Because of my work with AmeriCorps and the Corporation for National and Community Service, a colleague from JBS International – Aguirre Division sent me an email link today to a very interesting article in the Washington Post on Friday, November 28th (page A27) by Paul C. Light, Obama Must Mobilize Supporters to Help Nonprofits.
In the article, Light says that Generation “O” – for Obama – “is ready to do its part in putting the country on a more hopeful path.” He makes the case that President-Elect Obama could mobilize “Generation O to help the nation’s struggling nonprofit sector” as the nation’s 1 million other charitable organizations and their 11 million employees are not flourishing.
He states, “there is already plenty of evidence that the sector is suffering. It is often the first to experience recession as households cut back on discretionary contributions and the last to recover. Of the nearly 1 million nonprofits up and running, as many as 100,000 will fail over the coming six months.” He makes the case that “what the nation needs is an emergency program to rescue failing nonprofits while protecting healthy nonprofits from further job freezes and cuts.”
He talks about two possible initiatives which could help the sector. “The first would be a loan fund for distressed nonprofits. This program would be administered by the Corporation for National and Community Service, which has shown its ability to work with states and nonprofit intermediaries to funnel money into needed activities, including the recruiting, training and deployment of volunteers. With an interest-bearing payback provision, the loan fund would carry minimal taxpayer risk and would be directed to distressed nonprofits that can prove their ability to spend the money to increase effectiveness.
The second initiative would be a call for Generation O to volunteer. This volunteerism cannot be the run-of-the-mill, episodic engagement that increasingly characterizes volunteering in America — the kind of come-and-go volunteering that rarely helps nonprofits fill vacancies in front-line service jobs. Rather, Obama should call upon his supporters to make durable, year-long commitments to specific high-impact jobs.”
Lots of things brewing! What is true is that the Governors’ Commissions on National and Community Service (aka state service commissions) – the state level organizations that administer AmeriCorps and promote service and volunteerism as a strategy to address local issues – have more than 14 years experience with what it takes to run effective nonprofit programs to maximize the impact of scarce resources. The AmeriCorps and other programs they administer and support are well-known for being great stewards of dollars and leveraging big impact from a minimal investment. They also have huge networks within their state with nonprofits, government agencies and the private sector. Hopefully they will be at the table to help figure out how to best mobilize citizens to make a difference and counteract the impact of tough economic times.
Read Light’s full article– it’s great food for thought! Go National Service – your time to “explode” and show your true value may be near!!