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The Profitable Future of Traditional Philanthropy

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QUESTION: I hear there are 1,000 non-profits in Santa Barbara. I am newly retired and moved
here from Chicago after selling my business. I look at an organization like the Girl Scouts which
provides for a significant portion of their financial needs by selling cookies and other things.
Why don’t more of these organizations find ways to create revenues to help them sustain
themselves? . . . Stephen in Montecito

That is an excellent question, Stephen. I feel that this is such an important question that I hired a
research assistant, Mariah Miller from UCSB, to help me research it and write this column. I
believe that finding more diverse ways for these valuable organizations to sustain themselves is
vital. You are right about the Girl Scouts. They generated $23 million in revenues through gross
profit on merchandise compared to $15.5 million through gifts, grants and bequests in the
previous fiscal year. There are other non-profits in Santa Barbara that are also using this
approach. But…