The first budget proposal from the White House has been released, and the blueprint is available via NPR. Already the Twittersphere (and Facebook, and blogs, and newsletters, and….) is alight with nonprofit organizations decrying specific, harmful, and in many cases hateful reductions and eliminations. It is completely understandable to see pleas to “Save the NEA” or “Save the EPA” or “Save job training”. All of these are targeted for horrible impacts.
The message, however, should not be to save any one thing. The message from the nonprofit sector, loud and clear, should be this entire document cannot be saved. Reject it all.
Most charities are now dissidents – officially in opposition to the government in power in the United States. Fragmented, calling for supporters to contact officials with a message of “Save this ONE thing”, the Congress and executive branch can easily pick off opposition. Restoring even ten percent of an egregious slash can feel like a victory.
It is not. Nothing short of rejecting of the entire approach is a victory.
Charities which allow themselves the luxury of fighting only one small battle may attain something, but most assuredly will lose the war. Together, linking arms to say the entire idea of slashing federal investment in people in order to build weapons and walls is appalling, there is more chance of success than arguing piecemeal.
Nonprofits must reset their vision to a larger whole rather than a very narrow, specific item. There may be a little bit of Prisoner’s Dilemma here, but mostly, this harkens to the adage: We must all hang together, or surely, we will all hang separately.