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Creating Happy Endings For an All-Too-Common Nonprofit Story

Posted Jan 11, 2012 09:10 AM
Once upon a time, a nonprofit staff member got stumped in their job, but didn’t know where outside of their organization to turn. Ever happened to you? If so, you’re in good company. Click through to learn more about the origins of the Information & Referral program here at 501 Commons...

Once upon a time, a nonprofit staff member got stumped in their job, but didn’t know where outside of their organization to turn. Ever happened to you?  If so, you’re in good company. The reality is, this “story” plays out everyday and across the state for countless colleagues. Knowing this, you start to see why a central place for information and referrals is so important to our state’s nonprofit sector.

A late 2009 Giving Practice report – funded by seven Northwest foundations – came to the same conclusion. It found that “One of the essential [nonprofit] ecosystem elements is a trusted source of information and referral to capacity-building services. None of the [WA State] community hubs we looked at had such a system, and it was mentioned as a high priority in King County in particular.”

Recognizing the need, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Campion Foundation, Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, The Seattle Foundation, and Social Venture Partners stepped up to back 501 Commons’ Statewide Nonprofit Resource Directory. Launched earlier this year, the online Directory connects you with:

  • Approved consultants and other service providers who specialize in nonprofits, like NPower Northwest
  • Tools & best practices
  • “Best of the web” links
  • Featured events
  • Statewide map of discounted venues

In future posts, I’ll hone in on different aspects of the Directory and how they can help you do your job more effectively. For now, remember: You have a “first stop” for questions. Save yourself time by starting your search with the Directory.

Still stumped?  Then email me (matt@501commons.org) or give us a call (206-682-6704). Over the years, we’ve done at least 1,500 projects with Washington State nonprofits, schools, and government agencies and have pretty much seen it all. Chances are we'll have an idea of where to turn next.

- Matt Fikejs, Information & Referral Program Manager