For Immediate Release
For Information Contact
Leanne Fisher, Marketing and Communications Director
American Conservation Experience Sounds the Alarm for the Often Overlooked Implications for Nonprofits as a Government Shutdown Looms
November 17 looms for the nation as the next deadline in a series of potential and actual shutdowns. As a nonprofit organization that works closely with federal partners, we feel the stress, uncertainty and anger around Congress’ continued inability to draft and pass spending bills and a budget.
There is much written and discussed about the impact on federal employees, and the sentiment that they will get back pay, so it’s not that big of a deal. While they will receive back pay, the lapse still places a financial strain on families as many live paycheck to paycheck.
While federal employees have the benefit of receiving back pay, it is important to note that partners, contractors and nonprofit cooperators such as conservation corps, do not have the same advantage. These organizations simply go without, resulting in consequential negative impact.
It is reported that up to 80 cents of every dollar of nonprofit revenue in the United States comes from government grants or contracts and fees for services (The Nonprofit Times). This is significant.
When the government shuts down, our work in the nation’s public lands, including national parks, refuges and forests stops. Our members cannot complete needed conservation projects, support agency staff and meet their terms of national service. Our revenue basically stops and there is no mechanism for ‘back pay.’ What we lose, we lose. Staff in nonprofit partner organizations face potential furloughs and layoffs, again with no mechanism to be made whole.
The ripple effect from shutdowns and even the threat of shutdowns is real and an untold story. Nonprofit organizations operate on razor thin margins as they focus on their missions. The impact of political one-upmanship and the inability to negotiate and compromise has lasting effects on many of the more than 1.5 million nonprofit organizations with people, projects, and communities depending on them.
Laura Herrin, President and CEO
American Conservation Experience