Alongside the federal and commercial sectors, the not-for-profit sector is among society’s three primary formal industries. Nonprofit work has a long history in the United States. Traditionally, Americans have founded associations or nonprofit organizations to pursue or achieve different social objectives. Americans rely on nonprofits to solve different issues, including providing food and shelter for the needy and homeless, nursing for the ailing, undertaking research, and others (Zinsmeister, 2017). This essay explores how social, political, economic, cultural, and current factors influence nonprofit organizations using the Civil Affairs Association as a case study. More importantly, the essay demonstrates how public policy influences the operations of nonprofits and the ramifications.
Civil Affairs is an active duty or reserve unit that regularly grace American news screens. Civil Affairs carry out cooperative rescue missions in many nations. Civil Affairs exists to bridge the gap between the civilian and military worlds to achieve a similar goal. Civil Affairs troops have been on the vanguard of easing tensions between nations, such as in Korean conflicts, to uphold the country’s ambitions for many years. Many soldiers are still called to go to locations like Colombia and Honduras to undertake many of these missions.
Their philosophy is to prioritize the mission and the residents of the globe before their wants. This organization has assisted several countries in resolving internal difficulties with the assistance of people and has enabled high-level authorities to recognize the importance of civilians’ voices. Civil Affairs participates in a broad range of operations worldwide, including aiding with earthquake shelters, hurricane recovery, and helping community hospitals enforce anti-drug rules. The main purpose of civil affairs includes the following:
- Works with global organizations to achieve a shared mission.
- Reinforces the link between civilian and military organizations in other nations.
- Promotes and strengthens sustainability among international countries.
- Helps in the maintenance of collaborative partnerships and understanding.
Like any organization, Civil Affairs’ operations can be impacted by social, cultural, political, economic, and current factors. The social aspect entails the capacity of the military ethos to reflect social ideals and values and the extent of acceptability and incorporation of military service within the society (Shields, 2020). The military’s ability to carry out this mission is frequently judged on factors that seldom relate to waging wars but greatly on contemporary social or political debates. The U.S. experience in such countries as Libya, Afghanistan, Syria, and many others provides several good examples. U.S. military activities in these countries have been criticized for violating human rights, including killing women and children (Bose, 2019). In this way, Civil Affairs must ensure that its activities in local and international communities reflect humanitarian values.
The cultural dimension concerns how the military “reflects” the country’s people, races, and ethnicities in general. For example, it pertains to whether females can participate in ground troops; and whether gays should be permitted to enlist in the military. While these difficulties might have a little real effect on defense capabilities, they are significant in the context of Civil Affairs policy debates. Ruffa (2018) believes that the effectiveness of a military organization is contingent upon an awareness of the military and social conditioning culture and history. In other words, the general public’s acceptance and knowledge of military matters are critical for the Civil Affairs services to carry out its objectives in peace and conflict.
Civil Affairs will be evaluated based on its combat capabilities in carrying out its foreign policy and sustaining and supporting homeland security objectives. Thus, the political factor concerns Civil Affairs’ capacity to translate political goals into military strategy and preparedness and lend the state the required legitimacy in its international policy (Stepan, 2021). Additionally, Civil Affairs will be evaluated on its level of honesty and commitment to political choices.
The economic aspect pertains to the Civil Affairs’ ability to make optimal utilization of limited resources. This covers employee turnover rates and development expenditures and armed personnel’s net output and returns on investment in education and training (Toronto, 2021). Civil Affairs management efficiency is also measured by initiatives like training incentives, medical services, and pension schemes. Additionally, volunteer armed services will be judged on their capacity to operate profitably in many marketplaces against the civilian sector. A good example is how they perform in the labor market. Ideally, this would involve Civil Affairs’ capacity to find, hire, and retain an adequate level of qualified individuals to occupy open positions.
The world’s current events affect the Civil Affairs mission’s work. C.A.’s purpose is to recruit and train soldiers to assist civil authorities both domestically and internationally. C.A. protects the U.S. and other nations against unrest and loss of stability, even when contemporary events, such as COVID-19, impair its operation. These occurrences provide a chance for the agency to live true to its goal. For example, the business guarantees that its services remain feasible for the general population.
Additionally, the incidents teach the agency to prioritize service over its selfish interests. During such occurrences, the agency takes a calculated risk, acts courageously, and prioritizes the needs of others over its own. Additionally, the agency is imaginative and innovative in its approach to mitigating the event’s impact. For example, the presence of COVID-19 required individuals to take precautions against infection. This implies that the agency must devise new methods of ensuring that its employees are protected and not sick. These effects are consistent with the agency’s objective of assisting civil authorities in the United States and overseas.
Public Policy Impacts
To this end, one must wonder why Washington matters to Civil Affairs and its stakes in federal policymaking. The scope, shape, activity, and function of the nonprofit industry in the United States are heavily influenced by government spending, tax, and regulatory policies. For better understanding, I interviewed Charles Paul Rettig, who is currently serving as the United States Commissioner of Internal Revenue (Internal Revenue Service, 2018). I learned from the interview that federal tax policy and federal tax spending supported nonprofit organizations through tax cuts and special spending programs, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). For example, Head Start program reimbursements to nonprofits considerably influence these agencies’ financial statements and their capacity to satisfy client requirements.
Federal tax policies and spending programs are vital because they stipulate how nonprofits should operate to avoid misuse of funds and resources. Here, Rettig informed me that the tax code’s section 501(c)(3) explained how entities might become charitable nonprofits. This section prohibits eligible organizations from spending a significant portion of their funds on advocacy and taking sides in divisive political actions (Abramson, 2016).
Other key federal rules that influence NGOs include those that ban them from lobbying with federal funds restrict nonprofits’ grant and contract connections with the government, and offer them special privileges when bidding for federal money. Private organizations are subject to a separate set of rules, including a requirement to contribute at least 5% of their holdings annually (Abramson, 2016). Many rules apply to one or perhaps many other nonprofit segments instead of the entire nonprofit sector.
There are benefits and costs associated with implementing this policy. According to Haveman and O’Reill (2021) the cost of donating is affected by marginal tax rates, which impact how much people contribute. According to Rettig, during high tax rates, the price of giving falls. In other words, taxpayers incur minimal costs when donating to charity; hence, they are more motivated to donate to organizations. Whenever tax rates fall, the amount of money available for incentives increases. It is worth noting that only taxpayers who quantify their taxes may benefit from a tax credit to contribute, and tax laws that influence the number of quantifiers also affect the proportion of donating (Alston, 2018). Organizations have brought great attention to discussions about prospective inheritance and capital gains tax reductions in the last decade.
Proponents for the nonprofit sector have obtained several substantial new industry-wide benefits. More significantly, they have successfully defended industry interests against several onslaughts, such attempts to reduce the worth of itemized deductions for wealthy folks. In this regard, albeit influenced by social, political, economic, cultural, and current factors, such nonprofits as Civil Affairs have benefited from favorable tax policy in the U.S. However, this does not rule out the possibility of systemic and other restrictions limiting the charity sector’s ability to influence government policy.
Abramson, A. J. (2016). Making public policy toward the nonprofit sector in the U.S.: How and why broad, “sector” interests are advanced–or not–in federal policymaking. Nonprofit Policy Forum, 7 (2), 257-284. Web.
Alston, J. T. (2018). The nonprofit sector’s uncertain future in a post-TCJA America. Brigham Young University Law Review, 859. Web.
Bose, M. (2019). Appraising the foreign policy legacy of the Obama presidency. In W. C. Rich (Ed.), Looking back on President Barack Obama’s legacy (1st ed., pp. 93-113). Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. Web.
Haveman, S., & O’Reilly, C. (2021). Tax policy and charitable giving: an evaluation of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act 2017 and its impact on charitable contributions. Journal of Public Finance and Public Choice, 36(2), 189-207. Web.
Internal Revenue Service. (2018). Commissioner Charles P. Rettig. Web.
Ruffa, C. (2018). Military cultures in peace and stability operations. University of Pennsylvania Press.
Shields P. M. (2020). Dynamic Intersection of Military and Society. In A. Sookermany (Ed.), Handbook of Military Sciences (pp. 1-23). Springer, Cham. Web.
Stepan, A. C. (2021). Rethinking military politics. Princeton University Press.
Toronto, N. W. (2017). Why professionalize? Economic modernization and military professionalism. Foreign Policy Analysis, 13(4), 854-875. Web.
Zinsmeister, K. (2017). The almanac of American philanthropy: 2017 compact edition. The Philanthropy Roundtable.