A Traditional Nonprofit Adds New Traditions: The Kiwanis Club at the Flim Flam

Social entrepreneurs. Microfinanciers. Practical Idealists. These are just of the few of the titles given to the new nonprofiteers and venture social capitalists starting up and charging up the world to make it a better place over the last two decades or so. 

Where does all of this social innovation leave the traditional nonprofit? That is, the old nonprofits who named themselves without benefit of the many companies now in the strategic naming and naming rights business. What were they thinking?  Lions?  Rotary? Kiwanis? At least you can call a Lion...a Lion, a Rotary insider, a Rotarian. But what about the possibilities for a card-carrying member of Kiwanis? A Kiwanison? A Kiwanisian? How about a Kiwanian?

As part of our Ethics and Nonprofits series, A2ethics.org wanted to find out how a traditional nonprofit, the Kiwanis Club Morning Edition, a new affiliate group that meets each Wednesday at the Flim Flam Restaurant on Plymouth Rd., is adding to and creating new Kiwanis traditions. For Kiwanians.  And for our community.

Like other new nonprofit start-ups, the Kiwanis Morning Edition's current officers, Bela Sipos and Cindy Morgan, are confronted by the usual issues:  keeping a new group engaged when the mission is being defined; learning and teaching people with good intentions but varied experiences how to fund raise; and getting all members involved when only a few seem committed.

All this and a few others that new start-up nonprofits don't have to deal with: distinguishing the new group from the old in the minds of the public; collaborating with the old group but staking out an independent path;  and finally, balancing the interests and goals of the older groups and newer members. 

Some have suggested for almost two decades that traditional nonprofits face declining membership and a less important role in sustaining our communities. And we know that even more have suggested that newspapers, another community builder, are dead. But not if the Kiwanis Club Morning Edition has any say in what matters.