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2009 Trends of the Week

December 20, 2009 - January 2, 2010

Five Trends That Will Reshape the Social Sector

The James Irvine Foundation commissioned La Piana Consulting to develop a monograph entitled Convergence: How Five Trends Will Reshape the Social Sector. The publication seeks to illuminate several key trends — and their interrelationship — which will be especially relevant to nonprofits as they look to the future. The Foundation’s intention in funding the development and publication of this thought piece is to spark discussion across the nonprofit sector and to have these ideas inform ongoing planning and strategy development, given a new economic reality. In identifying the key trends discussed in this document, La Piana Consulting drew upon months of conversations with clients and partners in the field, extensive literature reviews and in-depth interviews with thought leaders. In addition to describing key trends, the monograph identifies core competencies for those nonprofits that will be best equipped for the future. The five trends are:


Demographic shifts redefine participation


Technological advances abound


Networks enable work to be organized in new ways


Interest in civic engagement and volunteerism is rising


Sector boundaries are blurring

To download a copy of the publication, go to: www.lapiana.org

December 13 - 19,  2009

Trends In Public Participation In The Arts

American audiences for the arts are getting older, and their numbers are declining, according to new research released by the National Endowment for the Arts. Arts Participation 2008: Highlights from a National Survey features top findings from the 2008 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts, the nation's largest and most representative periodic study of adult participation in arts events and activities, conducted by the NEA in partnership with the U.S. Census Bureau. Five times since 1982, the survey has asked U.S. adults 18 and older about their patterns of arts participation over a 12-month period. The 2008 survey reveals dwindling audiences for many art forms, but it also captures new data on Internet use and other forms of arts participation. Although the 2008 recession likely affected survey responses, long-term trend analysis shows that other factors also may have contributed to lower arts participation rates. Key findings include:


There are persistent patterns of decline in participation for most art forms. Nearly 35 percent of U.S. adults – or an estimated 78 million – attended an art museum or an arts performance in the 2008 survey period, compared with about 40 percent in 1982, 1992, and 2002.


Aging audiences are a long-term trend. Performing arts attendees are increasingly older than the average U.S. adult (45). The aging of the baby boom generation does not appear to account for the overall increase in age.


Educated Americans are participating less than before, and educated audiences are the most likely to attend or participate in the arts.


The Internet and mass media are reaching substantial audiences for the arts.

To download a copy of the study, go to: www.arts.endow.gov

December 6 - 12,  2009

Increased Reliance on Volunteers

According to the report The Status of Minnesota's Volunteer Programs in a Shifting Environment, 60% of organizations reported an increased reliance on volunteers. This survey of 280 nonprofit and governmental organizations was conducted in late September by the Minnesota Association for Volunteer Administration (MAVA). Other survey findings include:


86% reported changes at least one aspect of their volunteer program.


44% experienced increased numbers of inquires from potential new volunteers. A drop in inquiries was reported by 14%.


52% reported volunteers were more likely to have strong work skills and 54% said they were more likely to be unemployed.


67% expect to increase reliance on volunteers in the coming year.


86% of respondents reported organizational fiscal stress.


Over 50% reported an increase in volunteer hours of service, but only 12% had an increased budget for the volunteer program, pointing to resourcefulness in doing more with less. Leaders of volunteers were clearly being proactive, but many also reported feelings of stress.


60% were able to place most of the potential volunteers, 3% needed to put most of the new volunteers on a waiting list or turned them away, and 39% reported a combination of placing new volunteers and putting them on a waiting list.


48% reported increased collaboration with outside partners.

The report also includes a listing of strategies used by nonprofits to respond to these changes. To download a copy of the report, go to: www.mavanetwork.org

November 22 - December 5,  2009

Grantmaking in 2009 & 2010

Here are key findings regarding grant making trends from a recent survey conducted by the Regional Association of Washington Grantmakers:


The recession has served as a crucible for many grantmakers, providing an impetus to reduce expenses, reevaluate priorities, and promote and engage in collaboration.


A lower percentage of grantmakers reported a decrease in assets in 2009 (65%) than in 2008 (86%). Some saw a decline in 2009 as a result of increasing their payout rates.


Grantmakers expect to give fewer grants in 2010 than in 2009.


More respondents expect their grants budgets to decrease than increase in 2010. Nearly half expect a decline; roughly one in six expect a decline of 5% or less. Nearly one-third expect grants budgets to increase. Approximately one-quarter are not sure.

Go to: www.washingtongrantmakers.org

November 15 - 21,  2009

Foundation Giving Trends 2009

To gauge how foundation thinking has evolved since the Foundation Center’s January 2009 giving forecast survey, the Center resurveyed leading funders in September 2009. Based on their responses, foundation giving will likely be down by more than 10 percent from 2008. Many funders expect that they will come out of the downturn being far more strategic than they were before the crisis, and a majority expect that the nonprofit sector will emerge stronger but that there will be fewer organizations. Key findings include:


New survey of leading grantmakers suggests steeper than anticipated reduction in 2009 foundation giving.


Indicators point to a continued reduction in foundation giving in 2010.


More than two-thirds of respondents have reduced their operating expenses to shore up giving and for other purposes.


Grantmakers expect that the field of philanthropy will become more strategic as a result of the economic crisis.


Most funders expect the nonprofit community to emerge stronger from the economic crisis, although some express doubts.

To download a copy of the report, go to: foundationcenter.org

November 8 - 14,  2009

Escalating Pension Costs Hurting Nonprofits

Most nonprofit organizations offering retirement benefits to their workers report that these plans are under stress, according to survey results released today by the Johns Hopkins Listening Post Project. 

Nonprofits offering “defined benefit plans” (plans with a guaranteed benefit) have been particularly hard hit, with 76 percent reporting that their plans are currently under stress and 43 percent reporting severe or very severe stress. Even those offering “defined contribution plans” (plans with investments controlled by the employee and no guaranteed benefit) have been affected, however, with 58 percent reporting that their plans are under stress. As a result, organizations have been forced to reduce retirement benefits, scale back employer matches, end future benefit accruals, and deny pension coverage to new employees, or as a last resort, divert resources from program operations. Many smaller organizations have been prevented from offering pension benefits at all. Other findings from the Johns Hopkins survey include:


More than two-thirds (67 percent) of all survey respondents reported offering some type of retirement benefit plan to their employees.


More than half (58 percent) of responding organizations offer a defined contribution plan for workers and about 15 percent offer a defined benefit plan. Coverage of nonprofit workers is extensive: 69 percent of organizations offering defined benefit plans and 54 percent of those offering defined contribution plans indicated that at least half of their employees (including both fulltime and part-time workers) participate in the plans.

The full report "Escalating Pension Benefit Costs—Another Threat to Nonprofit Survival?" is available online at www.ccss.jhu.edu

November 1 - 7,  2009

Trends in Foundation Giving

Rob Blizard, Director of Gift Planning at George Washington’s Mount Vernon has compiled a list of 14 trends in foundation giving recently appearing in the Mal Warwick Newsletter. Some of the trends include the following: a continuing reliance on personal relationships, little support for operating funds, a continuing focus on outcomes and results, process changes due to technology, reduced giving from corporate sources, and more. To access the first seven trends, go to www.malwarwick.com. To access the remaining trends, go to www.malwarwick.com

October 25 - 31,  2009

Business Valuing Employee Volunteer Programs

According to a new research study “Motivating Volunteering in Tough Times” from LBG Associates and LBG Research Institute, during these challenging economic times, companies are looking to employee volunteering to help enhance their images as good corporate citizens—-and in many cases, replace declining contributions. This growing importance of employee volunteering, combined with the accepted business case in support of it, makes getting these programs “right” a business imperative. But when it comes to motivating volunteering, what resonated with employees in 2007, or even last year, will not necessarily work today. The downturn has wrought serious changes in business, and it has taken a toll on employee trust and morale. Anxious, cynical, or depressed employees need much more support, reassurance, and information than they did in the past in order to feel comfortable participating in company sponsored volunteering efforts. And companies need more feedback from employees about what matters most to them when they volunteer. LBG's new research report is unique in that it includes both the voice of the employee volunteer manager AND the employee. By comparing research from both groups, this study provides a much-needed and robust view of today's volunteering landscape. There is only one solution to this dilemma: better and more frequent communication. To download an executive summary of the study, go to: www.lbgresearch.org

October 18 - 24,  2009

Charitable Donors Give More When Asked Personally

Donors to charitable organizations give more when they are asked in person and when someone they know makes the request, a new study commissioned by Chicago-based consulting firm Campbell & Company and conducted by the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University finds. The study, Significant Gifts: Where Donors Direct Their Largest Gifts and Why, which is based on a national sample of more than 8,300 donors, confirms what nonprofit organization fundraisers have often observed: people give to people, and especially to people they know. Among other findings from the study:


The average largest gift amount for donor households was $1,098. Among all donors, 43 percent directed their largest contributions to religious organizations, and 57 percent to secular charities.


Although a lower number of gifts went to religious organizations, a greater share of the total dollars from donors’ largest gifts (79 percent) went to religious organizations, which includes donations to congregations for relief work and other community programs.


For higher-income households (income of $150,000 or more), the average largest gift of $2,486 was more than twice the overall average. Among these higher-income donors, a greater share of the number of the largest gifts and of the dollar amount of these gifts went to educational, health, and arts and cultural organizations than was the case in the general population.


Members of the general population were more likely to select providing for the basic needs of the very poor as their main motivation for giving than any other reason. Among higher-income households (those with incomes of $150,000 or more), the most common motivation was the belief that those with more should help those with less.

To download a free copy of the study, go to: www.campbellcompany.com. You will need to make a request for the download.

October 11 - 17,  2009

Nonprofit Employment Trends

The 2009 Nonprofit Employment Trends Survey is a national survey of nonprofit employment practices. This survey has been produced annually by Nonprofit HR Solutions since 2007. In January 2009, Nonprofit HR Solutions invited over 3,000 nonprofit organizations from across the country to participate in a survey of employment trends within the sector. The survey focuses on four key areas: staff size and projected growth, recruitment strategies and budgeting, staffing challenges, and staffing resource management. In many cases, responses to the 2009 Nonprofit Employment Trends Survey mirrored the current state of the economy and the state employment climate across all industries. Nonprofit organizations, like nearly every other employer type, anticipate less hiring and more downsizing in 2009. Appropriate resource allocation for staffing and human resources lags when compared against its proportion in most organizational budgets. With the exception of questions regarding adding and eliminating positions, most responses remained relatively consistent from 2008 to 2009. Among the key findings, some 58.4% of respondents indicated that they anticipate no change in staff size in 2009 compared to 2008. Comparatively, 49.7% of respondents to the 2008 survey had anticipated no change in staff size compared with 2007. Compared to 2008, in 2009, there was an 8.7% drop in the anticipation of hiring new staff. To download the executive summary of the report, go to: www.nonprofithr.com

October 4 - 10,  2009

The Role of Women's Funds

Accelerating Change for Women and Girls: The Role of Women's Funds, a report by the Foundation Center and the Women's Funding Network, examines giving patterns and trends among larger private and community foundations and the distinctive contributions of women's funds to philanthropy. The report finds that foundation giving targeted to benefit women and girls climbed 223 percent between 1990 and 2006 (after adjusting for inflation), compared to an overall giving increase of 177 percent.

Other key findings of the study include:


The nation's private and community foundations increased their giving for activities targeting women and girls from an estimated $412.1 million in 1990 to nearly $2.1 billion in 2006.


The over 145 member funds of the Women's Funding Network provide an estimated $60 million a year in grants and leverage millions more through their wider relationships and connections.


Women's funds take a comprehensive approach to social change, focusing their giving on human rights, health, and economic empowerment.


In contrast, foundation giving for women and girls is primarily focused on health. Close to half of grant dollars targeted to women and girls support health-related activities.


Women's funds are guided by the principle that women catalyze and lead the way to change in neighborhoods and communities; 98 percent of the women's funds surveyed indicated that achieving social change was a high priority for their fund.

To download a summary of report highlights, go to: foundationcenter.org

September 27 - October 3,  2009

Corporate Support in the Recession

According to a new report by The Hitachi Foundation and the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship, the recession has not spelled the end for corporate citizenship, but it has forced corporations to rethink—both good and bad—their approach. The report findings reveal that large companies are responding to the recession much differently than small companies. For example, large companies significantly increased their investments and involvement in citizenship activities—but they were also more likely to lay people off. Small firms kept true to their emphasis on treating employees well by minimizing layoffs. But they significantly decreased attention to other aspects of citizenship, such as volunteering or philanthropy. And one of the most interesting findings relates directly to this country's ability to help low-income individuals participate in the coming economic recovery. Half of the businesses are supporting skill development for employees making less than $40,000 annually. These businesses report that they directly connect these efforts to boosting productivity. Other key findings include:


Some 54 percent of U.S. senior executives believe corporate citizenship is even more important in a recession.


Companies in 2009 increased internal and external communication about corporate citizenship, with 54 percent now communicating with employees about it and 39 percent talking with stakeholders.


The top three areas of corporate citizenship rated most important continue to be: operating with ethical business practices; (91 percent), treating employees well (81percent) and managing and reporting company finances accurately (76 percent).


Despite the tough economy, only 38 percent of companies said they reduced their philanthropy and giving. Support for employee volunteering also remained strong with 83 percent of large companies stating their companies support employee volunteering in the community.

To access the full report, go to: www.hitachifoundation.org

September 20 - 26,  2009

Milwaukee Area Nonprofits Under Stress

Local nonprofit organizations are cutting budgets and staff in an effort to keep up with increased demand for services and falling donations, according to a new and expanded survey of local agencies commissioned by the Greater Milwaukee Foundation and conducted by the Public Policy Forum.

Sixty-eight percent of the nonprofits surveyed for the 13th Annual Report Card on Charitable Giving say the economic downturn has caused a drop in giving. Sixty-three percent of the agencies feel the state of philanthropy is getting worse. Of the organizations providing direct services to clients, 62 percent say demand for assistance is increasing. Other key findings of the Report Card include:


More than 80 percent of organizations have cut costs due to budget constraints, and one in four has laid off staff.


Only one in four organizations describe themselves as financially healthy and not currently vulnerable.


Over half of organizations have six months or less operating reserve. Thirty-one percent say they are running an operating deficit in the current fiscal year.


Half the nonprofits responding to the survey have considered collaborating with another nonprofit within the past year. Nearly one in three has explored merging with another nonprofit. Five organizations have considered closing.

To download a copy of the report, go to: www.greatermilwaukeefoundation.org

September 13 - 19,  2009

Corporate Philanthropy Shifts From Cash Giving To Volunteerism

According to a new report "Making the Most of What We Have: Corporate Giving in the New Economy", published by LBG Research Institute of Stamford Connecticut, corporations and their foundations are showing their support for their communities by marshalling other, non-cash resources. Key findings include:


More than 84% of corporations surveyed say they are encouraging more employee volunteerism to offset a decline in cash giving.


More than 48% have increased the number of volunteer events this year.


Almost 45% report increased participation rates in their employee volunteer programs.


Besides giving their employees’ time, some companies are stepping up product and in-kind donations.


15% report they are increasing their in-kind donations (such as meeting space, office equipment, etc.).


12% are increasing their product donations (products they manufacture, such as pharmaceuticals, apparel, etc.).


Almost half the corporations in the survey report that they are emphasizing partnerships with nonprofits over straight cash donations.


Half are also paying more attention to measurability and nonprofit accountability.


One-third of the survey respondents say they are actively seeking new nonprofit partners to better match strategic goals.

For more information about the report, go to: www.lbgresearch.org

September 6 - 12,  2009

Impact of Health Care Crisis on Nonprofits

"Health Care and Nonprofits: The Hidden Dimension of America's Health Care Crisis", a new study by the Johns Hopkins Nonprofit Listening Post Project, reveals that health care costs are producing a so-far hidden crisis for America's nonprofit organizations and the nearly 13 million workers they employ. Virtually all (98 percent) of the responding nonprofits offering health benefits indicated that they are concerned about their organization's health care costs, and a striking 59 percent ranked health care costs as one of their organization's top challenges. Other findings from the Johns Hopkins health benefits survey include:


A striking 80 percent of the nonprofit respondents reported offering health insurance coverage for their employees. Nevertheless, the proportion not offering such coverage rose by 62 percent compared to the results from a comparable survey in 2004.


Virtually all (99 percent) of the large nonprofits responding reported offering health benefits to employees but less than half (46 percent) of the smallest organizations did, and cost was a major factor at work.


Nearly three out of every four nonprofits offering health benefits reported that their organization's total direct health insurance costs increased during the past year, and for over a third of the respondents the increase was over 10 percent—well above the national average of 5 percent per year.


These recent increases come on top of increases in previous years: based on an earlier Listening Post survey of a comparable set of organizations, average health benefit costs for these organizations grew by nearly 40 percent between 2004 and 2009.  In the process, health benefits as a share of total employee compensation grew by over 12 percent, suggesting that health benefit costs are squeezing out pay increases and other aspects of employee compensation.


The vast majority of nonprofit executives (80 percent of respondents) expect such increases to continue in the future, and about a third expect the increases to exceed 10 percent.

To download the report, go to: www.ccss.jhu.edu

August 30 - September 5,  2009

Shrinking Generational Digital Divide

Americans 50+ are increasingly becoming immersed in the Internet and in many ways can be compared to users who are decades younger, according to findings from the Center for the Digital Future released in conjunction with AARP.  The study takes a look at online behaviors of those age 50+ compared to the under 50 demographic. The following are selected key findings from the study comparing Internet users 50 + to those under 50 that will be of interest to nonprofits:  


Participation in online communities – A large percentage of Internet users 50 and older who are members of online communities report extensive involvement in their communities and benefits from their participation.  Fifty-eight percent of members 50 and older log in to their online community daily or several times a day, compared to 47 percent of members under 20.


Social activism – Thirty-six percent of members 50 and older said their social activism has increased since they began participating in online communities for social causes, compared to 29 percent of members under 20.


Importance of online information - A larger percent of users under 20 compared to those over 50 (85% vs.76%) said that the Internet is an important or very important source of information.  However, the percentage of those over 50 who state this has grown substantially in five years (2002 to 2007), up slightly more than half (51%).


Importance of online communities – Both 50+ and under 20 online community members say their online community is very important or extremely important to them: (70 percent of members 50 and older, and 58 percent of members under 20).

Go to: www.digitalcenter.org

August 23 - 29,  2009

Nonprofit Job Cuts

Organizations across the nonprofit sector are using combinations of staff management strategies, including salary freezes and layoffs, to deal with the recession, according to a survey Campbell & Company conducted in July 2009. Nearly half of nonprofit organizations (47.5 percent) have laid off staff members to cut costs as donations dwindle. Fifty percent of groups in the survey have frozen salaries, 15.8 percent have put a freeze on hiring, and 10.5 percent have mandated unpaid time off or reduced salaries and other benefits. The survey found that fund raisers were slightly less likely than their peers to be affected by the cuts. Roughly 43.5 percent of charities had laid off fund raisers, and 13 percent had hired more fund raisers in recent months to help win more donations.  In addition to salary freezes and layoffs, organizations noted that they are:

bullet Imposing furloughs or reducing salaries, hours, raises or benefits, such as decreasing employer contributions to deferred compensation plans (10.5 percent each).
bullet Decreasing or eliminating bonuses (7.9 percent)
bullet More than half of respondents (51.2 percent) reported that their operational budgets are lower this fiscal year.

For more information, go to: www.campbellcompany.com

August 16 - 22,  2009

Volunteering in America Remains Strong

A new report released by the Corporation for National and Community Service finds that even during a time of prolonged economic recession, volunteering has remained steady, fueled by a compassion boom led by young adults and a wave of do-it-yourself volunteers working with their neighbors to fix problems. Volunteering in America 2009, the most comprehensive data ever assembled on volunteer trends and demographics, found that a total of 61.8 million Americans volunteered through an organization in 2008, up one million from the previous year.  America's volunteers dedicated more than 8 billion hours of service in 2008, worth an estimated $162 billion.  While the formal volunteering rate in America remained relatively stable at 26.4 percent, other less-formal ways of serving in communities have dramatically increased.  The number of people who worked with their neighbors to fix a community problem rose by 31 percent, from 15.2 million in 2007 to 19.9 million in 2008, suggesting an emerging trend of self-organized 'do-it-yourself' service, a trend the Obama Administration is working to encourage through its United We Serve initiative and Serve.gov website. For a summary of key findings, go to: www.volunteeringinamerica.gov

August 9 - 15,  2009

Nonprofit Professionals Expect the Recession to Have Long-Term or Permanent Negative Effect

America's nonprofits, including the "lifeline" organizations that many depend on for food, shelter, and other basic services, are strained to the breaking point, according to a survey released by Nonprofit Finance Fund (NFF). The survey of over 1,100 nonprofit leaders in markets nationwide captures the financial state and particular challenges facing these organizations. Key findings include:


Only 12% of all respondents expect to operate above break-even this year


Just 16% anticipate being able to cover their operating expenses in both 2009 and 2010


31% don’t have enough operating cash in hand to cover more that one month of expenses, and another 31% have less than three months’ worth

In 2009:


43% anticipate a decrease in funding from government


62% anticipate a decrease in funding from foundations


49% anticipate a decrease in funding from individuals


33% anticipate a decrease in earned revenue


52% of respondents expect the recession to have a long-term (2+ years) or permanent negative financial effect on their organizations


93% of lifeline organizations that provide essential services anticipate an increase in demand in 2009

For additional survey information, go to: www.nonprofitfinancefund.org

July 26 - August 8,  2009

Private and Community Foundation Trends

The Foundation Center has just released the Foundation Yearbook, 2009 Edition which provides an overview of the state of foundation giving in the current year and beyond, comparisons of foundation activities by foundation size, and breakdowns of foundation resources by geographic location and grantmaker type. The 2009 edition's key findings include:


Overall foundation giving rose by an estimated 2.8 percent in 2008 to $45.6 billion


Foundation assets dropped an estimated 21.9 percent in 2008, setting a record


Estimated 2009 foundation giving will decrease by 8 to 13 percent

To download the report highlights, go to: foundationcenter.org

July 19 - 25,  2009

Resurgence in Social Justice Philanthropy

After a number of years of declining faith in the efficacy of social justice philanthropy, grantmakers and practitioners alike are showing renewed optimism, according to Social Justice Grantmaking II, a benchmarking study by the Foundation Center that provides an in-depth look at current attitudes and giving patterns of social justice philanthropists. Grantmakers and practitioners interviewed cite a changed political environment, the success of community organizing in the recent election, and new ideas and energy in the field among a number of factors reinvigorating a commitment to social justice philanthropy. To download report highlight or to order the full report, go to:  foundationcenter.org

July 12 - 18,  2009

Wisconsin Nonprofits Coping with Economic Crisis

In May 2009, Forward Community Investments released the report “Wisconsin Nonprofits: Coping with Economic Crisis”. The report contains the results of a survey of 245 nonprofits from all over the state of Wisconsin, diverse in geographic location, staffing size, budget, and mission. The commonality is that all these nonprofits are providing important services and strengthening the livelihood in our statewide communities. Key findings of the survey results are:


Organizations are tapping cash reserves to meet budget shortfalls


Uncertainty about future financial health is creating anxiety


Demand for services is increasing while donations are decreasing


Commitment to fulfilling missions remains strong

To download a copy of the report, go to: www.forwardci.org

July 5 - 11,  2009

Impact of the 2007-09 Economic Recession

Eighty percent of nonprofit organizations are experiencing fiscal stress according to a survey released today by Johns Hopkins University, and close to 40 percent of them reported that this stress was “severe” or “very severe.”  Theaters and orchestras were particularly hard hit, with nearly 75 percent of the former and half of the latter reporting “severe” or “very severe” stress. The 363 organizations that participated in the survey as part of the Johns Hopkins Nonprofit Listening Post differ widely in size, cover all regions, and represent a diverse array of fields, including children and family services, elderly services and housing, community development, education, arts and culture, and others.  Despite the dire challenges, more than two-thirds of the organizations indicated that they have been “successful” or “very successful” in coping with the current fiscal crisis. To achieve this result, nonprofits have displayed unusual resolve and launched inventive coping strategies:


Well over half of all organizations have launched new or expanded fund-raising efforts, targeting individuals, state and local government, the federal government and foundations.


Substantial proportions of organizations are tightening their belts further, cutting administrative costs, creating collaborative relationships with other nonprofits, instituting salary freezes, postponing new hires, and relying more heavily on volunteers.


Substantial numbers are also stepping up their marketing and their advocacy.

To download the full report as a .pdf file, go to: hwww.ccss.jhu.edu

June 28 - July 4,  2009

Nonprofits Employ Tougher Measures as Downturn Deepens

The negative effects of the economy on nonprofit organizations has accelerated over the last six months, according to responses from nearly 100 nonprofit leaders participating in a Bridgespan study initiated in November 2008 and updated in May 2009. The percentage of nonprofits that have resorted to layoffs, broad-based programmatic reductions, and reserve draw-downs has increased measurably. Nevertheless nonprofit leaders appear to be optimistic about the future. Almost half of the respondents reported that they believed their organization would be on stronger financial footing in a year's time. The chart below summarizes key findings:

Key Tactics Employed by Nonprofits to Manage in Tough Times

Nov 2008

May 2009

Work closely with existing funders to address challenges



Redesign programs to achieve outcomes in a less costly manner



Examine and improve key processes and structures (e.g. improve decision-making, cross functional teams) to increase organizational efficiency



Have a clearly-defined contingency plan



Consciously identify key positions and shift resources to keep these positions filled



Renegotiate terms of funding to focus on core programs



Create new programs that are related to mission and can attract greater funding



Reduce the level of activity across all programs



Lay off staff



Dip into reserve funds



Cut staff salaries



Examine opportunities to merge with or acquire other nonprofit organizations



Source: Business Wire www.marketwatch.com

June 21 - 27,  2009

U.S. Charitable Giving Estimated to be $307.65 Billion in 2008

Charitable giving in the United States exceeded $300 billion for the second year in a row in 2008, according to Giving USA 2009. Donations to charitable causes in the United States reached an estimated $307.65 billion in 2008, a 2 percent drop in current dollars over 2007. The 2008 number is the first decline in giving in current dollars since 1987 and the second since Giving USA began publishing annual reports in 1956, says the annual. Key findings include


Compared with 2007, 54 percent of human services charities saw an increase in need for their services in 2008; 30 percent saw little change in need; and 16 percent saw a decline;


For 2009, 60 percent of the surveyed human services organizations were cutting expenses, including cutting services or staff, due to funding shortages;


The type of human service agency most likely to be under funded was youth development/serving children and youth. Of this type of group in the study, 74 percent said they are under funded or severely under funded, meaning that current available funding was insufficient to meet current demand; and


Among organizations working to meet people’s basic needs (food, shelter, clothing, etc.), more than half (53 percent) said they are under funded or severely under funded for 2009.

For more information and to order a copy of the report, go to: www.givingusa.org

June 14 - 20,  2009

Economic Downturn Impact on Major Gift Fundraising

“A Current Overview of Philanthropy and the Economy”, a report by CSS Fund-Raising in New York summarizes the impact of the current economic downturn on philanthropy with a focus on the impact on major gift fundraising. According to the authors, this economic crisis is more immediate and severe than other recessions and has had a dramatic impact on high wealth individuals. 60% of all US philanthropy comes from high net worth individuals who represent just 3% of the total population. The authors also note that new donor acquisition from the direct mail has declined precipitously for many nonprofit organizations. Income from some major special events is experiencing a 10 to 15% fall off from the previous year. The authors suggest 10 strategies for major gift fundraising including:


Reaffirm your organization's mission and continuously remind donors of the impact and the urgency of philanthropic support


Develop immediate short-term action plan specifically designed for your organization


Significantly increase activity including visits and briefings with donors and friends and provide consistent communication with all constituencies


Redouble efforts to help motivate development staff, administrative leadership, and trustees by reminding them of the resilience of philanthropy in tough times


Encourage trustees and volunteers to help open doors and introduce new potential supporters to the institution


Reorder prospect lists to reflect the current state of affairs. Undertake additional research to help identify new potential donors and sectors of support


Explore the possibility of donors making challenge or matching gifts to stimulate giving from others and multiply the impact of their gifts


Share the latest philanthropic information to both motivate leadership and temper expectations


Provide donors with greater flexibility in fulfilling their commitments including extended payment periods and plans and deferred giving opportunities


Whenever possible, explore practical ways to diversify your fundraising program

To download a copy of the report as a .pdf file, go to: www.givinginstitute.org

June 7 - 13,  2009

Family Foundation Decision-Making About Lifespan

While existing in perpetuity continues to be the norm for the majority of family foundations, a quarter say they are currently undecided about their lifespan options and a small segment (12 percent) plan to limit their lifespan, according to the first large-scale study of family foundation lifespan plans, jointly released today by the Foundation Center and the Council on Foundations. The report, "Perpetuity or Limited Lifespan: How Do Family Foundations Decide?," benchmarks the intentions, practices, and attitudes of nearly 1,100 active family foundations and sheds light on future behavior as this very large and predominantly young segment of philanthropy matures. Nine out of 10 of the roughly 40,000 family foundations currently tracked by the Foundation Center were created since 1980. Key findings include:


Foundations most likely to opt for a limited lifespan are small foundations established since 1980 that do not employ staff and whose founder is still living, though the percentage who expect to spend down is still modest.


Foundations with a living founder are three times more likely to expect to spend down than those whose founder is deceased, and they are almost twice as likely to be undecided.


When the decision to spend down is made at the foundation's inception, the leading factors are the desire of the founder(s) to have a greater impact during their lifetimes and to be involved in how the money is spent.


The two leading reasons for deciding to exist in perpetuity are a desire both to have a long-term impact on the community and for family engagement across generations.

To download a summary of study highlights as a .pdf file, go to: foundationcenter.org

May 31 - June 6,  2009

Nonprofit Leadership Gap Widens

According to the Bridgespan Group report, “Finding Leaders for America’s Nonprofits Despite tightening budgets, nonprofits foresee a need to fill 24,000 vacant or new roles in 2009.” Over 400 U.S. leaders of nonprofits with $1 million or more in revenues were interviewed for the report. Many of those surveyed cited a need to fill roles such as finance and fundraising amid increasing management complexity and baby boomer retirements, yet they foresee challenges in finding candidates who are both qualified for the roles and who are cultural fits with their organizations.  Other key findings include:


Respondents reported that actual senior job openings in 2008 were running at 77,000, or 43 percent above the leadership gap previously forecast in Bridgespan’s 2006 study,  “The Nonprofit Sector’s Leadership Deficit”


Twenty-one percent of those hired between June 2007 and December 2008 were “bridgers”—people transitioning into the nonprofit sector for the first time. Only 15 percent went in the reverse direction, indicating a net gain for non-profit organizations relative to their for-profit counterparts.


Twenty-five percent of nonprofit leadership vacancies in the past 18 months were filled through career progression, 41 percent through in-sector hiring. 

To download the full report, go to: www.bridgespan.org

May 24 - 30,  2009

Update Value of Volunteer Time

Independent Sector has just released an updated figure for the estimated dollar value of volunteer time: $20.25 per hour for 2008. The estimate helps acknowledge the millions of individuals who dedicate their time, talents, and energy to making a difference. Nonprofit organizations can use this estimate to quantify the enormous value volunteers provide. For more information, go to: www.independentsector.org

May 17 - 23,  2009

Nonprofits Embracing Social Networks

Social networking has become an integral part of nonprofits’ online strategy, according to a survey recently conducted by NTEN, Common Knowledge, and ThePort. In this online survey conducted in March, 2009, 929 respondents representing nonprofits of all sizes and from multiple vertical segments indicate that nearly three-quarters (74.2%) have a presence on Facebook, and 30.9% have one or more social networking communities on their own web site. To download a copy of the report, go to: nonprofitsocialnetworksurvey.com

May 10 - 16,  2009

Foundations Respond to Increased Needs as Assets Decline

A recent study by the Council on Foundations reveals that foundations continue to respond to the increased needs of families in spite of a decline in foundation assets. This report is another in a series of Council research reports on the relationship between philanthropy and the economy.This new report is based on data collected from 430 foundations in March 2009. It assesses how foundation endowments and grantmaking have been affected. It also considers how foundations have changed their grantmaking to focus on individuals and families hurt by the recession. Finally, it looked at the changes foundations have made in their own operations. Highlight of the study include:


Foundation endowments, which started the year at $682 billion, fell precipitously in 2008 leading to a majority of foundations (62 percent) reporting they will reduce their grantmaking in 2009. However, the vast majority (82 percent) of foundations providing assistance to those adversely affected by the economic downturn will continue to do so, either at the same or higher levels, or have added it as a new area.


Three out of four foundations saw their assets decline by 25 percent or more, with a higher proportion of independent and larger foundations experiencing such a drop.


About half (48 percent) of foundations said that they will reduce the value of their total grantmaking for 2009 by 10 percent or more


More than one in three foundations (38 percent) reported that they will maintain or increase the value of their grantmaking in 2009, with more than half of corporate grantmakers and 41 percent of family foundations maintaining or increasing the value of their grantmaking.


Ninety-two percent of foundations stated they are making grants in 2009 to aid low-income individuals and families and others adversely affected by the economic downturn.


Eighty-two percent of these foundations reported that their grantmaking in 2009 will be at least as much as it was in 2008; in fact, 31 percent said they are increasing their support for basic needs (food, emergency shelter, utility payments, and employment) and 6 percent said they have added it as a new grantmaking area.


Most foundations are taking actions to reduce or contain their own operating costs by implementing hiring or salary freezes, cutting travel budgets, or reducing or eliminating conference attendance.

To download a copy of the report as a .pdf file, go to: www.cof.org

May 3 - 9,  2009

Downward Trend in High School Volunteering

Fewer high school age (16-18) Americans stepped up to volunteer their time over the past two years, new research reveals. Traditionally, teenagers have volunteered at slightly higher rates than other age groups, but in 2007 people 25 or older were more likely to volunteer than were those 16 to 18. These are some of the findings from a study examining youth volunteering trends from 2002 to 2007 released by the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) at Tufts University’s Tisch College. The research presents volunteer rates by state and age groups calculated using the Current Population Survey (CPS), a joint product of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Census Bureau. Overall trends showed a 6 percentage point decline in volunteering among 16-to-18 year-olds since the rate peaked in 2005 at 33 percent. Meanwhile, volunteer rates for the population aged 19-to-25 (18 percent) and 25 years and older (28 percent) both changed very little (2 percentage points or less) since 2002. The study also examined the state policies impacting youth volunteering, which many researchers believe have an impact on the levels of volunteering for 16-to-18 year-olds.  For more information on the study, go to: www.civicyouth.org

April 26 - May 2,  2009

Nonprofits Overlook Pro Bono and Skilled Volunteer Support

According to the 2009 Deloitte Volunteer IMPACT Survey, both nonprofits and corporations are overlooking a high-impact opportunity to leverage pro bono and skilled volunteer support to offset a decline in corporate giving dollars. Despite the challenging economic backdrop, nearly 40 percent of nonprofit executives say they will spend between $50,000 and $250,000 or more of "hard-won" cash on outside contractors and consultants this year. Yet nearly one-quarter (24 percent) of nonprofit respondents have no plans to use skilled volunteers or pro bono support in any capacity in 2009. 

According to the study, overwhelmingly, corporate grant makers (77 percent) and nonprofits (75 percent) place a high value on employee skills. Further, 95 percent of nonprofits agree they are in greater need of pro bono or skilled volunteer support. However, these statements are inconsistent with corporations' efforts to contribute skilled volunteers and nonprofits' efforts to seek them. Approximately one-third (35 percent) of nonprofits do not have the appropriate infrastructure needed to successfully deploy volunteers. Further, nearly one quarter (24 percent) of nonprofits surveyed have no one in charge of volunteer management or have someone in charge with less than three years of experience (23 percent). Similarly, more than one-in-four (26 percent) corporations have no one to oversee an employee volunteer program. Moreover, 17 percent of corporations have no employee volunteer program at all. To download the report, go to: www.deloitte.com

April 19 - 25,  2009

Foundation Growth and Giving Trends

In the midst of a deepening economic crisis, the more than 75,000 U.S. grantmaking foundations increased their giving 2.8 percent in 2008 to an estimated $45.6 billion, according to Foundation Growth and Giving Estimates: Current Outlook (2009 Edition) published by The Foundation Center. While giving increased modestly, it did not grow as much as had been expected due to the extreme nature of the economic downturn. Over 67 percent of foundations surveyed said they expect to reduce their 2009 giving. Key estimates for 2008 giving include:


Independent and family foundations — which represent close to nine out of 10 foundations — increased their giving 2.5 percent to $33 billion.


Corporate foundation giving held steady at $4.4 billion.


Community foundation giving rose 6.7 percent to $4.6 billion, surpassing corporate foundations for the first time.

To download a copy of the report as a .pdf file, go to: foundationcenter.org

April 12 - 18,  2009

Major Trends in Education and Learning

According to the KnowledgeWorks Foundation, over the next decade, the most vibrant innovations in education will take place outside traditional institutions. The Foundation’s recently released comprehensive trend resource, “2020 Forecast: Creating the Future of Learning”, is a tool for thinking about, preparing for, and shaping the future of learning and education. It outlines key forces of change that will shape the landscape of learning over the next decade. This resource will be important for nonprofits engaged in work related to education and learning. The forecast contains four major types of information:


“Drivers of Change”: major forces of transformation that will shape our efforts to remake learning.


“Trends”: distinct directions of change that point to new concepts or new patterns of behavior that will shape the future of learning.


“Signals”: examples, or early indicators, of the changes described by the trends and the drivers of change. By providing analogies, data, and explicit stories, signals help make the future seem more concrete.


“Learning agents”: New roles and functions that might emerge in the future ecosystem of learning.

To access this amazing resource, go to: www.futureofed.org. You can download a pdf version and also order multiple hard copies at no charge.

April 5 - 11,  2009

Nonprofit Employment Expected to Fall in 2009

In 2009, nonprofit organizations will have fewer employees and almost no disciplined function to manage them, according to the 3rd Annual Nonprofit Employment Trends Survey. The Nonprofit HR Solutions 2009 survey reveals that 41.6 percent of nonprofits intend to create new full-time positions, down from 61.9 percent in 2008. In addition, 26.1 percent indicate that they intend to downsize or lay off staff in 2009 vs. 7.6 percent of nonprofits that planned reductions in 2008. Despite the dim industry outlook, responses to the 30-question survey show that more than 50 percent of nonprofits have no formal staffing or recruiting budget. Of organizations with formal recruiting budgets, almost 60 percent allocated $5,000 or less per year and instead relied primarily on formal and informal networks of colleagues and friends to fill vacant positions. Close to 30 percent of respondents have one staff person dedicated to managing the human resources function, an almost 8 percent increase from 2008; however, the majority of participating organizations said their human resources function is managed by someone with shared job responsibilities, outsourced to a third party, or simply too small to have any dedicated resources. To download a copy of the report as a .pdf file, go to: www.nonprofithr.com

March 29 - April 4,  2009

Impact of the Economic Downturn on the Nonprofit Sector

According to "Quiet Crisis," a report recently issued by Bruce Reed and John Bridgeland, the human need for nonprofit help is skyrocketing as nonprofit resources shrink. Their research uncovered disturbing evidence of the nonprofit sector's growing troubles:


Churches, many of which deliver social services to the poor and needy, were expected to raise $3 billion to $5 billion less than anticipated in the last quarter of 2008;


United Way saw a 68 percent increase during the past year in the number of calls for basic needs such as securing food, shelter, and warm clothing, and is receiving 10,000 to 15,000 more calls every month compared to 2007;


Chicago's Meals on Wheels is trimming its budget by 35 percent;


The State of Arizona reports an increase of more than 100 percent in the number of people who sought social services from 2007 to 2008, and Goodwill of Central Arizona reported nearly twice the number of visits to its centers on December 23, 2008, compared to the same day in 2007; and


Over the last year, more than 70 percent of Michigan nonprofits have seen increasing demand for their services, while 50 percent say their financial support has dropped.

This report makes several concrete recommendations on how our nation can spark a strong nonprofit recovery and permit more Americans to do good works in hard times:


Put 250,000 Americans a year to work in national and community service by passing the bipartisan Serve America Act.


Adopt targeted incentives to expand private giving and volunteering.


Create a Social Innovation and Compassion Capital Fund.


Give nonprofit housing and financial institutions a prominent role in solving the nation's massive mortgage and foreclosure problems.

To download a copy of the report, go to: www.dlc.org

March 22 - 28, 2009

Study Shows First-Time Online Donors Often Do Not Return

People who go online to donate to charity for the first time often do not return to the Internet to make later gifts, according to a new study by Target Analytics, a unit of Blackbaud, Inc. which provides software and services to nonprofit groups. The findings suggest that while the Internet can be a valuable fund-raising tool for charities, particularly in soliciting gifts after disasters like Hurricane Katrina, it is not a replacement for direct mail or other forms of fund-raising. Key findings from the 2008 donorCentrics Internet Giving Benchmarking Analysis include:


Online giving still represents a relatively small portion of donors and revenue at most organizations, but it is growing rapidly and is becoming an important source for new donor acquisition.


Online donors are younger and have higher incomes than traditional direct mail donors. These are important constituents that nonprofits very much want to attract and keep, given the older average donor age in many files.


Online donors give larger gifts and, as a result, have a higher overall long-term value than donors to more traditional giving channels like direct mail, but they are less loyal in terms of repeat giving. Higher average gifts mask the lower retention rates of online donors, which may present an opportunity for improvement at many organizations.


The online giving channel must be an integrated part of an entire direct marketing program because although offline donors do not generally migrate to online giving, online donors do migrate to offline channels in large numbers. In addition, online donors tend to downgrade when they move offline, further evidence that online donors are not cultivated to their full potential.

To download a copy of the report, go to: www.blackbaud.com

March 15 - 21, 2009

Nonprofit Theaters Cutting Back

U.S. nonprofit theaters are cutting staff and expanding discounts as they anticipate disappointing ticket sales and fundraising, according to a new survey by the Theatre Communications Group (TCG). In a recent survey of 210 member theaters, TCG found 77 percent are revising expense projections for the coming year. Theaters with a budget of at least $10 million are cutting spending by an average of $750,000. More than half of those who completed the survey online expect year-end deficits and “cash flow problems.” About 10 U.S. theater companies in the U.S. have shut down recently or announced they’re in dire straits. Most of the theaters predict that ticket sales and fundraising from individuals and corporations will fall short of initial projections. Nearly a third said they’ll substitute small-cast shows for larger ones. More than half plan new ticket discounting. For a copy of the survey results, go to: www.tcg.org

March 8 - 14, 2009

Nonprofit Mergers and Acquisitions

Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) are much more common in the nonprofit world than most would think, as a Bridgespan Group study of 3,300 deals across four states over 11 years shows. But nonprofit mergers often come about through default—due to financial distress or leadership vacuums. At the same time, relatively few nonprofits are using M&A strategically, as a way to strengthen organizations' effectiveness, spread best practices, expand reach, and to do all of this more cost-effectively. Yet the potential for M&A to create real value in the nonprofit sector exists, particularly if more philanthropists take on the mantle of matchmaker and help nonprofits explore and evaluate M&A opportunities. This report summariizes research conducted by the Bridgespan Group on nonprofit M&A; explores the Child and Family Services (CFS) field, where "market" conditions are especially favorable to combinations; and profiles two nonprofits making the most of acquisitions. It also issues a call to action to philanthropists to further strategic, social sector M&A. To download a copy of the study as a .pdf file, go to: www.bridgespan.org

March 1 - 7, 2009

More American Teens Volunteer Than Work Part Time

American teens are setting an example for their parents through their volunteer work, according to a new poll by Harris Interactive. The random national telephone survey released this week by the Federal Way-based charity World Vision found that more teens volunteer to support a charitable cause — 56 percent — than have a part-time job — 39 percent. Parents and guardians said 82 percent of the teens in their lives do something to support charitable causes, including volunteering, recruiting others to a cause, wearing a button or T-shirt or donating money. Forty-six percent of the adults surveyed said they volunteer their time, but they also take credit for inspiring their children to volunteer. The Harris Interactive poll was conducted in the United States between Jan. 29 and Feb. 2 among 2,003 adults.

Go to: www.msnbc.msn.com

February 22 - 28, 2009

Connections Between Annual and Bequest Giving

The Stelter Company has issued a new Donor Insight Report™ summarizing research from a national survey of Americans aged 40 and older concerning their views on bequest giving. Key findings include:


Ninety percent of U.S. residents aged 40 and older reported making a contribution to at least one nonprofit in the past year or so. This included a majority (58 percent) who reported contributions to three or more charities, with about one in five (19 percent) giving to five or more organizations.


Seven percent of Americans aged 40 and older name nonprofits in their wills. Another 5 percent have a will and say at some point they will definitely or probably include a bequest to a nonprofit organization. Still another 5 percent do not yet have a will in place, but say they will definitely or probably include a nonprofit when they create this document. Most of this group (73 percent) intend to create a will within the next five years.


Prolific annual givers have a propensity for bequest giving. Bequest givers and good prospects who have a will in place are more likely than average to make annual gifts to five or more charities: 34 and 37 percent respectively, compared to 19 percent overall (a 15- to 18-point difference). Prospects who do not yet have a will in place differ, in that they give to fewer charities on average.

To download a copy of the report as a .pdf file, go to: www.stelter.com

February 15 - 21, 2009

Long-Distance Volunteering in the United States

The first-ever national study of "Voluntourism" (long-distance volunteering) in the U.S. finds that in the Gulf area visiting volunteers significantly bolstered disaster recovery efforts, supplying one in four of the total volunteers in Mississippi in 2007 and one in five in Louisiana. Other findings include:


In 2007, about 3.7 million volunteers – about 6 percent of all volunteers age 16 and over – reported doing at least some long-distance volunteering, traveling at least 120 miles to volunteer with an organization located within the U.S., but outside their communities.


The ten most popular destinations for long-distance volunteering that occur outside one’s own state include several of the most populous states, plus the five states affected by the 2005 Gulf hurricanes, Katrina, Rita and Wilma: Texas, Florida, Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana.


Compared to all adult volunteers, a larger proportion of long-distance volunteers are single and do not have children. Adult volunteers in general are considerably more likely to be married or raising children.


Compared to all adult volunteers, a larger proportion of long-distance volunteers are young adults, aged 16-24.


The most committed volunteers are also the most likely to engage in long-distance volunteering. For example: individuals who volunteer more than 100 hours per year, serve more than 12 weeks per year with their main organization, or serve with more than one organization, are much more likely to serve as long-distance volunteers.

For a copy of the report prepared by the Corporation for National and Community Service, go to: www.volunteeringinamerica.gov

February 8 - 14, 2009

Foundation Giving Trends

Foundation support for eight of the 10 major giving areas rose in 2007, despite the first signs of an economic downturn in the latter half of the year, according to The Foundation Center’s Foundation Giving Trends (2009 Edition). Funding for the environment and animals rose fastest, up 28.5 percent from the prior year — more than double the 13.2 percent rise in overall grant dollars. Key findings include:


Foundations awarded a record 188 grants of $10 million or more in 2007. Of the 10 largest, eight were made by the Gates Foundation, mainly for health-related activities and international development.


International giving — which cuts across all areas and includes grants awarded directly to overseas recipients and to U.S.-based international programs — reached a record 23.4 percent of total grant dollars awarded.


Among specific populations, the economically disadvantaged benefited from the largest share of grant dollars, rising to a record $5.3 billion.

To download a free summary of the report highlights as a .pdf file, go to: foundationcenter.org. To order a copy of the full report, go to: foundationcenter.org

January 25 - February 7, 2009

What Girls Say about Election 2008

The Girl Scout Research Institute (GSRI), building on its comprehensive survey of girls’ leadership conceptions and aspirations, “Change It Up! What Girls Say About Redefining Leadership” (2007), decided to explore the impact of the 2008 election on girls’ leadership aspirations. GSRI conducted a survey from November 11 through December 2, 2008. The total sample of 3,284 respondents included 2,309 girls and 975 boys. Key findings include:


Nearly one in two (49%) respondents reported an increased interest in politics; 44% reported an increased interest in social and political activism; and 71% said they intend to vote when they are eligible.


59% of girls and 52% boys reported that the election had a positive impact on their confidence in being able to achieve their goals in the future, and 51% of girls and 45% of boys said it positively impacted their confidence in being able to change things in this country.


Substantial numbers (46% of girls and 38% of boys) reported that they think more highly of women’s ability to lead than they did before the election. Yet substantial numbers also reported a heightened appreciation for the difficulties women face in reaching leadership positions in our country.


Barack Obama would have won the 13- to 17-year-old vote with a wider margin than he did the national election: 60% of the survey respondents said they would have voted for the Democratic Party nominee and 26% said they would have voted for John McCain, compared to the 53% - 46% split in the national election. Obama’s victory would have been based on majorities of both girls’ (61%) and boys’ (57%) votes.

To download a copy of the report as a .pdf file, go to: www.girlscouts.org

January 18 - 24, 2009

The Obama Effect: Trends Affecting Volunteering

Susan Ellis of Energize.com has identified a number of ways several ways that the Obama Administration may impact volunteering in the United States. According to Ellis:


The Obama campaign leaders and the Obamas themselves have and will probably continue to encourage volunteer involvement on the part of those who volunteered during the election campaign


Candidate Obama made campaign promises about enlarging stipended service programs such as the Peace Corps and AmeriCorps.  Many also believe that he will favor the proposed U.S. Public Service Academy.  So we may see legislation and appropriations that fund these efforts. 

For more commentary on the “Obama Effect” as well as trends impacting the volunteer management profession, go to: www.energizeinc.com

January 11 - 17, 2009

Trends Affecting Social Entrepreneurship

Change.org has identified seven trends shaping social entrepreneurship in 2009 and beyond. They include:


Globally-Engaged Education


Measuring Social Impact


Mobile Technology


Online Action Platforms


Blended Value Investing


Green Innovation


A Partner in the White House

To learn more about the impact of these seven trends: Go to: socialentrepreneurship.change.org

January 4 - 10, 2009

Rise in Charitable Bequests

Giving USA 2008 reports that charitable bequests rose to $23.15 billion and giving from foundations, an increasingly popular vehicle for donor bequests, also rose dramatically by 10.3 percent to $38.52 billion.  These data suggest the nonprofit world may be beginning to see the much-anticipated generational transfer of wealth. In addition to catching the wave of increased bequest and foundation philanthropy, organizations with effective planned and major giving strategies and knowledgeable staff could find their bottom lines less affected by the current economic slowdown than organizations that rely heavily on lower-level annual donors. Effective planned giving programs are approaching prospects earlier, when they are in their 50s and 60s, as previous Campbell & Company-sponsored research has shown that donors begin to think about their estate plans at this stage in their lives.  To download other key report findings, go to: www.campbellcompany.com

December 28 , 2008 - January 3, 2009

International Grantmaking Trends

Estimated U.S. foundation giving for international purposes reached a record $5.4 billion in 2007, and 2008 giving is likely to top that record. International Grantmaking IV: An Update on U.S. Foundation Trends, a new report prepared by the Foundation Center in cooperation with the Council on Foundations, examines changes in grantmakers’ strategies and practices and the outlook for giving based on a 2008 survey and interviews with leading funders. It also documents trends in giving through 2006 based on actual grants awarded by over 1,000 of the largest U.S. foundations. Key findings include:

bullet International giving grew faster than overall giving between 2002 and 2007. The impact of the U.S. financial crisis remains uncertain, but most leading international funders are likely to remain committed.
bullet The Gates Foundation accounted for more than half of the increase in funding.
bullet International giving grew faster than overall giving, regardless of foundation type.

To download a copy of the report highlights as a .pdf file, go to: foundationcenter.org

To view 2008 Trends of the Week, click here.

To view 2007 Trends of the Week, click here.

To view 2006 Trends of the Week, click here.

To view 2005 Trends of the Week, click here.

To view 2004 Trends of the Week, click here.

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