2009 is finally here and with the new year comes some interesting new ideas. The struggles of 2008 have the potential to stimulate innovative solutions. With a new administration entering office on January 20th there could be significant changes in how the nonprofit sector receives resources (funding, staff, government support, etc). You can read my post on some of the changes the Obama administration might make here.
But it seems the nonprofit sector is not waiting around for those potential changes. There just isn’t time. So, in the midst of the uncertainty facing the sector, some interesting innovation is happening.
In December a Washington, DC coalition of eight regional organizations convened Nonprofit 911 bringing together 500+ nonprofit, business, and government leaders to develop a plan of action that “redefines how the nonprofit sector operates in this new fiscal reality.” It’s not clear yet (since they’ve been around only a few weeks) exactly what this coalition will do and what the results will be, but it is interesting to see such an unprecedented reaction to the crisis.
Another interesting development is an idea proposed by Independent Sector, a coalition of 600+ foundations and nonprofits. They are proposing to Congress a federal government revolving loan fund that would reimburse nonprofits for essential services they have performed for local and regional governments. These governments are now cash-strapped and unable to pay for those services. Perhaps the beginnings of a conversation about a nonprofit bailout, to follow the financial and auto industry bailouts? If that’s the case I’d like to see something much more ambitious and sustainable for the long-term. I’m not sure this is the answer.
However, the interesting part is the discussions that these new ideas are generating. This New Year should be a very interesting one.