Notes on the end (of the year)

We heard little about the social or “nonprofit” sector during election season, but a deal to avert the so-called “fiscal cliff” is sure to have tangible impacts on charitable organizations in 2013. Questions going forward: How might proposed limits to charitable deductions impact philanthropic giving? How might cuts to domestic spending trickle down to ground-level, organizational budgets? How will nonprofits respond during and after the debate? This Nonprofit Quarterly article provides a thorough description of the nonprofit policy challenges during the next year and is worth a glance…

One takeaway from the “challenges” article: despite the “nonprofit” moniker, 501(C)(3) organizations are economic engines and need to do a better job of pointing that out. St. Ambrose Housing Aid Center employs 40 people who earn real money, and real benefits for the work they put in to St. Ambrose’s services and programs. Nobody runs on good feelings alone; at the end of the day St. Ambrose employees have families to feed, bills to pay, and things to buy just like everyone else.

Don’t fall prey to a misconception; nonprofit organizations are not run by volunteers. Independent Sector, a nonprofit and philanthropic advocacy organization, estimates that 13.5 million nonprofit employees, 10% of the nation’s workforce, were paid $668 billion in wages and benefits in 2009. With more workers than the finance, insurance and real estate industries combined, we are a significant part of the economic food chain.

An organization’s resources come from varied sources.  For example, St. Ambrose earns income through the sale of renovated homes; foundation grants and government contracts are tied to specific programs and outcomes. Most importantly, we have a growing group of dedicated donors who believe in our mission and think we are doing a good job at achieving it. What better way to express your vote of confidence in a favorite charity, than by donating online to one today?