Best Cities in the U.S. for Nonprofit Startups

Best Cities in the U.S. for Nonprofit Startups

November 17, 2016 Lynette Garet Nonprofit News 0 Comment

If you’re thinking about starting a nonprofit, consider your location- and maybe even the possibility of changing it for the benefit of your startup. Charity Navigator recently ranked the top 30 philanthropic metro markets its 2014 report. Philanthropic watchdogs rate charities based on many factors. It may be early days for your nonprofit, but it’s never too early to think about potential donors’ perceptions of your effectiveness. Consider how the philanthropic marketplace stacks up in these cities.

St. Louis, Missouri 

St. Louis leads the most charitable list with a population of 318,955 (47% black, 42% white) and a median income of $34,582. The city’s 54 largest charities had more than $11 million in assets, nearly double the national median. Of the city’s 175 NPOs, 29 are in the human services sector.

Houston, Texas

With a strong energy-based economy and predominantly Latino population, leads the list in accountability and transparency. Its charities’ overall financial health and fundraising efficiency tied with Cleveland and Cincinnati, spending $0.08 on the dollar. The city has more than double the human services charities (32) than the next largest sector: arts and humanities.

Cleveland, Ohio

Similar in size to St. Louis, but with a lower median income of $26,217, has a population demographic of 50% black, 23% white, 10% Latino. Its 51 rated charities divide more evenly between the human services and arts sectors.

Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota

As a unit, Minneapolis. Paul has a population of some 700,000, predominantly white, and a median household income of approximately $45,000, with St. Paul slightly poorer than Minneapolis. Most of the Twin Cities’ leading charitable organizations focus almost evenly: human services (20.8%), arts & humanities (18.9%), community development (14.2%) and international (13.4%) causes.

Pittsburg, Pennsylvania

Pittsburg tops the list for assets and working capital, more than double the national median. While its population is only slightly richer than nearby Cleveland, its charities rank first for overall financial health, almost evenly divided between the arts, culture, humanities sector (26%) and human services (24%).

Cincinnati, Ohio

Cincinnati ranks second for assets and working capital in a less competitive philanthropic environment. Most of its charities focus on arts & humanities (19.5%), health (14.6%) and human services (14.6%).

Boston, Massachusetts

Charities received the most donations, proportionately, raising $4.6 million in a city of more than 629,000. The human services sector (22.2%), followed by education, arts, and health leads Boston’s philanthropic marketplace.

San Francisco, California

San Francisco has the fastest primary revenue growth (6%) of the metro markets on the list. A city of neighborhoods, about two-thirds of San Francisco’s charities focus on the arts & humanities (15.7%) and human services (15.2%).

Miami, Florida

Miami was the most efficient at fundraising–$0.055 on the dollar—despite its last-place finish. Lagging behind the national median in assets and revenue, human services charities make up 38.1% of the marketplace; more than double the next largest sector, education.

You don’t have to be in one of the top 10 markets to be successful with your new nonprofit. Most of the metro markets on the list are small- to medium-sized cities; their charitable organizations have other things going for them besides the sheer size of their donor pool: careful financial management and strong accountability.

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