The Path Ahead in 2018
TCC is a mission-driven consulting firm that collaborates with leaders to solve complex social problems. They envision an effective social sector that addresses society’s complex problems through a collaborative approach that harnesses the diverse skills, energy, and visions of its stakeholders.
Last December, following the 2016 election, we wrote about how the plans and programs of the incoming administration might affect the nonprofit sector. We suggested that whatever programs and policies were introduced or changed, it would be critical for nonprofit organizations to be well-managed and nimble. We stressed the importance of advocacy and litigation – along with effective service delivery – as critical elements of any organized response.
An organization’s ability to respond quickly to changing circumstances – referred to in our work as adaptive capacity – is critical for any organization seeking sustained impact.
As early as the summer of 2016, many of our clients, their grantees, and stakeholders prepared for policy changes that threatened their missions. The signals during the campaign – regarding potential policies that targeted the environment, civil liberties, immigration, women’s right to choose, and criminal justice reform – prompted major advocacy organizations such as the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, and the Natural Resources Defense Council to develop contingency plans for an unfriendly administration. This planning enabled these organizations to respond immediately to actions taken after the inauguration.
Similarly, the Women Donors Network, Solidaire, Democracy Alliance, and Threshold Foundation built a rapid-response fund – The Emergent Fund – to help organizations in crisis. Following its first year, we partnered with them to assess the model’s structure, share learnings with the field, and understand the Fund’s impact to date.
Moreover, we continue to develop and utilize strategic learning processes that enable our foundation clients to better approach strategic decision-making. Although shared in the context of the Affordable Care Act, we’ve also found these approaches useful when addressing other social challenges.
Communities experienced both successes and setbacks in 2017, and we expect 2018 will bring an assortment of challenges. Due to the new tax law, experts predict a major reduction in charitable giving stemming from the doubling of the standard deduction. Furthermore, with announced plans to “reform” Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and other features of what we call “the safety net,” the demands on nonprofit organizations committed to improving the lives of people in need can only increase.
However the year unfolds, we believe that organizations with strong leadership and adaptive capacity are empowered to drive positive social change – and we will continue to collaborate with these leaders to address the complex social issues of our time. I invite you to reach out to us with questions, comments, and sector-related concerns as we move forward together.
President & CEO