The 8 Neighbors is a coalition of eight organizations representing the nonprofit, philanthropic, government and business sectors in the Greater Washington Region.
Founded in 2008 in response to the economic crisis, the group originally came together to support the community and address challenges faced by local nonprofits in the new fiscal reality. The 8 Neighbors work collectively and in combinations to raise the profile of nonprofits that enrich our community as well as the people they serve.
These eight community partners include:
In 2010, the Eight Neighbors released Nonprofit 911 - What's Next report about how nonprofits are responding to economy and what they are expecting for 2010.
► "At Nonprofit 911, nonprofits talked about weathering the toughest year in recent memory, and braced for the one ahead." (Washington Post, Nov 22, 2010)
► Local Non-Profits Urged to Collaborate (WAMU 88.5FM) "We need something like e-harmony.com, non-profit speed-dating."
► Nonprofit Emergency (Bisnow) "Now is the time to nurture existing donor relationships, not start new ones."
► The Roundtable, Center for Nonprofit Advancement, and United Way for the National Capital Area released results of our Nonprofit Economic Impact Survey - a companion to the Nonprofit 911 report: "80% of nonprofits surveyed anticipate an increase in demand for services through the remainder of 2009."
*photo: (top row) leaders of the United Way for the National Capital Area, the Nonprofit Roundtable, Center for Nonprofit Advancement, Leadership Greater Washington (bottom row) Community Foundation of the National Capital Region, Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers, the Greater Washington Board of Trade, and the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments.
The meeting, convened by the Eight Neighbors, sought to address some of the difficulties faced by nonprofit organizations and their leaders due to the economic crisis, identify what worked and what didn't and discuss the outlook for 2010.
Dr. Alice Rivilin, Director, Greater Washington Research at the Brookings Institute, provided an analysis of the economy and its impact on service industries as a whole. She provided a timeline of how the crisis began and her outlook for the months and year ahead. Dr. Rivlin recognized the grim outlook for nonprofits, noting that as the need for services increase, nonprofit resources are quickly running dry. Rivlin addressed the need to cut costs, noting that doing so increases productivity. Asked about the duration of the crisis, Rivlin said the end is near.
Following Dr. Rivlin's speech, Robert McCartney of the Washington Post, posed a series of questions to a panel of the Eight Neighbors including Tamara Copeland, Terri Freeman, Jim Dinegar, Dave Robertson and Glen O'Gilvie, that focused on trends in the sector and what nonprofit leaders ought to do differently in 2010. Below are a few highlights:
Tamara Copeland suggested that nonprofits leverage funders in ways other than dollars. She referred to Washington Grantmakers' Beyond Dollars report, which notes that grantmaking initiatives are focusing not only on dollars but on building key partnerships and leveraging key resources. She said in these times telling your story is more effective than providing numbers
Terri Freeman discussed the mood of individual donors. Terri stated that individual donors are still giving, however, considering the economy, "now is not the time to develop a relationship with a potential donor." The best strategy is to strengthen current donors and keep the relationship current and the donor informed. Put a real face on what you do, invite donors to your site, let them meet the people you serve.
Jim Dinegar provided an outlook from a business perspective. He suggested that nonprofits "sharpen their elbows" and curve their niche to get the message across. He advised that nonprofit get out of their communities and visit the business community, adopt techniques that will help lead your organization during the difficult times.
Dave Robertson advised nonprofits to engage policymakers in their work at all times, and not just during budget time.
Finally, Glen O'Gilvie stressed that collaboration is the key to success fr nonprofits. He mentioned statistics from a survey by the Center for Nonprofit Advancement that showed that 2010 will be a difficult year. 44% of nonprofits are on a hiring freeze and many have eliminated essential programs and services.
Addressing best practices for nonprofits, Chuck Bean and Bill Hanbury identified effective collaborations that have occurred in the past year including the Eight Neighbors, 211 Initiative (between the Roundtable and United Way), recent collaborations between Dance Place and Arts Space Projects, and Unity Health Care and N Street Village.