Measuring up to the data

I was pretty excited when I saw the title of the recently released joint BDO and The NonProfit Times report, “Nonprofit Standards, A Benchmarking Survey.”   While I was a little surprised that these two organizations would have been the ones to define a set of nonprofit standards, I quickly understood why, and the disappointment just rained down.  Turns out this is a study of the exceptions, not the rule.  So, why am I even wasting my words on this?  Because it says so much about Read more

Nonprofits by the Numbers

I must be desperate for a laugh if I chuckled at this:  last month, the Urban Institute, owner of the National Center on Charitable Statistics, came out with its annual report entitled, “The Nonprofit Sector in Brief 2014:  Public Charities, Giving and Volunteering.”  (This report on the sector is based on data from 2012.)  But it really isn’t about the nonprofit sector, as most of it focuses on public charities[1]—which, according to its own data, are two-thirds of all nonprofits.  So, the real title should Read more

It’s All Relative

The Urban Institute recently came out with the results of its assessment of donor retention using 2011-2012 data.  The conclusion?  Nonprofits are losing donors at a rate that does not allow them to keep pace:  for every 100 new and recovered donors gained, 105 were lost between 2011 and 2012; the year before the gain was 100 to a loss of 107.  This, according to the study, is a marked contrast with the years prior to the recession when there was a net positive year- Read more

Value, don’t Punish

I keep hearing that economic recovery depends upon the return of small businesses to a position of strength.  While nonprofits are, by no means, the largest part of the economy, we are an important factor that everyone seems to want to ignore.  And that just isn’t right.

According to a  Small Business Administration report released in February, there were 27.3 million small businesses (defined as business with fewer than 500 employees).  The nonprofit sector stands a tad below that at approximately 1.5 million.

A 2009 Congressional Research Read more

Zero Sum Game

Two new data points give with one piece of news and take away with the other.

According to Giving USA 2008, the news appears all glowing. In 2007, over $306 billion was given to charities by foundations, corporations and individuals, an increase of 3.9%. And, good news or better news, depending upon how your organization’s planned giving skills are, bequest giving rose 6.9%, after what is referred to as a “steep decline” in 2006. The conclusion Read more