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VIEWPOINT: Doing good is good business

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Did you know that there are 5,523 nonprofit organizations in Delaware that employ more than 44,707 people, almost 12% of the state’s workforce? The economic impact of Delaware’s nonprofit sector generates almost $6 billion in annual revenues and holds assets of nearly $16.8 billion.


Beyond these statistics, the nonprofit sector truly does a world of good every day – feeding, clothing, sheltering, educating, counseling, and improving the lives of those in need throughout the First State and beyond. Nonprofits represent the power of community by providing meaningful ways for individuals and corporations to give back as well as serve as an effective platform for working together with collective impact.

I bring a somewhat unique perspective after spending the first 13 years of my professional career in Baltimore, employed by several advertising agencies including my former client, the Maryland Lottery. I subsequently spent the following 19 years in the nonprofit sector – eight years in south Florida and the last 11 years in Delaware. Doing so allowed me to serve as a volunteer and donor before becoming an executive of a local nonprofit.

Both sectors parallel in running efficient and fiscally responsible organizations. They also strive to maximize return on investment even though our respective missions differ on who we serve. Nonprofits depend on the generosity of individuals, foundations, and corporations to make sound investments in their organizations so they can continue to provide the vital breadth of services we deliver to those in need and less fortunate than ourselves.

The past 19 months has caused our community to pivot and find alternative strategies for meeting our respective missions. While the world is constantly changing, we cannot forget those in our community who depend on our sector for critical support. What unifies us is our resiliency to face adversity head on to continue serving as the lifeline to our diverse populations.

The generosity of our vibrant community fuels the continued growth of the nonprofit sector, allowing these organizations to meet the increasing needs of those we serve. Many donors and corporate giving decisions are typically solidified in the fourth quarter each year. If you have not done so already, now is the time. Please renew your generous support to your selected charitable organizations and if you are in a position to do so, consider increasing your support or expanding your generosity to include additional organizations.

To learn more about our various nonprofits, please visit the Delaware Alliance for Nonprofit Advancement (www.DelawareNonprofit.org) and Philanthropy Delaware (www.PhilanthropyDelaware.org/Resources). You may also consider visiting the three key industry evaluators of nonprofits at Charity Navigator (www.CharityNavigator.org), GuideStar (www.GuideStar.org), or Great NonProfits (www.GreatNonprofits.org). Each have their own ratings system and methodology but serve as an invaluable and independent resource for confirming a nonprofit’s accountability and transparency standards.

In good times and especially in these challenging times, please give generously – your philanthropy and continued support is greatly appreciated. We grow stronger together.

Seth J. Katzen is president and CEO of Jewish Federation of Delaware and currently serves as president-elect of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) Brandywine Chapter. He is also a member of the Delaware Alliance for Nonprofit Advancement (DANA).

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