups are changing how they help people. Those nonprofits say collaboration is now the only way they'll be able to help the many people who have hit hard times throughout Central Virginia.

That's why about fifty organizations will gather Thursday night to discuss what each one does, and how they can all work together, to do it even better.

It's a story you'll hear over and over again these days.

"We're having to work more with less," said The Bridge CDC director Joy Harris.

Nonprofits have growing client lists and fewer resources available.

"It's the disenfranchised, at risk youth, those with health issues, that we're serving," said Harris. "There's a lot of budget cuts, a lot of government funding that was available that's no longer available. We're also seeing a decline in volunteer activity just with people being inundated with their day to day lives."

It seems the challenges facing Richmond outweigh the individual organizations.  Sharing ideas, pooling resources and strengthening relationships to create groups of nonprofits is now pretty much the only practical answer.

"If a person over here has clientele who needs education as well as health services, those organizations can come together and service that client in a more effective way," said Harris.

Connect Richmond's Ryan Smartt, who will represent one of almost fifty aid organizations at Thursday night's networking event said, "They really are at the forefront. They are the eyes and the ears. They've got their feet on the ground with these people every single day."

Those charities are now optimistic the change of approach will help them meet their ultimate goal.

"It's really important to be innovative, be creative, be as effective as possible and use what you have to reach as many as possible," Harris said.

The networking event is Thursday night at Nacho Mama's Mechanicsville location at 7610 Left Flank Road. It goes from five to eight o'clock.

If you run a nonprofit or you're a volunteer looking to give your time, there's more space available. Just bring $10 and your ideas Thursday night.

c) 2009. WWBT, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.