Nonprofit Day is Just the Beginning

Author: Joni Byun, CNM Senior Strategist

On November 30, CNM convened nearly 300 nonprofit sector partners and supporters to increase awareness and recognition of the essential service nonprofits provide to Los Angeles residents.  We took an honest look at the challenges that nonprofits and community-based organizations face in serving their communities. Nonprofits are a valuable part of Los Angeles and Southern California as a whole. We provide language access, serve residents in culturally compassionate ways, and empower ourselves and others to demand the resources families and communities need to thrive.  

Part of the guiding principles of the day were expressed clearly in the Nonprofit Bill of Rights. Nonprofits deserve recognition as trusted, community-based partners. We are a bridge for the social safety net. The Nonprofit Bill of Rights seeks to formally recognize the essential role our sector plays and the considerations we deserve.  

Please review the Nonprofit Bill of Rights and share it widely.  

We focused on equitable access to public funding and the investment of those dollars, serving local communities. Working toward a more equitable funding system is a key area that CNM has been working towards with partners in Los Angeles for years.  

A key theme was the need for fair and prompt compensation. Sustainability is a major issue for nonprofit organizations, and we need to be transparent about our needs to address the issue and develop solutions and strategies.  

Nonprofit organizations need the same considerations as other businesses when covering the costs for providing services. Benefits and advantages given to small businesses should be applied to a nonprofit organization.  

As content experts, nonprofits are key to educating policymakers and elected officials to improve systems for greater impact. We must engage and advocate for ourselves and the people we serve.  

After outlining these guiding principles, we entered panel discussions featuring local leaders who presented strategies that were effective in meeting the serious challenges posed by the pandemic. Later, attendees participated in smaller group discussions that focused on mental health, justice reform, food justice, youth and family services, public health, housing, equitable funding, education, and economic development. We found that participants and speakers supported and empathized with each other even if they were from different sectors.  

Culminating in a call to action, the day inspired participants to reach out to their elected representatives to ask that they fully support nonprofits in the budgets they’re planning for the coming year. If you’d like to do the same, we welcome you to using the contact information found here.  

In addition to the day’s progress towards uplifting our sector, we also had the opportunity to be inspired during the day’s keynote, delivered by the funny, provocative, irreverent, and vulnerable Vu Le of Nonprofit AF. He observed:  

Nonprofits helped me and my family and brought us warm clothing … and helped my parents find jobs but most importantly, restored a sense of hope and community that we didn’t think we’d feel again. I can’t go back and tell those nonprofits how much they did for me and my family. Because of what they did, we were OK. It inspired me to get my master’s in social work to pay it forward. It’s what we do every single day. What you have done for people; you may never see the results of your work, but the ripple you create—and you create them all the time—I am one of these ripples. 

The positive response to Nonprofit Day in LA demonstrated how much nonprofit professionals needed a space to share, challenge, and collaborate with each other. It was both a celebration and an examination of how we can improve and create more ripples going forward. 

About the Author

joni byrun Nonprofit Day is Just the Beginning

At CNM, Joni provides consultation on campaigns to build capacity, promote access, and engage diverse audiences on health, environmental, economic, and social justice issues. She has more than 25 years of strategic communications, consultation, and project management experience, and enjoys helping clients share their stories for greater leadership and representation. Learn more about Joni.

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