It seems everywhere I turn these days, I hear of more budget cuts heading down the “turnpike” of non-profit funding. Just today, I read about the MA state House Committee on Ways and Means proposes yet another $1.2 million cut to arts, sciences and humanities in the FY13 budget.
This is rather common these days. In fact, state support for many agencies is less than half of what it was a decade ago and it seems as if further cuts are always looming in the distance. Not to mention, that all of this has been compounded by reduced support from both public and private sources over a long-stretch of severe economic downturns.
I truly believe that this “old” way of funding of relying on federal, state, or city government, is no longer a viable and sustainable option for many non-profits. The days of a single source of funding are long gone. Today, non-profits must diversify their funding streams in order just to survive. While many feel that these are unfortunate times, I truly believe that these can be rather transformative ones. We all know that diversification is crucial and it is a very true reality for nonprofits. They can use these times as opportunities to really strengthen who they are and how they meet their mission to the community.
Is this a certain challenge, yes? Will the “old” way ever return, I surmise not. Challenges can just be opportunities in guise. This is one such opportunity for great change in the non-profit sector. It can be done and it must be done in order to be truly mission-centered and relevant in this new age of funding scarcity. Or is it one of abundance? It all depends how you see it…a challenge or an opportunity.