Does moving to a larger community increase funding opportunities?

Greetings, Kim,

Are there any studies or accepted wisdoms about moving a nonprofit from a small community to a large one to increase funding opportunities? It seems intuitive that national-scope nonprofits that move from a small town to a city would be able to develop a bigger donor pool, but I’ve not turned up anything substantive that shows that it does and can’t think of any nonprofits that have moved like that. 

Interested to get direction to any resources you know of, or even personal opinions. Groups that I work with are always looking for new ways to thrive, and this one could make sense, if there were data. Lacking that, it sounds like a leap of faith to move to a city where costs of doing business and living expenses for nonprofit staffers would be much higher.  

~Looking before leaping

Dear Looking,

There are a number of famous large nonprofits in small towns or out of the way places:  Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Utah and Boys Town in Nebraska are two particularly famous and successful ones.  Further, the success of raising money for people and projects in other countries shows that your location is less important than getting your message out.  The virtual technologies make this even easier.  In many 12 Step programs there is a concept called “Making a geographic” and it describes a person who thinks their substance abuse problem can be solved by moving to a new place.  Since you bring yourself wherever you go, that generally doesn’t work. I’d say the same is true for a nonprofit. 

~Kim