Thursday, February 04, 2010 Needs Your Help

If you are reading this blog you must be interested in the nonprofit – or if you prefer – community benefit sector. And then you MUST have heard about and probably have visited In my work I sometimes help nonprofits with an executive search including developing a job description, advertising the job and working through the selection/hiring process. It has been the case 100% of the time that well qualified and the most candidates respond through

For anyone who has looked for a job or needed to fill a job in this sector Idealist is the go to website. Idealist also runs nonprofit job and volunteer fairs in cities throughout the country and provides a huge nonprofit resource database. I was proud to contribute two of my blog articles to Idealist’s project in October - a daily blog for Nonprofit Career Month.

Well it turns out that 70% of the funding for Idealist came from charging a mere $60 to post a job ad on their site. And as we all know there was a lot less of that in 2009. Idealist has done the kind of cost cutting which has become commonplace for all of us but still was running about $100K in the hole every month in 2009.

They were about to hit the wall, when Ami Dar, founder and Executive Director, decided to bring his cause directly to us – the people who benefit from Idealist. Idealist has 70,000 visits a day just to put it in perspective. It is a 501c(3) but they have not really reached out for individual donations before this. Now they need our help.

The goal is to raise $500K so that they will have some breathing room as they rework their earned income model. If you have ever used Idealist, you know how valuable it is to the nonprofit community. I encourage you to contribute now to keep this nonprofit resource jewel alive and well. None of us want to see it disappear. You can read more about the appeal and Donate Now here:

Visit the Idealist website to see the appeal update and to Donate Now

Lessons to Learn
There are a couple of lessons to be learned by this real life example.

Lesson #1: Even a big organization can get in trouble by putting too many eggs in one basket. 70% from job ads? None from individual donors? Ami – What were you thinking – You probably have personally advised nonprofits against such a model.

Lesson #2: Idealist had a deep email list, a strong social networking presence and outstanding website development skills. They launched their first ever individual giving campaign using all of these in concert with each other and within a week 4383 people have donated over $146,000. Can social networking work for nonprofits? You bet it can but you have to have your ducks in a row and be prepared before you make a serious launch. And, oh, please note they are NOT using Causes on Facebook.

I KNOW that Idealist will survive and recover but lets all do our part to make it happen.


1 comment:

Ami Dar said...

Thanks so much Marion! And yes, we tried to get funding from other sources, buy it was incredibly challenging, so we focused on the jobs. Learned our lesson :-) Thank you!