February 11, 2009

The V3 Campaign and Nonprofit Politics

Almost one month into an historic presidency, party lines and a candidate’s stance have certainly faded into the rearview mirror. However, President Obama is only one man. Robert Egger, the founder of the V3 Campaign, would like us all to remember that real change is an ongoing, cooperative effort that involves state and local representatives as well. It’s an effort that would do well to work with nonprofit organizations, as well as the professionals, volunteers, donors, and advocates that keep them running.

Egger wants us all to imagine a world in which the nonprofit voice rings loudly in the political arena, working for feasible and effective solutions. Nonprofit organizations are frequently bound by short-term projects and yearly budgets, often waiting into the spring for their annual funding. Despite the large contributions made by nonprofits to their communities, the economy, and the job market, it is large corporations that seem to have the most pull. According to Egger, nonprofits are businesses. Furthermore, it is our job as volunteers, professionals, donors, and concerned citizens to ensure that voice is heard.

Then again, what would it mean for nonprofits to partner with politicians, much in the way that corporations do now? It’s inevitable that nonprofit policies will clash, from time to time, with political platforms. Nonprofit organizations mold their own unique visions. Would those visions be compromised in order to compete for relevancy in the political realm?

I’d like to hope not. In any case, I can’t imagine that the risks of an increased importance placed on the nonprofit sector would outweigh the benefits. Whether in the form of more funding for supplies, programs, and wages or through the power to catalyze real changes in policy – I think this country could benefit from its government cooperating more with nonprofit organizations. If you agree, download the V3 Campaign’s candidate questionnaire, and ask your local representatives how they would work with the nonprofit sector to achieve goals.

And sound off in the comments about just how you think that relationship should look. Should nonprofits be given a bigger role in the world of politics? What do you think?

This post was written by Allison Tritt, a former high school English teacher, volunteer for Oxfam Japan and blogger with Literacy ‘n’ Poverty Project. She blogs to foster global awareness and remind others that there is always a way to get involved. Please leave your comments or email Allison at ajtritt@gmail.com with any questions.

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