Community Carrying Capacity: A Network Perspective

Scholars have explored the idea of the determinants of the size of the nonprofit sector (called the community carrying capacity), as a linear relationship between supply of resources and the demand for nonprofit services. This in turn has fueled debate about whether there are too many nonprofits for available resources. In this article, we propose that the scarcity (or abundance) of resources does not inherently determine the limits of a community’s nonprofit “carrying capacity”. Rather, network exchanges between nonprofits and other organizations may exhibit positive synergistic effects that are associated with diverse outcomes.

Looking for more information about community carrying capacity? The Council on Nonprofits has a great page on using a network approach for capacity building: Visit