We’re entering a new fiscal year – this weird thing that happens to organizations but not people – so while most of us think we’re in the middle of the year, organizationally we’re just beginning again. This fiscal year is different than most; actually different from 75% of the others in most of the past couple of decades. Why? Because it’s a fiscal year that corresponds to a national election cycle.
Years ago that fact wouldn’t have made much of a difference. But for the past few election cycles, especially this one and 2008’s, it appears that nonprofits, especially those that work in the political realm but not in politics, will suffer from what I call Election Year Famine. We’re entering a period where the organizations that support the organizing we need to move forward the kind of change we need will lose out to the corporate media machines that are fed to pump the election.
But is that wise? The 2008 campaign was a tent under which millions gathered. But after the election, no one really took on the task of caring for the tent. Our newly elected president, who we thought would be the great outreach organizer-in-chief, focused on governing, legislating and politics – no longer organizing us, rather organizing the political opposition.
So then, we got discouraged. It took a few years for us to realize that we, the organizers, had to continue to push a progressive agenda – even with those we elected and thought would be able to push it on our behalf.
We know what happened – when progressives stopped thinking it was all going to be done for us; when we realized that, no matter who we elect, we need to push and challenge and perhaps more so when our person gets pushed against so hard. It’s not just those corporations that turn out voters either. Nonprofits have a role as well. Grassroots get out the vote efforts are essential. So starving the organizers might be penny wise but pound-foolish.
Funding Exchange is launching our fall efforts with this in mind. This is about November 7, 2012 – the day after the election. We want to remind our friends that, no matter who wins on November 6, our work will have to continue. Someone has to take care of the tent; and the people under it.