2014 State of the Nonprofit Sector

Posted by on April 21, 2014

Survey chronicles nonprofit challenges

Results of the annual national survey of the Nonprofit Finance Fund (NFF) describes the many challenges facing the nonprofit sector today and demonstrates the need for an increased collective investment in the social infrastructure of the US.

The survey shows that the economic recovery is leaving behind many nonprofits and communities in need:
* 80% of respondents reported an increase in demand for services, the sixth straight year of increased demand.
* 56% were unable to meet demand in 2013 – the highest reported in the survey’s history.
* Only 11% expect 2014 to be easier than 2013 for the people they serve.

The results also showed that nonprofits are coming up with new ways to raise money. Thirty-one percent said they will change the main ways in which they raise and spend money, and 26% said they will pursue an earned income venture. Twenty percent said they will seek funding other than grants and contracts, such as loans or other investments.

Achieving long-term financial stability was identified by 41% of nonprofits as their top priority. More than half of nonprofits (55%) have 3 months or less cash-on-hand, and 28% ended their 2013 fiscal year with a deficit.

Nonprofits are taking wide-ranging steps to survive and succeed. Forty-nine percent said they collaborated with another organization to improve or increase services, while 48% invested money or time in professional development. Forty percent upgraded hardware or software to improve organizational efficiency, and 39% conducted long-term strategic or financial planning.

The survey also showed that funders are demanding more evidence of effectiveness from nonprofits. Respondents to the survey said that more than 70% of their funders requested impact or program metrics. Seventy-seven percent agreed that the metrics funders ask for are helpful in assessing impact. But only 1% reported that funders always cover the costs of impact measurement; 71% said costs were rarely or never covered.

NFF is offering several ways to learn about these and other results of the survey. It will sponsor a live webinar on Thursday, April 24th at 2pm to review and discuss the results, and has created a 2014 Survey Analyzer as an online resource that anyone can use to filter the 2014 survey results by state, sector, etc. The tool allows users to focus on what’s most relevant for them.

Webinar: http://www.cybergrants.com/pls/cybergrants/ao_survey.form?x_gm_id=1499&x_section_id=190375&x_quiz_survey_id=26829

The Survey Resources Page provides a full list of growing resources and results from previous years, and NFF’s Social Currency Blog includes further stories on the results. NFF will be exploring the qualitative results, providing advice on how to use the results and more throughout the rest of the year. The website also offers an outreach toolkit to share the results with colleagues.


For more details on the survey, go here.


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