Policy Ideas for Change in the Sector

Colleagues leading community foundation around the country tell me that many of their donors are interested in how to improve effectiveness and efficiency in the sector. It is great to hear because the private foundation funding for this work, nonprofit effectiveness or infrastructure funding, is dwindling.

Yet there is no guide book for new donors to determine current practice, learn their funding choices and guide future investments.

The Aspen Institute helped this past week with the release of its new report, Mobilizing Change: 10 Nonprofit Policy Proposals To Strengthen U.S. Communities, highlights promising policy innovations for the nation’s social

According to the press release, the report "puts together in one place the proposals of leading thinkers in the field who are working to address social problems and improve the lives of those in need through improved nonprofit-government policies. The report calls for a bipartisan commission that would study the relationship between nonprofits and government and make recommendations for increasing social sector capacity.

Examples of the proposals discussed in the report include:

A new tax designation for social benefit enterprises, groups that mix business practices with social missions;
A new nonprofit-government coordinating body that would improve FEMA’s communication and coordination with nonprofits during times of crisis; and,
Creation of a Social Investment Fund Network, which would generate growth capital for nonprofits with pioneering approaches to solving difficult social problems.

The Aspen Institute won't be disappointed in the dialogue that this release is likely to generate -- on what's missing, like microfinance, and on why these items were chosen above others. However, we are grateful that our "discerning donors" will have this resource to consider as they look to invest in the sector.

Carla E. Dearing

Posted at 9:00 AM, Jun 16, 2008 in Cross-Sectoral Strategies | Philanthropic Strategy | Scaling Philanthropy | Permalink | Comment