When to Partner with a Start-up

Don’t fund a start-up unless it’s really needed. Many contributors questioned what they see as a basic premise of many start-up organizations: that there aren’t enough nonprofit organizations out there already. “It’s quite the opposite,” said one. “There are too many organizations as it is.”

“Institutions have to serve a real purpose. You have to ask yourself, What gaps does it fill? Is there space for it? Is there a need for it? Is there a demand for it? Is there a constituency for it? And if you get the purpose right, then a lot of other things follow from it. If you get it wrong, the institution may survive, but it will always be a struggle.”

Two prompting questions to ask when defining mission and purpose: “What will it do? And how will it be different from other institutions? When you ask those questions, then you force people to think in a way that they probably have not been thinking. Hard realism sets in, and it gives you a focus and a purpose.

Takeaways are critical, bite-sized resources either excerpted from our guides or written by Candid Learning for Funders using the guide's research data or themes post-publication. Attribution is given if the takeaway is a quotation.

This takeaway was derived from Working with Start-Ups.