October 24, 2012

Cliff Notes for Government, Nonprofits, and Philanthropy

Talk of the “fiscal cliff” has become commonplace as we approach the end of 2012. What does this looming reckoning entail for government, nonprofits, and philanthropy? Daniel Stid will be crafting “Cliff Notes”  to trace these developments in the months ahead.

By: Daniel Stid

Talk of the fiscal cliff is increasingly commonplace as we approach the end of 2012 and, with it, the automatic expiration of the Bush tax cuts and the imposition of the across-the-board budget cuts entailed by the misnamed Budget Control Act of 2011, as well as the failure of its ill-begotten progeny, the so-called congressional super-committee.

Longer-term readers will note that the looming reckoning between what we as a society want from government and what we are willing to pay for, along with what it entails for our social safety net—largely funded by government but held up by nonprofits—has been an animating focus of this blog since our first post 18 months ago. Earlier this year I realized I may have inadvertently made a name for myself with my obsession when I was introduced to a nonprofit leader at a conference and he said to me, “Oh yeah, I know you, you’re the “View From the Cliff” guy!”

I guess I am--hence my adoption of a new title for this blog: “Cliff Notes: Government, Nonprofits and Philanthropy.”  But the “Notes” portion of this title also matters. Given we are at the cliff, what can we do about it? What notes, even if they are rough sketches, can we use to capture what we know about the landscape and to chart a better path forward together?

In this regard, last month I solicited feedback from readers. I listed a longer set of issues and asked you to select up to three that you’d like to hear more about. Your responses were instructive. The most popular topic, by far, was collaboration across government, nonprofits, and philanthropy.

Ask and you shall receive: for those of you interested, I encourage you to read our recent white paper, “Philanthropy in the New Age of Government Austerity,” as well as a related series of posts and case studies coming out this month on our Give Smart website.

Several other topics were of special interest to readers, including:

  • Evaluation / standards of evidence for programs and practices
  • Federal initiatives like the Social Innovation Fund and i3 fund
  • State and local fiscal issues and implications for the nonprofit sector
  • Nonprofit advocacy to shape and inform government policy
  • Replicating / scaling evidence-based programs and practices

Look for posts delving into these topics in the weeks ahead. If you have not done so already, you can subscribe to future Cliff Notes via email or RSS feed using the buttons below. In the meantime, thank you for your feedback and for reading.

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