State of the Non Profit Sector

Blackbaud recently released the results of a North American survey of over 2,200 non-profit organizations. This survey gathered data on general operations, fundraising, technology and accountability/stewardship to provide a snapshot of the sector in 2010 and to make projections for 2011. This survey has been carried out for 6 of the past 7 years. 

With regard to revenue generation, almost half of the organizations anticipated their total income would increase in 2010, while 25% expected their income to remain the same and 28% expected it to decrease. The projection for 2011 is more optimistic with 60% expecting an increase and 26% expecting no change. 

However, looking back at past survey results, the percentage of organizations expecting an increase in income has dropped from 77% in 2007 to 47% in 2010. 

Looking at total expenditures for the year, approximately 49% anticipated expenditures to increase, 27% expect no change and 23% expect a decrease. 

The results for staffing indicate that 53% of respondents expect no change in staffing levels in 2010, while 29% expect staffing to increase and 19% expect a decrease.

When compared to expectations for demand for service, however, the results show that over 70% of the respondents expect an increase in demand for service, while only 24% expect no change in demand and a mere 5% expect a decrease. 

These results highlight the fact that organizations are continuing to respond to greater service demands with limited staff and financial resources. 

Looking at funding, the sources of funding most frequently cited by respondents were Individual Donations (98%), Individual Donations from major giving (92%), Memberships (89%) and Government Grants (88%). Lowest were Special Events (53%) and Online Events (37%). 

For donor acquisition techniques, however, the respondents cited special events as the most frequently used method for reaching out to new donors (81%), followed by direct mail (73%). Social Networking was cited by only 43% of respondents. 

The survey also asked respondents to rank the importance of various business practices and then to rate their performance on those elements. Managing relationships with supporters and retaining current donors were ranked highest in importance at 9.2, with performance in those areas ranked at 7.5 (gap of 1.7 points). Recruiting new donors was ranked at 8.9 in importance and at 6.4 in performance (gap of 2.5 points). 

Other areas included staff retention at 8.2 in importance and 7.6 in performance and utilizing social media at 6.8 in importance and 5.4 in performance. 

With regard to technology, 72% of those surveyed had a technology budget. However, only 28% has a written technology plan and only 19% had a written online strategy. The use of online tools is common and increasing among those surveyed. Social tools tools are used by 68% of the respondents.

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