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Posts Tagged ‘non-profits’

I’m not exactly sure how I feel about this article in the New York Times. Apparently newly unemployed white collar workers are beating down the doors of NYC-area nonprofits in search of volunteer opportunities. A volunteer matching website called volunteernyc.org has seen its searches increase by 30 percent over the prior year. Many of these new volunteers admit either to being bored or hoping their service will lead to a paid position down the road, while the article speculates the influx may be in part due to President Obama’s praise of the spirit of voluntarism. It seems clear that the volunteers are not, however, inspired by any sort of feel-good camaraderie they feel for others struggling through the economic crisis.

In fact, I suspect the waves of newly minted public servants are driven neither by public-mindedness, the president’s pronouncements, sheer boredom, nor even the promise of future employment. (more…)

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Just to continue a bit on the themes of Diama’s post below, I wanted to call out a tangentially related piece I’d read.

At the Social Citizens blog, Allison Fine writes about the “privatization of public service.” While millenials (that’s my generation!) are much vaunted for their interest in voluntarism and non-profits, young people are sharply less interested in taking government jobs. (She cites a study, without links, that only 13% of local government managers are under age 40.) So it’s not just the policy, programs, and resources that are shifting toward non-profits and philanthropies – it’s the people too.

If we’re serious about scaling our innovations up and making truly impactful, community-wide change, we’re going to have to be serious about building institutions that can do the work well. That means we need good people, policies, and programs not just in our sector but in government as well.

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I frequently consult the Stanford Social Innovation Review for anything cutting edge in the non-profit world. Many of my posts will probably be a commentary or link to an article or post on their website. Today, I browsed their opinion blog and realized that this might be something worth posting here. So hear you go:

http://www.ssireview.org/opinion/

The latest post talks about the current and potential relationship between government and charity. Here’s a teaser:

“There has got to be a better way to tackle urgent social problems.

Nonprofits and foundations address the symptoms and causes of those problems, often serving as civil society’s research-and-development arm.

But nonprofits lack the resources and power more readily available to government.

As the Washington Post reported recently, some nonprofits leaders are calling for a special White House office or government agency to focus on nonprofits, community initiatives and volunteerism, while others are pushing for greater collaboration among charities, corporations, and government.”

I like to think of TI as a non-profit R&D.

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