As nonprofit managers have learned, an organization does not operate simply in a world of organization and constituent. Current events can play a huge role in the operation of any nonprofit, from the smallest to the largest.
Writing in the book Wise Decision-Making in Uncertain Times, published by the Foundation Center, Dennis R. Young cites the work of Lester Salamon and others to show that there are several forces that have affected nonprofits recently and will do so in the future. They include:
- Government funding. Government funding of social services has increased since the Reagan cutbacks, but the composition of that funding has changed and continues to be uncertain. Medicaid, for example, plays a greater role in supporting social services
- Developments in philanthropy. Trends indicate that charitable giving is becoming a less significant proportion of nonprofit income over time, but such revenue promises to remain a critical component of nonprofit support.
- Demography. The American population is becoming increasingly diverse and multiracial. More than 40 percent of young persons are now "minorities," and by mid-century are expected to become a majority.
- Technology. Modern and rapidly improving communications, information and other technologies continue to transform the economy as a whole. The implications for nonprofits are enormous and are not predictable.
- September 11. Most short-term effects of this day have been dissipated or accommodated over time, but an analysis of long-term effects heightened awareness of the need for nonprofits to embed themselves in supportive networks.