Nonprofit Radio: Our Esteemed Contributors’ 2024 Outlooks

I recently joined fellow Nonprofit Radio contributor Amy Sample Ward in conversation with host Tony Martignetti about what we expect to see in the new year. Listen to the podcast here.

Amy Sample Ward and Gene Takagi kick off the New Year with what they’ll be keeping eyes on this year. They delve into artificial intelligence (AI); the presidential election; donor advised funds; workers’ rights; and more. Amy is our technology contributor and CEO of NTEN. Gene is our legal contributor and managing attorney at NEO, the Nonprofit & Exempt Organizations law group.

The following are a list of topics we discussed and some resources applicable to each:

Workers’ Rights

For Labor Unions, 2023 Was the Year of the Strike—and Big Victories (Kate Bronfenbrenner, Wall Street Journal)

The country experienced a surge in strikes unlike anything in recent memory. According to Cornell ILR’s Labor Action Tracker, as of Oct. 31, there were 354 strikes in 2023 involving roughly 492,000 workers—nearly eight times the number of workers involved in strikes for the same period in 2021 and nearly four times the number for the same period 2022.

Making ‘Work’ Work In 2024: The Year Of Employee ‘Centricity’ And More (Deborah Lovich, Forbes)

Gig Workers and Worker Classification Issues

Classifying Employees Correctly (National Council of Nonprofits)

Misclassifying workers is a common mistake made by employers of all kinds – nonprofits included. Doing so can result in serious consequences, including back wages and taxes owed, as well as violations of federal and state employment laws with associated penalties. These mistakes can also result in dissatisfied employees, risking a negative effect on the nonprofit’s mission. 

Independent Contractor (Self-Employed) or Employee? (IRS)

Artificial Intelligence

8 Steps Nonprofits Can Take to Adopt AI Responsibly (Beth Kanter, Allison Fine, and Philip Deng, Stanford Social Innovation Review)

How Nonprofits Can Avoid A.I. Ethical and Legal Pitfalls (Rasheeda Childress, Chronicle of Philanthropy)

While new and exciting, the technology is not a panacea. The information the tool provides is based on what it’s learned by perusing the internet. So sometimes the content it produces is wrong, biased, or inappropriate, experts say. Because of this, it’s crucial for nonprofits jumping into A.I. to think carefully about how they are using this technology so it doesn’t violate laws, ethical principles, or the faith of a charity’s constituents.

Donor Advised Fund Regulations

Taxes on Taxable Distributions From Donor Advised Funds Under Section 4966 (Federal Register)

The proposed regulations generally would apply to certain organizations, including community foundations and other charitable organizations, that maintain one or more DAFs, and to other persons involved with the DAFs, including donors, donor-advisors, related persons, and certain fund managers. … Written or electronic comments and requests for a public hearing must be received by January 16, 2024.

Proposed Donor Advised Fund Regulations: What is a Donor Advised Fund?

Donor Influence on Nonprofits

What do universities owe their big donors? Less than you might think, explain 2 nonprofit law experts (Ellen P. Aprill, Jill Horwitz, The Conversation)

Donors shouldn’t try to control a charity through their gifts after the fact. The time to establish limits is before you’ve signed off on those gifts.

Opinion: Donor Revolts, Fundraising Fallout, and Why the Ivy League’s Turmoil Matters to All Nonprofits (Chronicle of Philanthropy)

Election-Year Issues

Political Campaign Activities – Risks to Tax-Exempt Status (National Council of Nonprofits)

Fact Sheet: Election Year Activities and the Prohibition on Political Campaign Intervention for Section 501(c)(3) Organizations (IRS)

Tony and I will be speaking more about this in a future episode.

Closing Thoughts

I described my expectation for 2024 to be defined by conflict, hopefully followed by bridging in subsequent years.

Amy described another theme for 2024 to recognize: burnout, which I hope will be followed by greater community movements that collectively uplift their members.

The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.

Martin Luther King, Jr.