It is summer, and I am thinking summer carnivals — tight rope walkers, carnival barkers (you know the ones trying to get you into their carnival tent), and the hall of mirrors, where nothing is at it appears. And all of these thoughts lead me, of course, to the nonprofit sector, public policy, and the 2024 elections.
Not to worry — I am going to pull this thread all the way through! And I will end with an exciting invitation!
In a recent blog post accompanying the release of our quarterly Health of the US Nonprofit Sector report, we compared our sector to famous tightrope walker, Phillipe Petit. Bottom line, while this most recent report shows strong economic performance by nonprofits, the reality is we are on a highwire, making strong contributions to the national GDP while facing the reality of cratering numbers in charitable giving and growing stressors for our workforce. Where Petit knew he had plans and training to ensure a safe environment for his performance, the nonprofit sector remains in need of public policies to help stabilize the environment in which it works. The net below us has some very big holes.
Being the summer of 2023, the waves of political promises are starting to wash over us (this is the “barker” part). Candidates are filling the state fairs and the airwaves with their remedies for the economy, and just about everything else you can think of — except maybe our sector!
We can fuss and fume that political candidates aren’t talking about the policies that are needed to strengthen the nonprofit sector and the communities we serve, but it is only, in part, their fault. If we aren’t advocating to policymakers about what it is we need as a sector (and new research released by Independent Sector indicates we are NOT), then we share some of the blame.
Here is your chance to help turn that around. Register for “To 2024 and Beyond – Public Policy Recommendations for the Nonprofit Sector and Philanthropy,” the 12th annual Symposium on Public Policy for Nonprofits, hosted by the Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA), Independent Sector, and Nonprofit Policy Forum. Come engage with researchers and practitioners as together we shape ideas and requests we need to take to policymakers and candidates inviting us into their “tent” (yes, another carnival barker reference).
So, let’s get prepared! Join us as we get ready to use our voices as policy advocates for our sector. And get out of that hall of mirrors — where nothing is as it seems. It is time for us to be clear — equipped with compelling ideas and straightforward asks for the policy interventions and supports we need.
Those we serve are counting on us. Register now.
Jeffrey Moore is Chief Strategy Officer at Independent Sector