With the 2nd quarter of 2016 in full swing, nonprofit leaders are looking ahead and preparing for new (and repeat) challenges that are becoming more and more transparent throughout the nonprofit sector. In a “pulse” survey recently conducted by BoardSource and the Nonprofit Quarterly, results showcase those top concerns for this year — revealing some unpredicted issues. Leading concerns ranged from general economic uncertainty and increased volatility to board governance and the ever so prevalent increasingly competitive nonprofit environment.
Not surprisingly, the effectiveness of collaborative networking also landed near the top of the list prompting individual responses from survey participants – primarily questioning how to do so effectively whilst competing for funding. After all, acquiring new donors and maintaining a positive relationship with existing donors is essential to a nonprofit’s sustainability.
Other common concerns included rapid technological changes and demographic shifts, as well as cyber security, which oddly ranked last on nonprofit leader’s list of concerns—fairly surprising considering technology can provide nonprofits with more cost effective ways to tell their story and communicate with their potential donors.
There definitely seemed to be a general consensus that the nonprofit environment is rapidly changing. Consequently, concerns about how to change the way nonprofit boards think about governance and fundraising are mounting. Many respondents agree that their nonprofit board must learn to stay ahead of trends rather than merely trying to keep up with them.
By definition a “pulse” survey is designed to give a rapid measure of information and clues about what is going on in a certain environment. The name “pulse survey” is based on an analogy between this type of survey and medical devices that electronically monitor the pulse of a person. As such, this survey reveals some of the challenges that nonprofit leaders face.