As the administration of Barack Obama begins to move forward, we are hopeful - along with so many other Americans across the country. There is no way for us to know what lies ahead for our nation, and more specifically, for the nonprofit sector; but there have already been some indications that the sector may be headed for some significant changes.
- In the short term, the economic pressures will continue to force nonprofit organizations to do more, with less; to contract their services; to look for partners and to create innovate collaborative models - networks, parent corporations, and mergers. Some have already closed down and we suspect more will follow.
- Some non-profits will be more adversely affected than others - as some states reorganize how they contract with nonprofits to provide services to vulnerable populations. The economic downturn will make it harder for these nonprofits to cope with state-driven changes in funding models.
- Although there may be trickle-down of funds from the possible economic stimulus package currently proposed by the Democrats - these funds may not arrive in time to avoid significant contraction at some organizations and in some areas of the sector. We must remember that most of the stimulus package is not aimed at the nonprofit sector at all.
But is it all gloom and doom?
No, it is not. We are seeing an interest…an inclination…a sense of hopefulness - that if the current situation is as bad as it is - perhaps this is a time to throw caution to the wind, admit that the old way of working doesn't work, and change. Not small changes - big changes. Organizations will be asked to shift their thinking - from competition to cooperation, from operating in a silo to the expansion of partnerships across a community, from leading to win to leading to influence and shape…a new paradigm. We see nonprofits banding together to make better use of their economic purchasing power, to tackle significant community issues in a community or region, to redefine continuums of care for vulnerable populations. Each of us can do a part to contribute to this new way of thinking - this new paradigm of connectedness.
It's a new day - and we are hopeful. Are you?
Photo Credit: PrinceRoy