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2010 Fenton NPO Leadership and Effectiveness Survey

May 21, 2010

Just got a press release from the folks at Fenton and thought I'd share some of the findings from the survey -- along with a word of caution. First the findings:

  • 80 percent of respondents rate the performance of nonprofits as either "good" or "excellent"
  • 64 percent report that they will either keep their donations to charity the same as last year or cut back on their donations
  • 56 percent of those who say they will cut back on their charitable donations will do so by more than 25 percent
  • Top issues people look to nonprofits to address include poverty/hunger reduction, homelessness, finding cures for disease/illness, domestic violence prevention
  • Traditional outlets such as television, radio, newspapers, and magazines continue to rank highest as credible sources of information
  • Social networking sites rank at the bottom for credibility (though respondents rank Facebook as among the most popular ways to share opinions on issues that matter to them)
  • The three most important attributes in judging a nonprofit's performance are: 1) whether it is a good steward of donated funds; 2) whether it provides trustworthy, objective, and fact-based information; 3) whether it provides valuable services for people that government cannot

The report based on the survey suggests that the funding situation for nonprofits "will likely get worse before it gets better" and that nonprofits "will be scrutinized like never before to show donations are used to provide effective programs and services to communities."

The survey was conducted in March 2010, as the major stock indices were nearing their post-crisis highs. The markets are down 10 percent since then, and the sovereign debt crisis in Europe looks as if it could push the global economy into a second down leg. At the risk of indulging my negativity bias, I'd suggest that now is not the time for nonprofits to raise the "all-clear" flag. Just sayin'.

-- Mitch Nauffts

Comments

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I really think that all the hype by the government and the media that we are coming out of this recession is just that, hype. The way the government plays with the numbers, i.e. inflation, unemployment, etc. it's impossible to know what to believe. Anyway, if I'm correct, the nonprofits will be hit even harder as more and more people struggle to make ends meet. I hope I'm wrong.

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