Our Crystal Ball

January 3, 2017 | Laurence A. Pagnoni

I’ve read a few “Forecasts for the New Nonprofit Year,” and found them lacking. I hope to repair that breach here, but please feel free to tell me if I don’t even come close to your own views.

Quickly, here are my top three 2017 predictions for the nonprofit year ahead:

  1. Private fundraising from individual donors will be more important than ever before. Why? It is likely that government funding will be drastically reduced due to the Trump administration’s medieval view of the social safety net. Increased donor support will also play a huge factor for progressive charities most of which since the election have already seen substantial increases in donor support. That will continue in dramatic fashion. Think ACLU, Southern Poverty Law Center, Planned Parenthood and Bread for the World.
  2. Resistance to the Trump administration and protest of its policies will flourish due to the expected reduction of Federal funds to the social sector. Think of what HIV/AIDS activists did during the 1980s to challenge the Reagan administration, the Centers for Disease Control, and the Department of Health and Human Services. That level of public protest will be widespread and necessary, and, hopefully, will coalesce into a singular sustained movement that takes on systemic reforms including high student loan debt, income inequality, electoral redistricting, and racial harmony progress to name just a few unyielding issues.
  3. A light at the end of our charitable tunnel will be the emergence of new young social sector activists (and the brand-new nonprofits they will establish). Unencumbered by bureaucratic boards, they will speak truth to power and organize our various local bases to tell the stories of those ill-affected. Think here of the Flint, Michigan residents radicalized by the fact that their water quality is no better than it was a year ago. Also, the newly revitalized Hip Hop Caucus, a national effort to spur the Hip Hop audience to become active in elections, policymaking, and service projects. They “mobilize, educate, and engage young people, ages 14 to 40, on the social issues that directly impact their lives and communities.” Think five or six of such new nonprofits in every locality throughout the USA.

That’s my take on the new nonprofit year ahead. What’s yours?

One a personal note, numerous studies show that charitable giving boosts happiness and reduces stress—especially when one’s generosity promotes positive social connections. If you haven’t already, find a cause, organization, or person you believe in and offer consistent monthly support. They will benefit. You will benefit. And the world will be a better place.

What are your thoughts, predictions, and agenda for 2017?

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