Beyond its award-winning beaches and abundant cultural attractions, Sarasota County has one more claim to fame. It’s overflowing with nonprofit organizations—2,154 of them, according to the Florida Nonprofit Alliance—making it among the top two or three counties in the entire U.S. for the number of nonprofits per capita.
That’s from Bob Carter, chairman of Sarasota-based Carter, whose 30-member team of consultants advises some four dozen nonprofits each year around the world on strategic planning, governance and fund-raising campaigns—everything from the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe’s recent $8 million Heart & Soul campaign to World Vision U.S.’s current $1 billion Every Last One campaign to eradicate extreme poverty across the globe.
That Sarasota ranks so high is a dubious honor, he points out, because there’s so much duplication of missions and programs here, and such heavy competition for philanthropic dollars.
So, with more than 2,100 choices—not to mention the 1,368 nonprofits in neighboring Manatee County—what’s a newcomer to our area, or a recent retiree with time on his hands, or a professional who wants to burnish her C.V. to do when they want to apply their knowledge, skills and dollars to help a local nonprofit?
“Giving is 90 percent emotional and 10 percent rational,” says Carter, who is chair-emeritus of the Association of Fund-Raising Professionals international board of directors. But there are measurements to guide you.