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New trends emerge for the not-for-profit sector

November 17, 2014

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Over the past several years, the not-for-profit industry has grown more complex, challenging and comprehensive across the United States. At Clark Schaefer Hackett, we understand the hurdles you face as a member of a not-for-profit organization, from keeping a close eye on your grants to effectively managing an audit. As the times and trends evolve around you, it can help to watch current industry news.

The ability to cope with any problems that come your way, implement quality fiscal monitoring and ensure sound finances are priorities for your organization. Every minute detail can make a difference, and changes within the industry are likely to have a significant impact on your operations, sub-grantees and other members of your organization. With these issues in mind, we’ve noticed several noteworthy events related to not-for-profits recently, and thought you should also be aware of these happenings:

Donations start to tick up for many NFPs
Tight economic conditions and restricted donor activity can traditionally hamper not-for-profit strategies and activity any time during the year. Thankfully, this hasn’t been the case in both calendar year 2014 and this past fiscal year.

According to the NonProfit Times, several factors have led to improved situations for not-for-profit managers all across the country. For example, there has been improvement regarding the domestic stock market, increased fundraising activities and changes to unrestricted revenue. These shifts have helped boost the overall activity of multiple not-for-profits. In addition, global trends have further benefited U.S. organizations.

“Our new framework is more broadly about strategies on a global basis to bring the relevance of conservation to people everywhere,” Steve Howell, chief financial and administration officer for The Nature Conservancy, told the news source. TNC recently raised $26 million for global programs thanks to revised donor strategies. “We’ve been the beneficiary of great increases of wealth in places like China, and the recovery of Europe. Places where historically we didn’t raise any money, but now we’re seeing, particularly in China but even in Europe, recovering or growth economies are places you can raise money. That trend of global growth and wealth creation has helped our organization.”

TNC isn’t alone either, The NonProfit Times reported. Other not-for-profits such as DonorsChoose.org and U.S. Fund have had stellar years so far, with each noting improved donor activity across the board.

Accountability needed to encourage donations
Even while donations increase for many not-for-profits, people want to be assured of several conditions prior to giving money. This is based on a recent study conducted by America’s Charities, demonstrating that accountability is one of the most important elements of a successful organization. For the survey, members of 240 not-for-profit organizations were polled across the country.

“Corporations, employee donors and the public expect charities to demonstrate greater accountability, transparency, and evidence that their work is making a significant, measurable impact,” America’s Charities president and CEO Steve Delfin told The NonProfit Times. “Charities that can evolve in this age of the democratization of charitable information will be in the best position to thrive and succeed.”

According to the survey, 61 percent of respondents feel that both corporate partners and donors desire accountability, transparency and measurable results. In addition, 68 percent pointed to the current digital culture as a requirement for this level of clarity. Essentially, easy access to information mandates that all not-for-profits are forthcoming about their actions. Thankfully, more than 90 percent of the survey participants noted that their relationship with technology has shifted over the past three years. As a result, they can now better communicate and share data with donors.

The nuances and demands of a not-for-profit could become overwhelming at times. However, the assistance of experts, such as those at Clark Schaefer Hackett, can simplify the process and ensure fiscal compliance and sound operations. There is no need to tackle everything alone when our professionals can provide the tools you’ll need to succeed.

© 2014

All content provided in this article is for informational purposes only. Matters discussed in this article are subject to change. For up-to-date information on this subject please contact a Clark Schaefer Hackett professional. Clark Schaefer Hackett will not be held responsible for any claim, loss, damage or inconvenience caused as a result of any information within these pages or any information accessed through this site.

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