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Four Emerging Trends for Non Profits

There’s much occurring in the non-profit landscape.  The astute observer should be always willing to look behind the covers of what is happening.  Here are a few thoughts to help bring sense to what is happening:

1.      25% of non-profits will lose their tax-exempt status.  Guidestar made this prediction as the result of non profits failing to file their annual 990.  While many will seek reinstatement of their status, the implications behind this trend is a continued winnowing of the non profit field.  The key trend is the push towards greater accountability and sophistication in how non profits are being run.  No longer does or should non profit mean non performance.  The message is being issued loud and clear.  Some non profits will have to question if they are ready.

2.     Because of the downturn, 8% of non profits will close their doors.  The economic downturn has produced severe strain on many non profits.  As many as 30-40% have reported decreased giving.  Some have survived through budget cuts.  Others are having to make the difficult decision of simply shutting their doors.  The message?  Unlike the 90s and the early part of the decade of 2000, non profits cannot open their doors and expect people will give.  They must be intentional about developing clear and compelling messages and likewise be intentional about their fundraising.

3.     The 40 million Boomers moving towards retirement means that more non profits will open their doors.  As the Boomers retire, some will be well positioned to leave their jobs and turn to their altruistic nature.  Some will start non profits.  So even while many non profits will be closing their doors, there will more that will open.  Competition for donor dollars will remain.  It’s also important to note that some of these Boomers were funding ministries while they were working.  But as they leave the work force and start their own non profits, they’ll become increasingly concerned about funding their own non profits.

4.     Good news:  the non profit sector will continue to experience a demand for services.  In light of these troubled times, unemployment, financial stress, there will be an increased demand for non profit services.  Mental health agencies are experiencing tremendous demands.  Job location, networking, business oriented ministries are very much in vogue, but for different reasons.  People need and want jobs.  Homeless and rescue missions are straining at the seams.  How is this good news in view of declining contributions?  The demand for services allows the non profit to craft a compelling case statement for donor support.

It was Rockefeller who said that he made money when there was “blood in the streets.”  Whilethat adage may not sound particularly appropriate for the non profit sector, perhaps the mentality should be.  Non profits who rise to the occasion in the midst of adversity will continue to excel and continue to carry out their mission.

About Bill High

Bill is CEO of the Signatry: A Global Christian Foundation. He works with families, individual givers, and financial advisers to share the foundation’s message regarding biblical generosity and charitable giving. » Learn More. He is the co-author with David Green of Giving It All Away and Getting It All Back Again: The Way of Living Generously.

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