Deborah Fugenschuh from Donors Forum of Wisconsin recently shared this video depicting how the nation’s unemployment rate has changed from January 2007 through January 2010. It’s a striking, brutal depiction of the economic collapse. According to the Chronicle of Philanthropy, the majority of nonprofit groups laid off employees in 2009.
What will the future of the nonprofit and philanthropic fields look like? That’s a question funders are striving to address, with the hope that they can shape the outcomes. Many are reconsidering their stances on funding operating expenses and how they view overhead and organizational infrastructure. Over on the Philanthropy Northwest blog there was this item from the Puget Sound Business Journal:
Seven of Washington’s leading charitable foundations want to strengthen the nonprofit sector by asking other grant makers to fund gaps in how individual nonprofit groups— and the sector as whole — operate.
By funding administrative services and even shared resources rather than specific programs, grant makers can help nonprofit organizations better weather hard economic times and ultimately improve the quality of their work, according to recommendations stemming from a statewide study of the nonprofit sector commissioned last year by the seven foundations.
Grantmakers for Effective Organizations’s recent reports, especially On the Money, also push for general operating support.
On the governmental front, the Stimulus Bill is still being allocated, but some relief is coming to the social sector. The Social Innovation Fund is also just getting up and running. Northern California Grantmakers has a good post about how the SIF works and how regional associations can play a role in its success. Of course, the government isn’t immune to financial issues of their own. Some states are considering eliminating tax exemptions for nonprofits—likely to be a hot button issue for dinner conversations when all the policy folks get together at Foundations on the Hill later this month.
On the bright side, the Chronicle more recently reported that…
Despite tough times for charities, a trio of new surveys of charities in New York, New Jersey, and Washington shows that most plan to hire in the year ahead—and that the overwhelming majority plan to raise staff salaries in 2010 or at least hold them steady.
How are your regional associations and their members responding to these issues, from job creation to preserving healthy nonprofits? For our part, the Forum has organized a number of regional association resources around the topic of the economy (login required). What does the future look like to you? Is that map going to keep turning purple? Or will we start seeing some sunny yellow again?