By Tim Lambeth
Money is being raised even in this economy.
Most capital campaigns have not been cancelled, and while nonprofits may need to adjust payment schedules, many are finding the times actually inspire people to be more concerned about the success and the future of those nonprofits they support.
The Center on Wealth and Philanthropy recently reported it believes charitable giving will return to the pre-recession level perhaps this year, but almost certainly next year.
If that happens, we should take the lessons learned out of these leaner times to do what we do better than we did in times of plenty.
I think one of the most important lessons is to show how our programs really do change lives – not just outcomes, which we have always been good at doing (it is not difficult to count meals served) – but impact.
How has a community been strengthened and how have people been empowered to bring about change?
It is now 41 years since the tax reform act of 1969 that focused attention on the role of foundations in America.
It is likely that the drive for tax reform, for restructuring the tax code, may result in more changes for funders and their nonprofit grantees.
There is also some danger that all of this – a new 990, greater demands from funders, greater government oversight – will help to widen the gap between large and small nonprofits.
But a good sign in this respect is the appearance of consulting firms designed specifically for smaller nonprofits.
We have to be careful, as well, that in our reliance on technology to improve both grantseeking and grantmaking, we do not create a gap between small and large nonprofits.
In such times, we are also urged that there be greater collaboration among nonprofits.
[read more: Philanthropy Journal]