Idealist.org needs your help to survive. Do you need more reasons to go donate now
? Here's one.
Five years ago, I was a website consultant to nonprofits. I had an idea -- hey, someone should do reviews and information about nonprofit software that all organizations can benefit from! -- and I talked to a bunch of people to see if the idea had legs.
One of the people I spoke with was Ami Dar, the Executive Director of Idealist. I don't even know how I connected with him -- did I cold call him? He's exactly the type of person who's genuinely nice enough and helpful enough to take a call from a miscellaneous person with questions.
He had a lot of useful thoughts and insights about the idea that was to become Idealware, but he said one thing in particular that I've never forgotten, and has proven true over and over. He said (and I'm paraphrasing here): "The more you try to support all nonprofits, everywhere, the less likely you are to get funding."
It's completely counter-intuitive, but true. I think it's the same phenomenon as the Bystander Effect
-- the idea that someone is less likely to help someone in trouble if there's a bunch of people also there. Nonprofits like Idealist help so many people that it never seems to a donor as specific or pressing a thing to support as other causes. It's easy to understand -- for instance, your local job fair clinic in Boston is right there, and you know it doesn't have a big pool of donors. If you live in Kentucky, it's easy to see why you should support a site targeted to help people in rural areas find jobs.
But this reasoning is faulty when it comes to critical organizations like Idealist. They provide job fair clinics in Boston... and dozens of other locations. They help people in rural area find jobs... along with hundreds of thousands of others. They're one of the pieces of infrastructure by which the nonprofit sector works, and just like any organization, if they can't get support, they go under.
Which is in danger of happening now. One of their principle income sources was from job listings, and job listings, as you can imagine, are not what they used to be.
Do you want Idealist to survive? Would you be bummed if they were gone? Then don't wait for other people to support them. Go donate yourself.