The new normal for nonprofits

by mo on December 9, 2011

Certainly not a surprise, yet a quarter of Wisconsin nonprofits responding to a survey about their financial health reported that they do not have sufficient cash reserves. Gayle Worland reported on the study in the Wisconsin State Journal.

Nonprofits appear to be treading water like many Americans. In may own experience with several nonprofit, the  past few years have been a constant to struggle to do more with less or trim activities that could be viewed as non mission critical in an attempt to hand on.  What is distressing is if more and more organizations have had to dip into savings to fill an income gap.

2012 could be the year of consolidation as similarly positioned organizations merge in order to retain some level of identity and purpose. Just as with the housing market and foreclosures there will be winners and losers. Financially stronger nonprofits may find a silver lining of sorts. If there are fewer organizations  seeking donations from a limited donor pool (as in locally based and funded nonprofits) those organizations ready to embark on a capital campaign or major service change, could find a donor community interested to learn more.  Donors with a strong commitment to a cause are most always interested to learn how other organizations are addressing the same issues. In today’s (and tomorrow’s) new normal, it will be the organizations that are creative, entrepreneurial, nimble and not afraid of change who will make it to 2013.

I am  interested in collecting real world case studies of nonprofit organizations who see the need for wholesale change and are pressing forward.

Read Worland’s article.  The third annual statewide survey of nonprofits, conducted by Forward Community Investments (FCI) is available on their website.

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