How Future-Focused Nonprofits Can Chart a New Course
Per a Giving USA report, charitable giving declined by 3.4% to $499.3B in 2022, which marks a drop of 10.5% when accounting for inflation. As a result, nonprofits have been forced to do more with less this year, contending with inflation-driven increases in their own expenses while working to deliver on their missions. What does that mean for the financial stability future of the sector? Chris Kane, CEO and Founder of Chek, recently joined Bliss to discuss the pressures nonprofit leaders are facing heading into 2024. Takeaways from the conversation follow.
Efficiency is Everything
When budgets are tight, operational efficiency is especially important. There are many ways organizations can streamline processes and optimize how they utilize resources. Technology can be a huge help — though it may require an initial investment. Technology can power everything from a nonprofit’s services (if appropriate and applicable) to their backend administrative and finance functions. A word of caution: technology for technology’s sake isn’t the answer. The people who will be using the technology must be front and center during its adoption — if the technology is not additive or helpful to them, it’s unlikely to achieve the desired return on investment.
Partnerships can also help organizations maximize resources. If organizations are working toward the same end goal, it may be beneficial for them to work together instead of independently. Partnerships with for-profit companies aren’t off the table either. In today’s social climate, customers are looking to understand how the companies they support are impacting the world around us. Sometimes, a for-profit partnership — if it’s the right fit and in alignment with organizational values — can help further an organization’s mission.
Data and Donors
Donors have become more discerning and want to understand how their dollars are being spent. Donor expectations for impact data, financial data and fundraising outcomes have risen sharply. The key is transparency. Sharing impact data with donors can help them see how they are making a difference and build trust. This will become even more important as a younger generation of tech-enabled donors takes hold.
The flip side of this donor/nonprofit equation is also important. Just like donors expect information from nonprofits, organizations are seeking more information about potential supporters. Such information — from demographics to where individuals have previously donated — can help ensure that outreach is impactful and foster alignment.
But data alone won’t singlehandedly solve an organization’s fundraising woes. The way in which an organization crafts its story together, supported by this critical impact data, is equally important. At the end of the day, communication is about more than numbers. Storytelling focused on human experiences can evoke a strong emotional response. When complemented by quantitative data, this combination can effectively motivate individuals to give.
Looking to 2024
It will be important for nonprofits to continue building trust with employees, donors, partners, and constituents in 2024. Internal and external touchpoints matter – and so do their authenticity.
As we look ahead to 2024, organizations should consider how they can enhance their operations, mission delivery, and points of connection with constituents, donors and workers in a way that is true to their beliefs and amplifies their potential impact.
For more information, check out “Communicating Impact: How Nonprofits Can Leverage Storytelling.”
By Sarah Eisler
Photo by Matej via Pexels