Brian Newman's "first person" piece on indiewire is worth a read. In the essay, Brian asks some tough questions about non-profit organizations (like AIVF) set up to support filmmakers. Below are some excerpts, which I hope will encourage you to read the whole thing:
What filmmakers... need are a community in which to connect, advocacy for policies that affect them, good information they can use, money to make their work, and new ways to distribute it. These can all be found or developed online, and these centers haven't made the shift. When people try to save AIVF, they are really trying to save the concept of the organization, because these organizations often stopped serving their members real needs long ago....
...If you want any of these organizations to survive, get involved now -- whether through money or just ideas, because otherwise I predict 2006 will be the end of the nonprofit media movement; and if it dies, our culture and our society will be worse for it.
Brian's most recent blog posting about having an impact with film is a nice companion piece to the indiewire essay.