What Does the Future Hold

Dr. Paul Light writing in The Non Profit Quarterly:

During these troubled times, what lies in store for the nonprofit sector, and what do we need to do about it? Along with every family in America, the nonprofit sector is wondering about its future. Will we miraculously survive as we largely do today? Will we starve our organizations to the core or emerge from the current economic calamity mostly intact? Will we fight the prevailing downturn on behalf of our individual institutions and leave others to defend themselves, or instead will we join forces to shore up the sector as a whole? In the aftermath of this financial crisis, will we have real options and choices?

The answers are not yet clear, but it appears that an intensifying struggle for ownership of the sector and how it is structured, governed, and deployed is under way. When boiled down to its fundamentals, the question is whether nonprofits are “owned” by their institutional funders (governmental and philanthropic) or whether a broader community of stakeholders should make the choice about the future nonprofits pursue. The search for an answer may yet produce a struggle for the identity and soul of the sector. Traditionally the sector belongs to this country’s citizens who have exercised their right to associate through civil society, but there is, of course, pressure from those who have the resources on which the sector depends.

Read Dr. Light’s complete article, Four Futures.