Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Alliance Conference: Nonprofit Next & Conference Wrap Up

I had a fantastic time attending the Alliance for Nonprofit Management conference last week. The main themes of the conference were capacity building, nonprofit sustainability and the future of the nonprofit sector.

LaPiana and Associates, through their initative, Nonprofit Next, are exploring what nonprofits will look like in the future. Their research coincides nicely with the NP2020 report by Grand Valley State University.

The LaPiana team interviewed nonprofit staff and thought leaders accross the US and asked:

  1. What trends will have the biggest impact on the nonprofit sector's future?
  2. How is your nonprofit adapting to these trends in innovative ways?
  3. What will characterize successful nonprofits in the future?
The common themes that emerged were:
  • Rise of Virtual Workspaces
  • Blurring of Sector Boundaries
  • Organizing work via networks as well as organizations
  • Rising interest in civic engagement/volunteerism
  • Growing diversity
  • Generational Shifts
  • Technological advances
The nonprofits that will survive are the ones that "can think creatively about: partnerships, networks, organizational structure, business models, alternative financing, crowdsourcing, mobalizing, decentralized action, transparency, diversity and inclusion."

In order for nonprofits to truly sustain themselves into the future, they need to:
  • Embrace adaptive leadership;
  • Put people first and build human-friendly culture;
  • Think and plan on a systematic level;
  • View technology as an accelerator;
  • Move away from traditional power structures, and;
  • Move beyond the culture of scarcity.
Stay tuned, La Piana will soon be releasing a full report about this research on their website.

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