The most insightful statement about predicting the future comes from Nobel Prize-winning chemist Neils Bohr, who reportedly once said, “Prediction is very difficult, especially if it’s about the future.” New York Yankees catcher Yogi Berra once said roughly the same thing, though he also said, “The future ain’t what it used to be.”
Berra and Bohr seem to be describing the future that faces nonprofits and foundations in 2013, based on dozens of predictions we received from smart people in and around the Nonprofit Quarterly orbit. It would take several columns to reprint all of them, so this Cohen Report excerpts some telling commentaries that lay out thematic predictions for the coming year. In some cases, we hope that they are on the mark. In others, we hope that some of these Cassandras (the mythic Greek character who knew of the future but couldn’t change it) are mistaken.
Relationships with Government
Heading toward the precipice of the fiscal cliff, people with predictions for the sector were notably absorbed with what will happen to nonprofits at the hands of—or in bed with—government. With “organizations such as Robert Egger’s CForward endorsing candidates, and with other thought leaders calling for more political involvement, DePaul University professor John Ronquillo observed, “expect nonprofits and government to get even more intimate.”