Study encourages new approaches for Onondaga County nonprofits

Jul 9, 2018

The Onondga Citizens League is proposing the creation of a new umbrella organization in central New York that can be used as a resource for local nonprofits and organizations that help the community. The idea stems from a study called "The State of Community Engagement Infrastructure of Central New York."
Credit Onondaga Citizens League

The Onondaga Citizens League is trying to get a sense of just how plugged in central New Yorkers are to their community with a year-long study that found some issues, and suggestions on how to improve things. Researchers found plenty of agencies and organizations that help a plethora of issues, but they also found many struggling. 

For one thing, study co-chair Patti Giancola Knutsen says it’s become more difficult to find volunteers for various endeavors.

"People don’t show up. They’re not joiners anymore," Knutsen said. "Finding girl scout leaders, finding people to do the bottle drive for the PTA - it’s a different society. So what we did learn is that to engage citizens, you have to engage in a different more modern way.”

It’s not just a lack of manpower facing these organizations. Fundraising has become more difficult, and some agencies find it difficult to connect with communities of color or new Americans.

To help avoid these issues, the study recommends creation of a new organization. Study co-chair Tom Carlin says this umbrella group would act as a facilitator, coordinator, or resource, to any group that needs it.

"If an organization needs help in a specific area, they could come to this umbrella organization and say 'This is what we’re looking for,' and this organization would hook them up with other organizations," She said. 

Other suggestions from the study include the notion that organizations should re-evaluate themselves every few years and make adjustments.