I currently read an article that states that Gov. Jerry Brown just signed a bill that would allow non-profits to run state parks rather than letting those parks close. I understand the desperation of the economic crisis that is plaguing our treasury, but I can’t help but wonder the impact this will have in other areas.
On the LosGatosPatch.com, editor Sheila Sanchez reports that, “Assemblyman Jared Huffman’s Assembly Bill 42 authorizes the California Department of Parks and Recreation to enter into agreements with the nonprofits… Seventy state parks are scheduled to close next summer because of the state budget deficit.”
“Particularly in these tough economic times, creative public/private partnerships are an essential tool in providing ongoing protection of, and continued access to, these treasured public assets. As we struggle to address California’s state budget deficit, I will continue to work to protect funding for state parks,” commented Huffman.
If the government is willing to release control of recreational parks into the public sector, does this mean that other areas will follow such as county hospitals, food stamps, public transportation and foster care? Would that be so bad? The good thing about non-profits is how frugal they are with their spending; that may be a step up from government controlled agencies. However, how would the government allocate taxpayer money to these agencies and would government based projects get more privileges? Also, how would the government decide which charities would be able to take over certain government run agencies? With separation of church and state, would specific groups be left out of the pool?
So, I’m probably putting the cart before the horse with all of those questions, but I think that this is a curious topic that we haven’t seen the end of. Economists are conflicted about what part of the bell curve this recession is on, so who knows how many more non-profits will be impacted by government decisions and their “creative public/private partnerships?”
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“The theory of the Long Tail is that our culture and economy is increasingly shifting away from a focus on a relatively small number of “hits” (mainstream products and markets) at the head of the demand curve and toward a huge number of niches in the tail. As the costs of production and distribution fall, especially online, there is now less need to lump products and consumers into one-size-fits-all containers. In an era without the constraints of physical shelf space and other bottlenecks of distribution, narrowly-targeted goods and services can be as economically attractive as mainstream fare.” -Chris Anderson, Chief Editor of Wired Magazine
If you walk into Walmart or Target today, you will find yourself surrounded by “hit” products. Best-sellers will be proudly displayed and the Top 100 albums on the Billboard charts will appear in abundance. These stores stock only items that are likely to be hits because shelf space is a precious commodity and can’t be wasted on low-selling items. All of these “hit” items fall into the Head category, the red section of the graph above. The Head consists of a small number of items sell large quantities.
There was a time when the only selection you could buy was what was available in the Head. The internet revolution changed all that. Online retailers can stock millions of products in niche areas for little to no additional cost. They found that there’s a lot of money to be made in the long tail, selling low quantities of niche items that were once inaccessible.
As an Amazon employee cleverly put it: “We sold more books today that didn’t sell at all yesterday than we sold today of all the books that did sell yesterday.”
Fundraising isn’t so different from retail sales. In the past, fundraisers focused on the large donors – the Head section – and put most of their efforts into cultivating large donors. The shift to online fundraising is letting nonprofits tap into the Long Tail, donors who weren’t big enough to worry about until now.
There’s a lot of money to be made in the “Long Tail”. You may have a few hundred donors who will donate over $25,000 each, but you can certainly find a few thousand donors who will donate $10 each. It’s small, but it adds up.
Let Fundly help you tap into the Long Tail of fundraising by setting you up with an effective online donation form and leveraging the Social Multiplier to grow and accept donations online via popular social media networks.
Watch this excellent entry to Fundly’s Social Fundraising Video Contest.
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