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December 2014
The Nonprofit Sector:  The Year's Metrics are Talking              
Our Sector: A year in review.
I wake up every morning happy to be working within the nonprofit sector. As I sat down to write this month's newsletter, I began to reflect on the metrics we within the nonprofit sector use to measure the value we bring to our communities. (If you've read my newsletter's October issue, you know I like metrics.)
A number of annually-published reports monitor and discuss various aspects of the nonprofit sector; two that I always read are:
We often measure philanthropy by the value of the gifts and from where they come. To that end, Giving USA 2014 tells us that, compared to 2012, giving by individuals is up 4.2%, foundation giving is up by 5.7%, bequests are up 8.7%, and corporate giving is down by 1.9%. The Urban Institute's Nonprofit Sector in Brief 2014 tells us that in 2012 public charities received 50% of their revenues from fees for services and 12.9% from private contributions. These reports contain lots of statistics, but what do all these statistics mean to our everyday professional responsibilities?
After reading both reports, here are some points that I find interesting, plus my analysis of each (all stated statistics come from either of the two noted reports):
  • Total giving has increased during the past four years, but when adjusted for inflation, today's giving still lags behind 2007 giving. We've made gains, but the sector is also expanding. As of 2012, there are more than 1.44 million 501(c)3 organizations in the U.S.—an 8.6% increase from 2002. Yes, the sector is growing, however competition for funding continues to grow, too. We need to keep our donor pipeline flowing. Are you tracking the number of donors your organization retains and acquires?
  • In 2013, bequests had the largest increase in giving at 8.7% when compared to 2012. Does your organization have a planned giving program? Is your Prospect Research department identifying planned giving candidates? If not (either question), why not? If the reason is because the department is short on staff, then consider hiring a consultant to help with developing a planned giving program or to help with generating planned giving prospects.
  • Human services organizations comprise nearly 35% of the nonprofit sector but receive only 12% of the philanthropic gifts. Even so, Giving USA 2014 reports that human services organizations tended to receive more during the post-recession years, but the trend is starting to reverse. Cultivation will be an imperative necessity to sustain giving within the human services subsector.
  • There has been a significant drop in giving to foundations; when compared to 2012, gifts to foundations in 2013 dropped 16.7%. Could the decrease be due to increased giving through donor-advised funds? If you aren't current on DAFs, read my newsletter's November issue.
  • Corporate giving seems to follow the S&P 500 Index. Although corporate giving also follows the fluctuations of the S&P 500, the changes in giving generally lag behind by a year or so. Why? Budgeting; corporate philanthropy is generally a budgeted line item. Is your Prospect Research department helping your organization to project its giving revenue by providing an economic outlook? If it is not, you may be setting unrealistic and/or unattainable philanthropic goals.
  • We are experiencing the lowest level of volunteerism since 2002. Only one in four people will volunteer to help an organization. How are you showing your volunteers appreciation for their service? The Urban Institute estimates the value of volunteers to be $163 billion. Have you thanked your volunteers today?
I hope these insights will help make 2015 a productive year for you and your organization.
I am thankful to have you as my newsletter subscriber and wish you good health, prosperity, and fun in 2015. I look forward to having you right back here in front of the January newsletter issue. Until then…
Part-time Development Office Position
Philadelphia Young Life
Philadelphia Young Life is seeking a part-time development officer.
If you are interested in learning more, please send your resume and a cover letter detailing your experience, education, and goals to Jeff Morrison.
Are You Feeling In Need of Some Inspiration?
Why Not Volunteer?
Volunteer roles can provide us with inspiration and opportunities to expand and hone our skills. New skills can translate to a new job or can better position us for increased responsibility at a current job. There are a variety of organizations that help place knowledgeable volunteers within the nonprofit sector.
RSVP is one of the largest volunteer networks in the nation. Many of these networks help nonprofit organizations understand governance, fundraising, and financing. If you are in the Philadelphia region, RSVP of Montgomery County is specifically looking for volunteers skilled in fundraising, as well as governance, technology, and financing, to assist in its VEC Program (Volunteer Executive Consultants). Contact Ruth Cella for more information.
Others sources of volunteer opportunities include:
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Send us your comments.
I welcome your ideas, comments, and suggestions.
If you've enjoyed this issue of my newsletter, please tweet about it, send it to a friend, or otherwise pass the newsletter on to your friends, family, and colleagues.
Margaret King
President, InfoRich Group, Inc.
InfoRich Group Inc • 1005 Pontiac Drive #202 • Drexel Hill, PA 19026
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