These kinds of proposals are happening more and more around the country. But to me, all of these ordinances and policies just redistribute homeless persons. They don’t solve the problem of homelessness. You can’t jail people out of homelessness.

Robert Adelman, a sociologist at the University at Buffalo, in response to Columbia, South Carolina’s new “strategy” for “dealing with the homeless problem”.

State of the Nonprofit Sector 2013: Survey Results

For the nonprofit data nerd in all of us, there are many productive ways to slice and dice the data from this year’s survey. The Nonprofit Finance Fund and Bank of America surveyed more than 6000 nonprofits and derived a few key learnings. One that stood out to me:

Under these challenging [financial] conditions, many nonprofits are unable to meet growing need in their communities: 

  • For the first time in the five years of the survey, more than half (52%) of respondents were unable to meet demand over the last year; 54% say they won’t be able to meet demand this year.
  • This represents a worrying trend; in 2009, 44% of nonprofits said they were unable to meet demand.
  • Jobs (59%) and housing (51%) continue to be top concerns for those in low-income communities.
  • 90% of respondents say financial conditions are as hard or harder than last year for their clients; this is actually a slight improvement from prior years’ outlook.

For me, the survey re-highlighted to (the cynic in) me how struggling nonprofits need to humble/smart enough to fold or merge. While I certainly don’t want to see their constituencies’ needs completely unaddressed, I do want to see more collaborative and stable approaches to tackling concerns like jobs and housing. Right now, segmentation is huge, creating a greater-than-necessary competition for resources, which means nobody can do their job and address needs quite as well.

Let’s discuss.

State of the Nonprofit Sector 2013: Survey Results

NPR put together these neat graphics and accompanying article showing what America does for work.

One personal point of interest is that the things that MOST Americans are doing aren’t the loudest and most spotlighted. Government jobs, for instance, aren’t generally given the same respect and limelight that financial activities jobs get. I am not attempting to make any deeper point here other than as a country, we may want to widen our public discourse perspective to be inclusive of the background of most of the working population. Democracy style.