The Upside Down

Talking to anyone outside of the nonprofit sector about the nonprofit sector is often vexing.

For example, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data, and the new report, “Nonprofits: America’s Third Largest Workforce” reveals that America’s nonprofit sector ranks third in size among the 18 major U.S. industries (12.5 million people), behind only retail trade and manufacturing. And it actually outdistances manufacturing in 24 states and DC.

Its also a wildly passionate and diverse industry with a broad array of services impacting just about every other sector known, and a full quarter of the teen and adult population in the US volunteer within nonprofits each and every year.


Most folks—even if they’re casual donors or volunteers—still think of the nonprofit sector as small or vulnerable, or lacking the kind of importance or impact that allows for a viable conversation about growth and gain and exploration.

Why? Why is our sector seen like this?

In a world where the average person knows how difficult it can be to impact or change this world, why does an entire industry focused on this get thought of as a kind and noble, but essentially second class citizen?

I think so many things we’re prevented from accomplishing is because of these beliefs. And I think if often colors our own in terrible ways.

And so I want to end this ridiculous perception. I don’t have any major answers yet, but I have enough questions and know enough truth to begin to figure it out. Thus, the new Rhinocorn.

Intrigued? I hope you are and I hope you’ll join me.

[ ben bisbee ]

Ben BisbeeComment