April 1, 2022by Mike Mitchell

2 Trends Confronting Nonprofits in 2022

Now that we’ve passed the first quarter of ’22, it is worth noting two trends facing nonprofits and the executive directors who lead them.  Most obvious, inflation, Ukraine, and polarization will undermine our potential as nonprofits, but it is worth looking beyond to discern what other obstacles stand before us.  Failing to do so risks our sustainability and in some cases, even survival.

First, Good Dissolution.  The proliferation of good initiatives means the diffusion of our capacity to find the good we seek.  The pandemic, Black Lives Matter, and Ukraine have played an extraordinarily role in raising national consciousness while also leading to tens of thousands of new nonprofits.  There is nothing wrong with this because it will add to competition in the sector with some orgs likely to develop new, creative approaches to change and leaving older organizations challenged to come up with them.  Many new and old will fail, and those that are able to persist with old approaches will suck valuable capital from the sector.  If you are an ED, don’t concern yourself with this reality, just focus on new approaches.  Innovation will be the way forward.

Second, the TaskForce “Force”.  Unlike Star Wars, this force is seen.  Every donor, government, civic org, and relevant institution is launching task forces or their equivalent.  This is great but there is a great BUT.   That is, these groups must take action and leave the comfort of their dialogues and disagreements to make decisions.  Otherwise, these too are sucking valuable energy from leaders and networks looking to make decisions and take action. These Task Forces are essential but let’s just make certain that they are time limited so those on them and leading them know that they must make decisions.  As Yoda presciently told Luke, “Do or Do Not, There is No Try”.

Again, it is worth welcoming these trends while also being smart in how we respond. Therein lies our challenge as leaders and participants in the social sector that strives to meet mission for those who need our focus and devotion.  Let’s not let them down.

Email Mike Mitchell at mike@missionrise.org