- While it won't happen overnight, eventually the pendulum will swing the other way. As valued charitable services and societal supports erode and disappear, the problems they currently address will get worse. Ultimately there will be a clamour to support (either through donations or "forced donations" via government financing) the highly cost-efficient solutions that charities bring to problems. And when this happens we'll be less likely to forget their value again so soon.
- There are too many charities. The bad news is that due to cutbacks some fabulous and innovative new organizations won't survive (or ever see the light of day), but without the fertilizer of government funding at least some portion of the over-abundance of charities will diminish. Think of it as a very haphazard and unwieldy pruning if you will.
- Lean times will force innovation. Fact is, charities by their nature are driven by passion, and that same passion to help others and make the world a better place won't be stopped for long by fewer dollars. Volunteers, Board members, staff and supporters will (like they always do) step in to help pick up the slack. In so doing they'll all learn new skills, and the organizations still standing will be that much more resilient.
- Cutbacks will actually allow for greater freedom of opinion and unfettered voices for change. We all know the expression "don't bite the hand that feeds you", and very few organizations that receive government funding are eager to risk offending this funder. Some do and have clearly been targeted for cutbacks (e.g. women's advocacy groups). However, for organizations that can survive they will less constrained in their ability to speak. Greenpeace certainly is a good example of this freedom provided by how they're funded.
- Diversified revenue streams will have a positive effect in the long-term. Once a donor (or company) is engaged in giving, in my experience they generally enjoy the experience and continue to be philanthropic. So if the cutbacks encourage entirely new donors to ultimately step in, then we'll see new faces at the funding table once government does come back.
Painful? Yes, and likely hurting a lot of people who most need the help in the first place. But not without some benefits.