Written by: Kathy Nelson, CPO
As we enter budget season—for nonprofits and state government—there are sobering trends emerging for local and national nonprofits to be considering. 2012 could be far more painful for nonprofits and the people we serve than any we have known, especially given the Governor’s plan to shift human service funding to block grants worth 25% less than this year’s funding levels.
1. Governments in crisis. The recession continues to take big bites out of tax revenues and the continuing unemployment crisis adds to the lack of revenue.
2. Strains in the Safety Net. Nonprofits continue to experience surges in requests for food, housing and other social services as people struggle with job loss and other problems triggered by the downturn.
3. Competition for Gifts. With cutbacks in state aid, as well as from grants, charities—most of them—will focus on individual gifts.
4. Grim Grants Outlook. Hit hard by investment losses, many foundations and corporations will either trim their gift levels or keep them at 2011 levels.
5. A Weakened Charity Workforce. Nonprofit employees face a year with conditions ripe for burnout: 2011 was marked by layoffs, salary freezes, and cutbacks in benefits. Those remaining in the workforce have taken on expanded workloads, creating challenges for organizations.
6. IRS Scrutiny. The new 990 ensures that organizations are doing what they say they do and are transparent and accountable.
7. Specified Contributions. As donors increasingly specify how they want their contributions to be used, cash-strapped organizations will struggle to honor those wishes and yet remain fiscally viable.
8. Proof. In a recent Center for Philanthropy at Indiana University survey, donors indicated that they would increase their gifts if they knew their dollars had an impact.
9. Volunteerism is Cool. It’s not just about how to recruit more volunteers, but how to absorb and manage the record numbers.
10. Online Revolution. The new social media gives nonprofits a great way to connect with supporters, but few have figured out how to raise funds using the new media.
Regardless, the nonprofits in Adams County will find ways to continue to provide services to our residents. We are grateful for everyone who supports our vital work for the most vulnerable.