Challenges & Opportunities for Nonprofits in 2020

By Center for Nonprofit Management

In recent months we’ve seen big shifts impact the Los Angeles nonprofit sector. Shifting priorities at the federal level, individual donors emerging through crowdsourced funding online like Go Fund Me, and the closing of YPI and change of leadership at LAHSA. While we know that leadership transitions and change are inevitable in the lifecycle of any organization, it still leaves those of us in the sector with lots of questions: What decisions led to this point? What happens to the community and those receiving services? Where was the point of failure? Who can we blame? And ultimately, how do we persevere?

At the Center for Nonprofit Management (CNM) we work with organizations and leaders who are traversing these changes on big and small scales. Sometimes it’s in reaction: a funding source goes away, an opportunity appears earlier than expected. And sometimes it’s planned: a desire to more substantially integrate equity and diversity into the organization, training staff to adopt a new project management process, or shifting services to deliver new impact. In 2019, a lot of organizations have told us that their communities were experiencing these changes too —– impacts from housing affordability, negative impacts from the political environment, less individual giving. Through this, we’ve learned a few things.

To be able to respond to change you have to be focused yet nimble, you must have empathy to understand the impact made on all involved, and you have to communicate.  And perhaps most importantly, bigger does not mean more sustainable.

At CNM we believe that bringing people together, sharing our expertise, and giving peers the space to share ideas makes all the difference. In 2019, we hosted a series of roundtable discussions called Finding Common Ground. The goal was to bring together different nonprofit leaders and simply have them talk to one another about leadership in these complex times. Topics ranged from racial healing to organizational sustainability. We edged towards new solutions in our conversations, appreciated different viewpoints by listening to others in the room, and most of all, we felt heard and understood by peers who are working relentlessly through the same radically changing nonprofit landscape. As a SCLN Alum, we invite you to join us in these and other conversations, through the regular trainings and networking events we host, including our annual conference happening May 20th.

The Center for Nonprofit Management has been a longtime partner with SCLN, and provides distinguished speakers for our Riordan Leadership Institute. You can learn more about the Center for Nonprofit Management at