Thursday, June 5, 2008

Many missions, One Voice for Collective Change in the Nonprofit Sector

Over 500 nonprofit managers, staffers and representatives from np state associations gathered for the Nonprofit Congress national meeting this week. Nonprofits across the country discussed the most pressing issues in the nonprofit community right now--leadership in nonprofits, capacity building, and public awareness of nonprofit organizations.

It was an exciting time to be able to engage in intergenerational conversations about leadership issues within nonprofits and break down some of the common stereotypes and misconceptions across generations. The Nonprofit Congress leadership group released brand new mentoring curriculum titled Work with Me: Intergenerational Conversations in Nonprofit Leadership.

In addition, over 32 states lobbied on behalf of the National Council of Nonprofit Associations for a Capacity Building Initiative which "will build the capacity, effectiveness, and accountability of small nonprofits in every mission-area." It was awesome to be a part of a delegation from California and meet with a staff member from Diane Feinstein's office to talk about the Capacity issues that nonprofits face every day. We were able to get a picture with Barbara Boxer too! I especially enjoyed being able to share with the Senator's office my personal experiences working in nonprofits across California.

Furthermore, nonprofit leaders spoke about the importance of nonprofits engaging in public policy issues that relate to the missions of our organizations and to not be afraid to lobby on behalf of our causes. I also recently learned about The Center for Nonprofit Lobbing and the Public Interest which protects nonprofit lobbying and advocacy.

I am looking forward to seeing how the movement of the nonprofit congress progresses. I am taking a Community Organizing course this summer and I am hoping to use this new knowledge to look at the issue public awareness of nonprofits across California.

The first step in my organizing class is to see if there is consensus and momentum of the issue, so my question is do you personally think that public awareness of nonprofits is an important issue? What about capacity building for nonprofits? Which issue do you think is more important?

1 comment:

Emily said...

I think raising awareness is more important. After attending the presentation at USD last week, I think that it is obvious that people in San Diego don't really understand nonprofits. I also get very frustrated when people only want their donations to go towards "programs". Many people don't realize that in order to have programs, you need the staff to support it. I have been at an organization where the programs are too much for the staff and the whole organization suffers by not being able to provide quality programs. If there were a way to bring awareness of nonprofits in a way that showed they cannot all be run on a shoe-string, that would be helpful to everyone in the sector.