Reimagining Our Community Voice
By Kevin Bailey, CEO
Because we see this approach repeatedly, I think it is time to make the case to community project stakeholders for bold action. It takes an extra dose of courage to have those tricky discussions and convince donors what a transformational gift would really look like to address the needs we see daily.
We are halfway through 2022 and it feels like there are more questions than answers about what the future of our communities will look like. Particularly in the legislature, we see extreme views gain influence and public funding for many nonprofit missions is no longer a guarantee. Donors are stepping up to fill the gaps, but how long can they keep doing it?
Meanwhile, we as nonprofits have continued doing what we do best: putting our heads down and getting things done because our communities need it from us. But we cannot do it for long in a climate where tested, logic-based practices are easily wrapped in controversy and met with strong emotions.
However, there is always a path forward. More than any other sector or industry, nonprofit leaders are positioned to take bold action and be a leading light for our communities when they need us most.
We, as nonprofits, are the ones on the front lines managing a housing crisis that the market cannot fix on its own.
We are the ones making sure that childcare exists for growing families so working Idahoans can continue to pay rent.
We are the ones making sure that the trails we love are maintained and conserved for the enjoyment of future generations while our cities and towns swell with tourism and new residents.
We are the ones putting our communities on the map with rich and vibrant cultural offerings such as local theaters and museums.
As you reflect on your work and voice in your community, I hope you will ask yourself what bold action could look like. Give yourself permission to ask the big, tough questions and aim high.* Bring those ideas to the surface and find ways to give them the power of collective voice. Our future as a sector and a state depends on it.
*I’d also like to acknowledge that some are not in the position to speak up and push stakeholders and donors. We all have a commitment to serving clients and the community and priority should be given to them. When seeking large change, there is always the fear of funding being taken away or a powerful supporter is offended. This puts nonprofits in a tricky place because sometimes it is life and death for those we serve.
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