There has been a lot of hand-wringing recently about how the 2017 tax law changes are starting to impact nonprofits. The fear is that with an increase in the standard deduction fewer Americans will itemize their taxes.
But in agonizing over this shift, we are doing what we so often do when it comes to the nonprofit sector – taking a scarcity, as opposed to an abundance, approach.
When faced with a challenge there are always two choices:
- focus on the hurdle standing in the way, or
- figure out a way around it.
I see the stark choice between these two paths right now in the journalism space, where I am working with several nonprofits. The news media has been hit hard in the last 10 years with struggling business models, extensive layoffs, and attacks from our highest political office. While some news organizations have buried their heads in the sand and become increasingly irrelevant, others have instead embraced these shocks as opportunities. Some, like the Texas Tribune have completely reinvented the news organization model and made it an engaging, financially sustainable, democracy-supporting nonprofit institution that is currently flourishing.
The problem with scarcity thinking is that it strips you of the most powerful tool that you as a social change leader have at your disposal: belief – belief that change is possible, belief that you can achieve that change, and belief that money, supporters, advocates, people will follow where you lead.