We would all have to agree that over the past few years, the world of nonprofits has changed….well, as much as the rest of the world. Just as the global pandemic has brought with it changes that are probably going to be permanent in our society, there are changes that are here to stay in the nonprofit sector.
Trend #1 According to research, one of the biggest challenges facing nonprofit leaders is the mental health of their staff and volunteers. It is common sense that mentally healthy staff are necessary for the rigors of the work in the nonprofit sector, but the past few years have taken a toll on the mental health of everyone. Unfortunately, researchers are predicting that mental health for staff is going to become increasingly more challenging. To help their staff, many nonprofit leaders are providing resources, promoting overall health and physical wellness, connecting staff to weight management and exercise programs, etc. What has your organization found to be helpful for staff?
Trend #2 There is a continuing shift in how work gets done. Many organizations went virtual during the pandemic and have discovered that “it works.” While virtual does not work for every organization, particularly those organizations that are providing direct, basic needs services, most organizations are using virtual work to some degree. For some organizations, this may mean full virtual, while for others, it may mean flexing work hours to create a better work-life balance. (This is perfect for a Trend #1 solution.)
In addition, to the virtual work environment, there are other shifts as well. Many organizations have implemented more outsourcing of work; in other words, contracting with individuals who specialize in a given area. This often allows the organization to get someone with more experience and save money.
We are also seeing a greater use of technology within the nonprofit sector. In many ways, nonprofits have been reluctant to fully implement the benefits of technology, but the virtual work environment has pushed the use of technology. However, it is important to remember, the human touch will never “go out of style.”
Trend #3 There has been a digital shift in many areas of nonprofit functioning. Some of these include:
- Marketing & Communications
- Performance Measures/Data Collection
- Online Fundraising
- Program Management
Since the number one challenge facing nonprofits as expressed by nonprofit leaders is controlling expenses, fundraising and marketing must be addressed. As we have seen in the other trends, the world is changing and the world of fundraising and marketing are changing as well. Donors are expecting that they will have ready access to key impact performance metrics (KPIs). Unfortunately, many organizations do not have these in place and are not even sure what they are. Tip: Spend some time developing performance metrics that demonstrate the impact the organization is making.
For more organizations (76%) individual giving is a major source of revenue. While so many organizations want to increase their grant funding (a diverse funding plan is essential), over the long term, developing additional relationships with additional potential individual givers will benefit the organization.
According to the Lily Family School of Philanthropy in 2018, one in two households donated to charity. This leaves great room to increase the donors to an organization. However, many organizations report finding new donors is a challenge. Tip: Increasing the number of donors and the amount they donate always begins with organization awareness. Communication is key.
Bottom Line, The world is changing and is requiring more of nonprofits and ministries. For some, the challenges include putting all the pieces together while still doing the work of the organization. Feeling overwhelmed? Need help? Contact us today!