Wednesday, September 21, 2005

What Nonprofits do for parks

The cornerstone of our work is to see the Parkway managed by a nonprofit conservancy, and the ways that a nonprofit can benefit parks is well outlined, with case studies, in this excellent article from the Project for public Spaces, excerpted from the book Public Places, Private Partners.

The nine areas examined where help can be provided are; 1) fundraising, 2) organizing volunteers, 3) design, planning and construction of capital improvements, 4) marketing and outreach, 5) programming, 6) advocacy, 7) remedial maintenance, 8) routine maintenance, and 9) security.

What Nonprofits Do For Parks: Activities

While every nonprofit provides its own unique type of support for a park, almost all nonprofit activities fall into the nine categories listed in the right column, each of which is a link to a section on that topic.

A nonprofit's activities are closely tied to its role in the park. For example, nearly all nonprofit organizations raise money. Most also organize volunteers and outreach efforts. Larger organizations may be involved in the design and execution of capital projects as well as regular maintenance of the park, and design professionals, as well as horticulturists and landscape historians, are key members of their staffs and boards.

However, the more involved an organization becomes in the actual management of the park, the less likely it is to engage in outright advocacy. Therefore, many organizations stay out of more management oriented activities, such as routine maintenance, capital improvements, and security, not only because these options are more expensive and involved, but because they may compromise their ability to advocate.

For example, if such groups are oriented to advocate for more public sector commitment to parks, they may feel strongly that the private sector has no place taking over management duties that the city should provide as a basic service. Of course, these groups may also engage in other activities such as marketing, outreach, and programming, or there may be another group in the city that performs some or all of those activities, along with advocacy.

For the rest of the article: