10 hopeful things

10 Hopeful Things for the Nonprofit Sector (and for our world)

Julia Claire Campbell Nonprofits, Soap Box, Speaking Leave a Comment

I was lucky enough to have spent 2 days as the MC and host for the amazing virtual conference Cause Camp 2020!

Though we couldn’t be in person, and I definitely have a Streamyard hangover, it was a fabulous two days of learning and connecting.

I think it might be my true calling. (If you want to book me as the host and MC of your next virtual conference, just send me an email!)

I came away feeling very hopeful for the sector. One participant said:

“Cause Camp has rejuvenated my spirit and hope! This is my first Cause Camp and I think it was just what I needed – hoping to ride this wave of inspiration into next year. Thank you!”

In my closing remarks, I shared 10 trends and observations that I jotted down that give me hope for the sector.

My 10 hopeful things:

1. More collaboration sector-wide.

I am seeing egos and silos being checked at the door out of necessity. There is a spirit of collaboration and “a rising tide lifts all ships” that is exciting.

2. Innovation and creativity.

Nonprofits of all sizes have had to completely reinvent their communications and their events.

A great example is certain libraries emerging as co-working spaces – creating community, fulfilling their mission, and creating revenue all at the same time!

3. DEI conversations that are uncomfortable but necessary.

We are now realizing – some of us for the first time – that issues of anti-Blackness and white supremacy DO have to do with us. No matter our mission, our vision, and the community that we serve.

4. The complete elimination of the “status quo”.

When everything is new and uncertain, there is no “this is the way it’s always been done.” There is no status quo. I see courageous risk-taking by nonprofits that is paying off in small and big ways.

There is a (sometimes forced) willingness to embrace new technologies, new methods of fundraising, new ways to provide programs. It’s an opportunity to be more efficient and effective.

5. Changing philanthropy.

This is one that I really hope never goes away. I am seeing more foundations and funders providing unrestricted grants and more willingness to fund start-up, newer, “unproven” nonprofits that are providing vital services.

6. Vulnerability.

Forced to be even more resourceful at every turn, nonprofits are showing their donors what they are made of. That they are just like them.

We are not all in the same boat, but we are all in the same storm.

7. Transparency.

There is more raw and real storytelling, more sharing of what’s happening on the ground, and less making it all seem like things are coming up roses and everything is just FINE.

8. Exposed inequity and people fighting hard for what they believe in.

We have nowhere to hide. Nonprofits have long been aware of the gaping holes in the safety nets for marginalized communities. Now America’s bones are bared and we cannot look away.

9. Empathy and compassion.

Despite what we might see on Facebook, there is an increased sense of empathy and compassion for others. Giving is up – people are seeing the need to help others, even when they may need help themselves.

10. Optimism.

Despite everything that 2020 has thrown at us, I am seeing an overwhelming optimism. It may be coupled by exhaustion, anger, frustration, and numbness – sometimes all in the same hour – but there is positivity.

I see hope. What do you see?

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