The Social/Nonprofit Sector - what will it look like decades from now?

Provocateur: a person who provokes trouble, causes dissension, or the like; agitator.  OR, according to the Sieger definition, is it a person who causes one to step out of their zone and look at the world in another way!?

I am constantly thinking about the future and the role that Grand Rapids Community Foundation is playing and can be playing in that future.  For me, it is no longer just a question of our relevancy but something much more than that.  Are we really ready for what is just over the horizon? 

At the annual Council on Foundations’ Conference for Community Foundations last September, a leader in our field challenged the audience to really look at ourselves and question whether the community foundation “model” was sustainable.  I am used to this fine gentleman’s attempt to try to create a stir.  And while I was listening to some degree, I thought he was asking the wrong question.

The question is whether the social sector – the nonprofit field if you will  - actually be the same in 10 – 20 – even 50 years from now.  And community foundations aren’t the only nonprofit corporations that need to really think about this. 

More specifically, will fund raising really sustain the sector in terms of revenue generation to build capacity and continue to make an impact?  It could be argued that partnerships with governmental sources, creating subsidiary businesses to provide income, and other ideas will help bolster the sector.  But what I’m looking into - - - - what will the sector look like and how will the sector grow in terms of resources beyond asking for money?  Hmmmm.  Ponder that one.  More to follow.