Cause Studio Porfolio Cohort 1

Cause Studio

proper noun | cause stu•dio |\ˈkȯz\ • \ˈstü-dē-(ˌ)ō

1. a place for the study of how to build startup nonprofit organizations that have an impact on local community development.

2. a place where charitable missions become movements.

3. a community of advisors that provide startup nonprofit professionals with access to quality and cost effective training and resources.

4. a startup nonprofit organization incubator, training resource, and networking hub.

Becoming a founder of a nonprofit organization has increasingly become popular for those that are interested in giving back. Unfortunately, for those that push forward with the idea they often do not realize that a nonprofit is a business that just happens to be a charity. Throughout the country we see the numbers of new nonprofits soaring, but we are also seeing the number of failing nonprofits rise as well.

Founded in January 2015, Cause Studio is a training resource for startup nonprofits in North Texas. Its mission is to reduce the number of failing startup nonprofit organizations by providing resources, training and tools that are designed to scale, encourage collaboration and sustain impactful programs and services.  We focus on providing opportunities for new and fledgling nonprofit professionals that are designed to:

(1) increase the capacity building initiatives of startup nonprofit organizations;

(2) provide opportunities that foster collaborations across multiple organizations; and

(3) reduce the financial barrier to training for organizations with limited budgets.

The most recent data from the National Center for Charitable Statistics (NCCS) revealed that through August 2016, there were over 30,000 nonprofit organizations within the sixteen counties that constitute North Texas, almost one-third of all registered nonprofits in Texas, with over $40 billion in revenue and $100 billion in assets. Over 83 percent of those 30,000 nonprofits have operating budgets under $100,000, which makes them less effective and likely to fail. Donations made to nonprofit organizations tend to be exclusively for programmatic elements with little regard for the need to build administrative capacity. We aim to change that.

Cause Studio is creating its own three-part nonprofit training ecosystem. The incubator, “Portfolio,” is a three-year program that gives organizations a more hands-on training to improve organizational capacity. Cause Studio’s second installment – a community-based event and workshop series – is a quicker, more affordable way for nonprofit professionals to receive training. The third installment is the focus of this committee: the Nonprofit Capacity Building Fellowship. This Fellowship will launch its pilot year Fall 2018 and will connect skilled graduate students with startup nonprofit organizations that can demonstrate a need.