Finding Common Ground For Greater Impact

by Kristen Merrifield

Guide_KristenMerrifield_second-choiceI know what you’re thinking: “Why is there a nonprofit section in a ‘business’ magazine?” But my hope is that it will become increasingly clear as you navigate through this inaugural section where our goal is to strengthen the critical connection between the for-profit and nonprofit sectors in Arizona. Let’s explore together how we can create strong, meaningful and strategic partnerships and cross-sector collaborations in order to exponentially increase our impact.

The nonprofit sector is a vibrant economic engine whose contributions go far beyond the critical work it does to support our citizens, our communities and our environment in this beautiful state we call home. And, at the Alliance, our mission is to unite, strengthen and advance the more than 20,000 strong nonprofits in Arizona. In the newly released report, Arizona Nonprofits: Economic Power, Positive Impact, we outline just how powerful the nonprofit sector is in our local and state economy. The key findings of this report show that nonprofits generate $22.4 billion — more than 8 percent of the state’s Gross State Product — and are the fifth-largest non-government employer, responsible for 325,000 jobs.

We also want to help debunk some of the myths circling nonprofits and their work in our communities and showcase the phenomenal bench of talent, expertise and passion residing in our nonprofit leaders and volunteers. “Nonprofit” is, at its very core, a tax status, but we intimately understand that we must be revenue positive in order to be sustainable. We must advocate for fairly paid staff, competitive benefits and professional policies and procedures — just as you would expect in your business.

It’s time for nonprofits to stop talking about having a seat at the table and instead set the table of opportunity for collaboration across all sectors. At the core, we all face similar challenges of running an organization, employing a workforce, increasing revenue, being innovative and finding new solutions to challenges. Join us on this journey, and let’s partner and invest in making Arizona the best place to live, work and play.

Thank you,

Kristen Merrifield, CAE

Chief Executive Officer

Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits

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