Embracing The Change
There is a lot of change coming to the nonprofit world. Boards, leaders, staff, and volunteers need to face and process emerging nonprofit trends, all while still serving their clients. The good news: all of these changes have the capacity to push your team to excel in new areas – and ultimately improve the effectiveness of your organization. They key is to stay ahead of the curve, and get your agency ready for whatever operational adjustments are ahead. I’d like to share with you four significant evolving nonprofit trends that could impact the way you run your agency.
1. Strong Impact Metrics
Many foundations and funders no longer simply pull out their checkbooks and write out checks to nonprofits. They now require a great deal more detail to determine which nonprofits are measurably doing the most good. Agency leaders need to develop meaningful metrics so they can share the kind of information major funders want to hear. They must demonstrate how their work changes and improves lives. This is new for nonprofits.
Now, nonprofits will have to demonstrate their value when making funding requests. This will require all nonprofits to review their own results to determine how they can improve.
2. Budget Pressures and Cuts
State and local governments are under tremendous financial pressure to cut costs, balance budgets, pay off a backlog of bills, and make retirement contributions. Mathematics is catching up to government bodies that have been overspending or using “creative accounting.” There is a real possibility cuts will force them to reduce payments to their nonprofit partners, while at the same time, relying on them to pick up the slack serving others.
Smart agencies should be actively looking for ways to broaden their revenue streams and reduce their reliance on governmental support.
3. Millennials In Leadership Positions
After so many years of hearing about the coming millennial surge, it is finally upon us. It will certainly continue to grow in numbers and intensity. The leaders are high energy, passionate, and have their own ideas of how to do things. This will probably result in new ideas, new ways, new styles of doing things at the agency. Consequently, others will have to get used to the coming wave of well-tended changes to what had been “normal”.
Be open and patient as this new group of leaders take on their leadership roles and learn how to face the uncertain future nonprofit agencies have.
4. Big Data
Big data is a new term that refers to all the data your system contains and learning how to mine it for actionable information. Understanding big data holds great possibilities for savvy nonprofits. One problem, however, will be in learning to organize all the data and turn it into useful and actionable information. Additionally, agencies will need to know how to use the data without making people feel as if they are “just a number.”
There is a goldmine of information nonprofits can learn by studying their data, but knowing how best to use it may be the biggest problem of all.
Changing nonprofit trends are to be expected over the long-term. This year, get ahead of the rest by preparing your team for what’s coming. Boards and leadership teams would do well to begin having conversations about these four emerging trends to determine whether they are opportunities or threats to their operations and mission.