Independence – what this word can teach you about nonprofit organizations

Independence. This weekend, as the U.S. celebrates our independence, is a great time to examine this word. It can mean different things to different groups of people. Many senior citizens, for example, value the independence that living at home brings. There is a high loss of independence if health and mobility require someone to move away from home to an assisted living facility.

Focus on Nonprofit Organizations: Capital City Village

The Greater Good Geek blog will occasionally feature a nonprofit organization and “geek out” with a food for thought “case study.” Today’s edition focuses on an organization called Capital City Village. Capital City Village is an Austin, Texas-based nonprofit organization dedicated to helping seniors stay in their homes and communities for as long as possible (a concept called aging in place and community). In other words, the organization supports the independence of senior citizens.

What Nonprofit Leaders Can Learn

This Independence-based nonprofit organization teaches us is how important it is for nonprofit leaders to be in tune with changing demographics. There will be cases when new nonprofit options need to be created to address population trends – and this is one of them.

The Growing Needs of Baby Boomers

The Baby Boom is one of those population trends that cannot be ignored by the community sector. The influence of Baby Boomers stems in part by the size of the group: there are currently 78 million boomers in the U.S. and 8,000 boomers are turning 65 every day (Source: How Baby Boomers Are Changing Retirement Living, Washingtonian, March 13, 2014).

Portrait

Seniors Value Their Independence

The “traditional” retirement options (assisted living, retirement communities) are not fitting the needs of today’s senior citizens. Many want to age at home, retaining independence and saving money. This is where nonprofit leaders saw a trend and Capital City Village (CCV) was created. Founded in 2010, CCV gives seniors access to volunteers, service providers and social and educational programs – helping them age in place.

This Geek’s Case Study

So the Geek’s “case study” lessons for nonprofit leaders are: keep your finger on the pulse of demographic trends, notice needs in your community, shift the focus of your organization (or start a new organization) to address a need that has not been addressed yet.

Population Trends

Questions:

What are some of the recent trends in your community? Do you see a population growth that needs services? Is there a recent community need that a nonprofit organization could better address? Do you have ideas about how those needs could be addressed? Do you have experience with a nonprofit organization that started a new program for the purpose of addressing a new population trend? If so, please share details.

Image credits: Flip Schulke, The U.S. National Archives (first image). Thomas Abercrombie, Internet Archive Book Images (second image).

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