New Research Helps Us Improve Our Practice

April 18, 2018

As we strive to do our best work, there is so much to learn.  I encourage you to take time for learning and reflection this month, and I’d like to share some new research that is available to aid our learning and advance our work.

A National Imperative: Joining Forces to Strengthen Human Services in America outlines the importance and social impact of human services community-based organizations.  This report affirms the value of human services, cautions that many providers are financially tenuous and at risk due to a number of systemic issues, and speaks to the potential to shift the funding model and target investments to “upstream” human services that are transformative and have positive ripple effects on health care, education and criminal justice.  We all need to be talking about the trends discussed in this report and how Washington’s human service providers can maximize their impact.

Race to Lead just issued a special report Working at the Intersections:  LGBTQ Nonprofit Staff and the Racial Leadership Gap.  As we work to improve equity in our organizations and in society, understanding how race, class, gender and other markers of difference interact is critical.  This report helps me understand how our diverse identities affect our experiences as staff members, and outlines actions we can take to improve our workplace climate.  I’m pleased that the author, Sean Thomas-Breitfeld, will be a featured speaker at the 2018 Washington State Nonprofit Conference on May 16.

Back in December, the National Council of Nonprofits, our national umbrella organization, published Hot Topics to Help You Plan for What’s Ahead in 2018.   Covering trends like cybersecurity, the political divide, budget cuts and the relationship between grantmakers and nonprofits, this blog post is a great launching point with links to read more on hot issues.

These are a few of the things I am reading.  We all need to challenge ourselves to keep up with the news in our field and make sure we are innovating and participating in the big picture discussions that can help us evolve our work and increase our impact.  I look forward to finding new avenues to have these conversations within our membership, and in the meantime, happy reading!

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