Letters to the Editor

Viewpoint: Rising demand, falling supply

In this extraordinarily difficult and chaotic economic time, the only thing that has remained simple and constant is the basic math of supply and demand.

In our county, there continues to be a steady demand for health and human services, but there is an even steadier decline in resources to provide them.

Perhaps never before has the need been greater for government agencies, businesses and nonprofit organizations to work together. This presents a challenge for all of us because when we toss around our favorite local phrase, “quality of life,” we often overlook the crucial underpinnings that make our beautiful county function so well as a community.

We are blessed to have an amazing number of local organizations that provide assistance and opportunities that enhance and enrich all of us. There is an excellent chance that you volunteer time and money to one or more of these organizations because you care about children or senior citizens; parks and recreation; animal welfare; the arts or the environment. Or, perhaps you do so out of concern for friends or family members or even strangers who have experienced hardships or illnesses.

It’s true you will never be able to do all you would like to do for others. Still, you do what you can. So you give away a winter coat, a Christmas toy, a box of food, a part of your paycheck or some free time, and it feels good, yet it’s still not enough.

And these days, it’s harder for you to do what you can, and harder for the organizations too.

But this challenge, this increased competition for dwindling resources, has led to a general understanding that greater efficiencies and consolidations are absolutely necessary. Strategies for maximizing resources, new tools of utility and coordination, the building of cross-sector alliances — all of this and more can lead not only to a more effective way of doing business, but can also spark the creativity that is a catalyst for new approaches and new solutions.

Luckily, we have in our county the Nonprofit Collaboration Forum. On Oct. 23 it is hosting a day-long event at the San Luis Obispo Adult School from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. It will explore many issues that are especially relevant in these challenging times, including collaborating for cost efficiencies and to fill gaps in service.

The event is open to the public, and we believe it would be particularly helpful for nonprofit organization executives, board members and volunteers. There will be panel discussions, break-out sessions, and a meet-and-greet reception for California’s Secretary of Service and Volunteering, Karen Baker. Come all day or for a little while. It will be worth your time.

To register, go to www.collaborationslo.org. The motto for this year’s event is: Learn it. Live it. Love it. I hope to see you there.

Adam Hill represents the Third District on the county Board of Supervisors and will make the opening remarks at the Collaboration Forum.