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Partner with DANA and keep building the nonprofit ‘village’

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Sheila Bravo
President & CEO

You are familiar with the saying “it takes a village.” But what does it really mean and how does it apply to nonprofits? The “village” is a collective group of like-minded people that accomplishes great things when each member does their small part.

Nonprofits are formed to address needs and create solutions to improve local communities. However, nonprofits, like all businesses, don’t work in a vacuum. They often need each other to tackle a seemingly insurmountable need in their local community. In many cases, they face challenges from the system itself, which needs to evolve before they can even begin to reach a desired solution for the people they serve. Thus, building that “village” is a lot tougher than one would think.

So, who can coordinate efforts for nonprofits? Who can see the forest through the trees? Who has the capacity to work on building the village, while the local nonprofits do the work of serving the people? This is where state associations, like the Delaware Alliance for Nonprofit Advancement (DANA), come in. For complex issues and systems or regulations that transcend all nonprofits ““ state associations serve as a coordinator, informant, connector, and cheerleader. We share information that helps nonprofit leaders and boards of directors improve their advocacy and strategies for advancing their mission. We offer education, training, consulting, and coaching to our members. Or, we connect nonprofits to resources that offer the solutions they desire. And, most importantly, DANA serves as a voice for Delaware nonprofits. We monitor issues that could impact the ability for nonprofits to successfully conduct their work ““ and when they arise, we act.

How do we do all of this? We do it because our village is strong. Nonprofits, businesses and foundations have joined our Alliance, which enables us to work collectively to strengthen, enhance, and advance nonprofits and the nonprofit sector as a whole in Delaware. DANA represents more than 400 local organizations who directly and positively touch the lives of hundreds of thousands of Delawareans and millions of visitors annually. Membership in a state organization, specifically, the Delaware Alliance for Nonprofit Advancement, is not only a benefit to each organization who joins but is also a benefit to the Alliance itself ““ the village grows stronger with each member who joins.

I would be remiss if I didn’t break it down into a real-life example of the power of the Alliance. In 2018, the town of Dover wanted to implement a public safety fee on nonprofits (a fee for fire and police protection). DANA jumped into action ““ we quickly gathered relevant information about the financial impact this would have on local nonprofits, shared with our Alliance the strategies that other towns across the country had successfully implemented to thwart similar efforts, and mobilized nonprofits to share their concerns with the local government, all the while providing direction on the most effective and efficient way affected nonprofits could reach out to their town officials. That powerful response led the government to rescind the proposed tax. All nonprofits ““ members of the Alliance and others ““ benefited from the actions we took on their behalf.

As we begin the new year, we encourage nonprofits, businesses that engage with nonprofits, and foundations that support the nonprofit sector to consider joining DANA. We are happy to share the lengthy list of all the benefits individual members are eligible to receive as part of the alliance, but more importantly we will welcome you and celebrate our strength in numbers ““ sharing the powerful impact we have together on improving local communities and the lives of those who call Delaware home.

If you are already a member ““ thank you. Please consider renewing this month and continue the tradition of a strong Alliance into the new decade. 

Sheila Bravo is president and CEO of the Delaware Alliance of Nonprofit Advancement (DANA).

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