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

For staff members to feel empowered, they need to believe that management communicates a clear direction for the future, that they are working in alignment with the CEO and board, that the foundation cares about them, and that their performance reviews are fair and helpful.

One of the key findings in the recently released study by the Center for Effective Philanthropy: Employee Empowerment: The Key to Foundation Staff Satisfaction.

As always, CEP put together a thoughtful report that is well-researched and helpful for guiding best practices in the foundation world.

Does your organization want to know more about your younger donors and volunteers?

Yes? You should make your organization a Millennial Research Project partner!

Since 2010, more than 10,000 Millennials have participated in the Millennial Impact Research studies. The Millennial Impact Project is the most comprehensive research on Millennials, covering topics including how they (my generation) connect, involve and support causes. The intent of the research is to understand engagement preferences of the next generation of donors, volunteers and leaders. Building on previous research, the 2013 Millennial Impact Project will provide findings on the specific triggers that motivate Millennials to give, volunteer and lead.  The 2013 research will include two parts:

  • A nationally disseminated online survey to Millennials.
  • Video recorded feedback from Millennials on messaging and collateral – including direct mail & email solicitations, newsletters, social media posts, and nonprofit websites.

The goal is to understand the influence of peer engagement, design, and messaging and to help Millennials act in the moment. The research findings will be released in July 2013 at the next MCON, a virtual and in person conference on Millennial engagement.

Organizations can participate in the Millennial Research Project as a Distribution Partner (help disseminate the 2013 online survey to Millennial constituents) or Content Partner (providing materials like newsletters, solicitations, and volunteer recruitment flyers to directly advance research). Both have benefits, of course!

I care about this research, because our generation, the Millennial generation, is an important constituency that has not always had the best reputation. But, we’re already making impact, and we can make more by better understanding and tapping into our potential. Research works; it makes skills and tools for engagement concrete, and it proves a track record of engagement. The more organizations that participate, the more accurate and helpful the data gathered will be. I don’t want to see just the top tier of engaged organizations, for instance, participate, because the research wouldn’t be representative. With a greater, more diverse, pool of participants, I think our communities and country can really learn something and leverage the Millennial generation for good.

Analyzing Networks // Wolfram Alpha Takes on Facebook

Wolfram Alpha, a cool tool for learning anything about everything, just added integration with Facebook so you can analyze your network. As someone who is fascinated by the people who surround me, I tested it out and it was definitely both fun and interesting.

Some of my favorite findings worth sharing here (though I question the complete accuracy):

Most common friends’ names:

Sarah (23)  |  Rachel (22)  |  Michael (19)  |  David (18)  |  Jason (18)

Relationship statuses:

Single (24.5%)  |  Married (29.5%)  |  Engaged (9%)  | In a Relationship (34%)

Gender breakdown:

Female (58.3%)  |  Male (41.7%)

Most commented on status:

The one after I was hit by a truck last summer (37 comments)

Word frequencies for wall posts:

friends  (96)  |  know  (79)  |  new  (70)  |  fun  (69)  |  please  (69)  |  
people (66) | good (63) | really (62) | day (61) | awesome (58)

And my visualization of my network, which I think I might adopt as a personal branding tool / logo for all things connector. (What do you think?)

Sam’s new project, ACMEScience News Now launched today, and wow is it fascinating! I’m so proud! Here is the full first episode, in which we learn about crowdsourcing as a scientific tool. I love crowdsourcing* and really appreciated the perspective in this interview.

“The crowd identifies things that are unexpected.” – Paul Hines

*look for a post based on crowdsourced information regarding toilet paper early next week!