Thursday, 26 March 2009

Reflecting on difference. But learning.

"It’s too good to waste a crisis". Been picking up lots of info on how non profits here are tackling recession. A number of the key top umbrellas are taking the ACEVO line that now is the chance to think different, to experiment and seek out new opportunities. But that is not to ignore the very real pain of falling income and rising demand. So they are also gearing up support networks and website help. We are making links for our own "recession support" website which ACEVO has developed as a sector wide help tool. We plan to make links.

It has been a 7 a day meeting schedule. My voice is beginning to give out as I extol the virtues of ACEVO as the UK's most influential sector body. So much too talk about. Though our transatlantic cousins don't let me talk for too long!

I get an email from a member who wants to know about the book I'm quoting on the need to trash 3 year plans. It is "The non profit strategic revolution" by David La Piana http://www.nonprofitstrategyrevolution.org/

La Piana is also the States guru on non profit mergers. We have got a copy of the book and guide produced for one of the top non profit umbrellas and are looking at how we can translate for our members. Like in the UK there is renewed interest in mergers and alliances here. Clearly a chance for cross atlantic learning.

And emerging news from the White House on policy for the third sector. Obama is establishing a Centre for Social Innovation in the White house. Names have just emerged about who might lead this and we are picking up the gossip as we go along. People are excited. It’s a fruit of the Obama campaign and his recognition of the ideas and new ways of thinking and working he has seen from community and non profits. So there is a big shift from the Bush approach of only supporting faith based groups (and ones who toed the evangelical line) to a broad third sector.

And he is talking of the idea of an "Office of Social Innovation and Civic Action" again based in the White House but a bit like our dear OTS. Exciting - I email a briefing for Liam Byrne MP who arrives States side soon. Not sure the Embassy here will pick all this up so best to get a third sector briefing in as well. They are interested in how ACEVO got Blair to set up the UK model.

I get an irritating email from my Deputy Dr Kyle (who is looking after the flock in His Masters absence). Apparently he is off for a meeting with the PM on the G20 Summit as I'm not in the UK. He says he will send a photo. Humph. But a bit later another email arrives to say that we have been filming Kevin Brennan MP for our website and they have noticed he has a cool photo of me and my Chair, Lesley-Anne Alexander with Kevin at our Annual Reception, on his mantelpiece. I'm flattered. He is a good advocate for our sector. Thank you Kevin.

Today has been meetings with the top federal sector wide bodies. There are simply not ACEVO or NCVO type bodies here. Its a sector of nearly 2m organisations, many only operating at a State or County level. So no real umbrella wide representation, though there are a number of Washington based bodies who take on a representational role. And they are powerful.

The evening glides to a close. A reception for Association executives and then I take my Director of Strategy (Fab Jobsworth as he is now to be known after the spoof blog designation) to my Washington Club for dinner. An enormous steak - New York style - but with a stunning Napa valley Cab Sav. And we started with a Chardonnay from Sonomo valley to die for. Wines from California are truly great. It was a deserved reward for a day toiling in the vineyard of third sector travails.

And a good end to Lady Day. The day we remember The Annunciation of Our Lady.

1 comment:

Louisa Bennett said...

Sounds like you are opening a lot of doors in the US. I think you mentioned you've written a book on networking. Where can I get a copy? Thanks.