The Center for Non-Profits, a charitable umbrella organization serving New Jersey’s non-profit community recently launched the New Jersey Non-Profits 2014: Trends and Outlook. This report is the Center’s annual survey of the non-profit community, and was conducted online in January 2014 to “gauge the experiences, trends and expectations of New Jersey’s non-profit groups. The survey tracks prior year funding and expenses, outlook for the coming year and actions taken by non-profits to address trends. The findings are based on 197 responses from New Jersey 501(c)(3) organizations”. The report is of great use for everybody who is interested in the nonprofit sector of New Jersey. These are, according to the Center for Non-Profits, the 7 most relevant findings of the survey:
- 82% of responding organizations reported that demand for services had increased during the past year, and a similar percentage (80%) expected demand to continue rising in 2014.
- 46% reported relatively level funding in 2013 vs. 2012, but 31% reported that expenses exceeded support and revenue during their most recently completed fiscal year.
- 74% expected their total expenses to increase in 2014, but only 58% expected total 2014 funding to increase. About 28% expected total funding to remain the same as 2013, but only 8% anticipated a decrease. Respondents overall were more optimistic than one year ago regarding funding prospects, predicting increased funding from foundations, corporations, individual gifts and special events.
- Overall, compared with the last several years, fewer organizations reported taking new cost-cutting measures such as cutting staff, reducing or freezing salaries or curtailing programs, but such steps remained a possibility for a sizeable percentage in 2014. By contrast, slightly higher percentages reported that they might be able to add programs (41%), add staff (33%), or increase salaries (30%) in the coming year.
- A significant portion of respondents (47%) reported launching new partnerships or collaborations in 2013, most commonly with other non-profit organizations, although partnerships with government and business were also reported. 22% said either that they might explore a merger in 2014 or that that they definitely intended to do so, while 10% percent indicated that might, or definitely would, complete a merger in 2014.
- Asked to identify the issues presenting the greatest challenges to the viability of their own organizations, non-profits most frequently mentioned financial uncertainty, the need for better branding/ communications, the need for a stronger board, and staffing/benefit costs.
- When asked to choose the issues most important to maintaining and improving the viability of the nonprofit sector in the coming decade, non-profits were most likely to select attracting/retaining capable, committed board members; nonprofit infrastructure/capacity building; foundation/corporate funding; and attracting/retaining qualified workers.
References to the need for “a stronger board” and “committed board members” are of extreme importance for the NSRI. One of our most relevant initiatives focuses on board leadership training. Through this training program, we seek to provide current and potential board members with the skills and knowledge they need to become the leaders nonprofits need in the 21st century. As most of the nonprofits who answered the survey, we are convinced that a high-performance board enhances the viability and sustainability of a nonprofit organization.
We want to thank the Center for Non-Profits for the great value of their survey. If you want to read the full report, you can download it here.
What statistic from the report surprised you the most? Which one you thing is most crucial for the future of the nonprofit sector in New Jersey? What topics do you think board members need training on?
Share your ideas and opinions, we would love to hear from you and start a conversation!