Nonprofit Insider

NH Futurecast: 2018 for the Nonprofit Sector

NH Center for Nonprofits CEO Kathleen Reardon shared her predictions for the nonprofit sector in the January 2018 issue of Business NH Magazine. Hear from Kathleen and other industry leaders at the NH Futurecast: 2018 event on January 25.


New Hampshire is fortunate to have a healthy and engaged nonprofit sector that is united around advancing the common good. As we look towards the future, the sector’s ability to innovate, adapt, and collaborate will continue to be integral to the state’s social fabric and economic vitality.

Revenues and Resilience

Financing the work of a nonprofit requires significant strategy to bring a diverse array of revenue streams together to sustain its mission. Nonprofits of all sizes are focused on sharpening their business models, engaging in collaborative partnerships and deepening their relationships with donors.    

We continue to hear about positive trends in charitable giving, which hit a record high of $390 billion nationally in 2016. Yet studies also show that the number of people giving is decreasing. In a recent Chronicle of Philanthropy study, itemized donors from Manchester, NH contributed $150 million overall to charities – but at a rate that’s 97 percent below other cities of the same size. If those donors gave at the rate of national averages, the total would rise to $296 million. Imagine the impact this could have in our communities if we were able to engage this level of philanthropy. 

As we go to press, the U.S. Congress is debating tax reform legislation, which could have a dramatic impact on the work of all nonprofit organizations. Key issues include limiting charitable giving incentives, politicizing the work of nonprofits, as well as severe cuts to domestic spending as a result of the reduced revenue.  Regardless of the final shape of the legislation, we anticipate nonprofits will need to be nimble and adaptive in bringing revenue streams together to finance their work. 

Workforce development

Today’s low unemployment and tight labor market are well known concerns across industries. Leaders of nonprofit businesses face additional challenges, as they operate under tight budget constraints, often with restrictions from funders. At the same time, nonprofits are hiring at a pace that exceeds that of for-profit businesses.  

In order to fulfill our missions, nonprofit leaders are recognizing that we need to prioritize investing in the people who fuel our impact. This will require courageous board leadership and candid conversations with funders that support the work of the sector.  We need to replace outdated thinking with a deeper understanding that investing in a nonprofit’s workforce is an investment in their outcomes.  It will require new strategies to attract, develop and retain the talent we need to do our work.

Opportunity for deeper collaboration

Long before Amazon sought proposals for its second headquarters site, government and business leaders have touted the state’s high quality of life to entice potential companies and workers to locate here. Fostering our high quality of life is core to the work of the nonprofit sector. Nonprofits are stewards of our natural and cultural resources, they support the physical and mental health of our citizens, and strengthen civic engagement. 

As policymakers grapple with New Hampshire’s demographic trends, there is increased focus on fostering net-migration to the state to bolster economic development. Encouraging younger people to stay in or move to New Hampshire will require a concerted and collaborative effort, in which the nonprofit sector will continue to play a vital role. Nonprofit leaders are poised to be a strong voice at the table, working in partnership with government and business leaders to advance the vitality and prosperity of our state. 

Summary

We’ve seen the work required from nonprofits intensify over the years – and the sector has responded with creative energy, vision and leadership. Sustaining New Hampshire’s way of life in the future will require a continued, shared commitment by nonprofits, government, and business, working together, always mindful of our reliance on each other.

Posted on: January 9, 2018
Topics: Something New

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