Practitioners and academics: Pour yourself a “cup of ambition” and submit a proposal for the 11th annual Nonprofit Public Policy Symposium! Co-hosted by the Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA) and Independent Sector. This year’s symposium is titled “Nonprofits 9 to 5: What a Way to Make a Living” and will focus on the nonprofit sector workforce – including foundations – and nonprofits as employers.
Dolly Parton is no stranger to the sector. She founded the Dollywood Foundation and Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, which gave 175 million books to children worldwide, and donated to support the development of the COVID-19 vaccine. If you love Dolly Parton as much as I do, you’ll know her classic song “9 to 5” (and the 1980 film of the same name) is named after an advocacy organization, 9to5, the Women Office Worker Union. 9to5 was created to give voice to women in the workforce who felt invisible. Similarly, despite the impressive size and impact of the nonprofit workforce, we are often invisible to policymakers in the decision-making process.
Many nonprofit employees can relate to the song as an “anthem for the overworked and underpaid.” Like the song, nonprofit workers have a shared sense of pride, but also shared grievances and a desire for systemic change. The sector needs to better understand our own human capital needs and trends, especially as we face a prolonged and uneven recovery from the pandemic.
Dolly Parton recognizes the critical importance of supporting workers, which is why employees at Dollywood receive free college tuition. “When [our employees] feel appreciated and are given opportunities like this, they feel cared for and can pass that feeling on to their [constituents].” Much like Dolly, the nonprofit workforce is a national treasure. We encourage both practitioners and academics to submit research findings or practice-informed perspectives on nonprofits as employers, the needs of nonprofit workers, and how the sector can collectively use public policy to foster a more equitable workforce in the future.
As Dolly said, “You never do a whole lot unless you’re brave enough to try.” So, go ahead and view the full RFP and submit proposals on the ARNOVA website by April 29, 2022.