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By Jeff Glebocki, Founder & Lead Advisor
Strategy + Action/Philanthropy


We’ve all been bombarded with the editorials, position papers and prognostication about what will, what might and what won’t happen with a new administration in Washington.   While I’ll leave the crystal-ball reading to others, I can share these observations for foundations and nonprofits to consider not doing when tectonic plates shift.


Don’t avoid engaging in public policy!  There’s tremendous (and completely legal) space for grantmakers to be involved in policymaking and to fund policy work.  Nonprofits have similar wide berth to inform and shape policy deliberations.  Policy at the local, state and national level is always important, but crucially so during times of significant change.  As the man once said – you’re either at the table or on the table.


Don’t turn inward!  In challenging times, people and organizations often do the exact opposite of what they should – isolating themselves to focus on what’s going on inside not outside.  I recall a lesson from my community development days during an economic downturn.  Local small businesses were hurting and the first thing they did was to turn inward by cutting advertising, and they wondered why business continued to decline.  These are moments, instead, to reach out to others, to communicate your agenda, and to build networks that continue to advance your work and leverage your relationships.


Don’t be slow to respond!  The scope of real and perceived change can feel overwhelming and cause a decision-making paralysis to take hold – or trigger knee-jerk reactions.  You can, though, transcend those extremes and continue to pursue your good work.  Listen to your heart about what needs to be accomplished and in what ways, and keep your “soul” – those core values that define you and your organization.   Rooted in the “who you are,” you can be open to opportunities and respond nimbly and thoughtfully.
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