Zero To Sixty Communications
LOS ANGELES, May 10, 2011 – Thriving communities resulting from better public services for more people, new civic infrastructure, and successful models for public and private partnerships are some of the benefits when organizations co-locate and share resources, according to a study released today by The NonprofitCenters Network, a program of Tides. This first-ever assessment of organizations sharing facilities in the US and Canada found that 86 percent of organizations housed in shared spaces experience significant improvements in their overall effectiveness and efficiency, which ultimately yield greater benefits for the communities they serve.
“In the current economic climate, proven cost-effective solutions that benefit dozens of organizations in one city or town are a real win-win,“ said China Brotsky, Senior Vice President of Tides.
“Measuring Collaboration: The Benefits and Impacts of Nonprofit Centers” study reveals two key types of outcomes resulting from facilities that house multiple organizations: direct benefits to resident organizations such as cost savings, and community economic and social benefits. The study’s findings reveal why nonprofit centers are effective models for large-scale social change and collaboration between nonprofits, government and business.
“Demand for these kinds of shared centers is on the rise,“ said Tamitha Walker, a Program Officer for The Kresge Foundation, one of the foundations that funded the study. “The increase in proposals from organizations interested in forming nonprofit centers prompted our need to understand their real benefits and impacts.”
Nonprofit centers are often buzzing central hubs defined by the needs of the communities in which they are located. Service centers typically bring together organizations such as health clinics, food banks, job training and other social services in one location to provide comprehensive care for community members. Service centers are able to leverage shared resources to serve more people and improve client services. Over half of the study’s participants report improvement in quality of services and almost forty percent increased the number of people they serve.
Other centers have a specific focus like the environment or the arts. Resident organizations in these centers often combine forces where they have common ground, yielding significant impacts such as vibrant cultural districts, greater civic participation and positive policy changes. Nonprofit centers have also been very successful in leveraging collaborative relationships with key leaders from local government and business in order to strengthen their communities.
“As a foundation that works to provide the nonprofit community with successful models of collaboration, we see nonprofit centers as a leading model for the future,” said Lois Savage, President of The Lodestar Foundation, which also funded the study.
Organizations housed in nonprofit centers typically gain access to higher quality facilities in better locations for up to 75 percent below market value. As a result, inclusion in a nonprofit center increases the visibility of resident organizations yielding greater community participation, access to funding and overall credibility. More than seventy percent of organizations in the study reported increased community awareness and credibility, while nearly 60 percent reported higher visibility to funders.
With results like this, securing a space in a nonprofit center can be highly competitive. Even in this economy, most centers have extremely low vacancy rates. Eighty percent of centers in this study maintain waiting lists. Many communities have just one or two centers to serve hundreds of community organizations. “This study highlights both a pressing need in our communities and a proven model for solving it,” said Ms. Brotsky. “We hope that public and private sector leaders will take this study and use it as a roadmap for a strategy that really works.”
“Measuring Collaboration: The Benefits and Impacts of Nonprofit Centers” is a commissioned research effort by Mt. Auburn Associates. Research methodology included a survey of nonprofit center directors and resident organizations, interviews and focus groups, plus five case studies. The full report summary can be found at www.nonprofitcenters.org/ImpactStudy.
Tides is a values-based, social change platform that leverages individual and institutional leadership and investment to positively impact local and global communities. Tides pursues multiple, related strategies to promote this mission. From green nonprofit centers to programmatic consulting, donor advised funds to fiscal sponsorship, grants management to risk management and more, Tides gives members of the nonprofit and philanthropic community freedom to focus on the change it wants to see. For more information on Tides visit www.tides.org.