As millions of Americans headed to the polls to cast their ballots for the 2010 midterm elections, nonprofit leaders have been watching with a keen eye to see how government leadership will change.
All nonprofits are affected by federal and state leadership -- some are directly funded by government dollars to provide services to Americans in need, others are affected more indirectly by tax laws and other policies.
As predicted, the House of Representatives has returned to Republican control, a move that signals a new wave of fiscal conservativism -- one that may cut budgets of nonprofits.
In his column in The Nonprofit Quarterly, Rick Cohen explained that Republicans' view on nonprofits follows their small government doctrine. According to Cohen, many Republicans believe charity should be left to the private sector -- not to be government funded.
Don't expect increasing government appropriations for programs delivered by nonprofits, but do expect calls for people to turn to charity.
Several nonprofit leaders and experts in the space spoke to The Chronicle of Philanthropy about their anticipations of the impact of midterm elections.
Some, like Gary Bass, the executive director of OMB Watch, feared,
If Republicans win the House as expected, Mr. Bass says, the impact on nonprofits will be "bad, bad, bad."
Others felt that partisan stances had less of an effect, citing that the recession's negative impact on nonprofit budgets is the primary factor hurting organizations now.
William Daroff, of the Jewish Federations of North America, explained,
The climate for social-services programs in the next Congress will be tough no matter which party is in control, Mr. Daroff says. "There will be a major push to cut spending generally," he says, "and that would be the case if Republicans have a one-seat majority or one-seat minority."