One thing that the divisive presidential election cycle of 2016 brought to the fore was a widespread distrust of the government, but a commensurate trust of nonprofit charities.
While there is probably a lot that can be said about the state of American society that the government is so widely distrusted, it is good to see that people trust and want to support nonprofits. In many ways, that might help take the sting out of what will likely be four or more years of the wholesale dismantling of social safety nets and systems that will benefit anyone other than the rich.
But putting all that stress on nonprofits isn’t going to make their missions any easier, especially as there have been numerous reports that nonprofits are working harder to help more people with the same, or shrinking, budgets.
In Connecticut, for example, nonprofits handle many of the services that the state would in other states, and generally provide better care for less money. Dealing with changes in budgets and what can get funded is going to be difficult for those organizations.
It’s obvious that nonprofits are, and must remain, an integral part of American society, and that they help pick up the slack left over by the government. That slack seems likely to get worse, but it’s a safe bet that there will be less money going to organizations trying to help, at least from grants. After all, with a vice president who rose to fame for his homophobia, it seems unlikely that federal grants for LGBTQ organizations are going to expand over the next four years.
What does this mean for the nonprofits themselves? Careful consideration of where funding comes from, as well as how to use it to pursue a mission. That sounds like business as usual, but it’s important to realize that changes are coming, and that organizations might need to be more flexible. And of course, it’s good to know that, while the government might not be relied upon for funding, individuals seem more than willing to help out.