Dear Nonprofit Colleagues,
It’s been a busy month, and I’ve found myself getting cranky. There are so many challenges facing nonprofits at this present moment. At NAWA, we hear from all of you loud and clear what the issues are. To add insult to injury, we face most of the same challenges you are dealing with. So, the question on my mind has been: How do we create the kind of dramatic leaps forward that will save nonprofits from the unsustainable path we have collectively been on? Because “doing more with less” is leading us toward a precipice. This is a captivating question, and it hooks me because I care so much about our shared work, but I have yet to discover a satisfactory answer. Without answers, it can feel a bit bleak.
Of course, this type of thinking is a trap. It implies that there is an answer, and it implies that one person can figure it out. Neither is true. There is no one answer, only a multitude of people making changes at the local or organizational level that collectively can become a trend and eventually a sea change. These brave, local changes must be complemented by a collective of nonprofit folks and our allies coming together to assert our value and demand what we need to do our work well—equitable compensation for nonprofit workers, funding that does not tie our hands and that rises as our costs rise, and willingness to change the social conditions that drive the need for our gap-filling work.
So, I am shifting my focus toward abundance and possibility to the best of my ability. Toward organizing rather than complaining. I’ll try to be compassionate toward the exhausted me that showed up last week and have faith in our communities to rise up and shift the narrative. Signs of progress are visible. Ninety people have joined our new Nonprofit Government Contracting Coalition. This week, Seattle Human Services Coalition will release their new study about comparable worth for human services workers, and NAWA members will gather in Olympia to speak directly to legislators and demand respect and investment in our work. We are excited to continue the discussion about improving wages and working conditions in nonprofits at the advocacy summit on May 18 at the Washington State Nonprofit Conference. This is a movement I am excited to be a part of!
So, I’ve talked myself out of my crankiness, at least for today. I hope you can do the same and unleash some new energy for the work ahead.

Laura Pierce

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