Rubicon began our first sustainability experiment in January of this year. In 2002 we became a nonprofit organization serving a community that was known even then to be shrinking in size. As time has gone by we have seen funding in our field reduced and a significant number of researchers retire or leave for better funding opportunities.(2)
Over 98% of Rubicon’s funding in the first ten years came from the US Government because we have been able to substantially impact the operational effectiveness of their researchers and clinicians. The recent sequestration and lack of support in 2013 made us seriously re-think the funding model that we would need to follow going forward. At the end of last year we began reaching out to the trading community for input on how their skills and various technologies could be applied to support nonprofit growth and sustainability.
The first step in the experiment was evaluating and establishing our own risk tolerance. As part of a community that includes leaders in undersea, aviation, and space exploration and physiology it is probably not hard to believe that we have well defined the risk we are undertaking.
The next step was designing the methods are using to achieve our goal. This step involved research and evaluation of the technology we are using. The technology designed by DittoTrade (described here) is the backbone of this experiment. We are working with author and trading educator Anne-Marie Baiynd as our lead trader (StockTwits link). Every good research project has to have well defined criteria that could allow other scientists to duplicate the experiment at a later date. We have outlined the methods we are employing for this sustainability experiment in greater detail here.
Over 1.58 million nonprofit organizations were registered with the IRS in 2011 with 40.1% of those reporting had budgets of less than $100,000 that same year.(2) The top 4.4% of nonprofit budgets were reported to be $10 Million or more. We find it interesting that 2.6% of the income to all groups within the sector are investment related. Clearly with statistics like these we are not alone in our search for a model to achieve a sustainable future.
Earlier today Rubicon went from standing on the dock watching the market to actively trading. Please check out the blog posts linked above and keep checking back for future updates. Our growth can not be completely dependent on the outcome of this experiment so please consider a donation to support this experiment or any of our other great projects.
1. Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society. An Assessment Of A National Naval Need For Undersea Research. Office of Naval Research, report in response to 5000 Ser 341/270 20 Feb 02.
2. Sarah L. Pettijohn. 2013. The Nonprofit Sector in Brief: Public Charities, Giving, and Volunteering, 2013.Urban Institute.