If you and your neighbors have been working on a project to improve your community, the idea that you should turn your informal group into a formal nonprofit has likely come up. That’s understandable, since there are good reasons for some groups to do so.
But for other groups—especially small ones just starting out—incorporating can be unnecessary, even counterproductive. In some cases, it can be such a drain of time and money that it actually deprives communities of the very services the group is working to provide!
Continue reading 501(c)3 or informal groups? Why going nonprofit is not always good for grassroots groups
Thanks very much to Shannon Dixon and Janis Foster Richardson for this thoughtful piece about the transformation of civic life in communities across the U.S.
They write, “As asserted by Robert Putnam in his much discussed work Bowling Alone and in subsequent writings, Americans are less socially and politically engaged now than 30 years ago. However, are these new forms of connection shifting that trend? For funders that prioritize civic engagement, this topic has relevance. Often this work is being done by informal groups of citizens. Sometimes this work needs an infusion of cash, and funders can certainly provide that ingredient. Members of the Grassroots Grantmakers’ network have experience funding informal groups (non 501c3) and our white paper details how (forthcoming to www.grassrootsgrantmakers.org).” There’s a lot to learn from this interesting report on the landscape; click here to read it.
Oh, and Grassroots Grantmakers, we’re looking forward to that white paper on funding informal groups.