There’s no question, growth is important to most nonprofit organizations, no matter the mission or the size. Although the search for new ways to generate revenue and respond to growth-related challenges continues, your peers have shared their perspectives on how to best adapt and adopt best practices. Here’s a sneak peek at the key findings from the “2018 Nonprofit Finance Study”:

Key Findings

  1. When nonprofit professionals talk growth, they most likely mean increasing services. About half (50 percent) see providing more services as the hallmark of growth, followed by taking in more revenue (39 percent).
  2. Growth is expected. About four-in-five organizations (79 percent) expect to grow very much (16 percent) or somewhat (63 percent) in the next 12 to 18 months.
  3. Growth doesn’t just happen – it’s planned for intentionally. Three-in-five (61 percent) hold formal planning sessions on strategic growth. However, while the vast majority believes their organization does budget planning well (59 percent agree), just two-in-five say following up to track progress (39 percent) is a strength of their organization, suggesting a need to establish metrics for success and a process for tracking progress against the plan.
  4. With growth comes anxiety. Three-quarters say when their organization grows, they worry about their ability to maintain funding, including 32 percent who say they worry about this very much.
  5. With growth comes change. As organizations grow:
    • 61 percent say they have to become more transparent with funders
    • 44 percent have to change the way they report to funders
    • 28 percent have to report to funders more frequently
  6. The integration with IT for a growing organization is interesting and complex. A majority (53 percent) say “managing technology needs” is harder to execute in a larger organization, and nearly half (49 percent) say the same for “ensuring security of data.”
  7. Online security and IT needs require solid solutions. Seventy-one percent say ensuring online security is a moderate or major challenge in a growing organization, and 66 percent say the same of meeting employees’ IT needs.
  8. Nonprofit finance professionals are not confident that their technology will keep up with growth. Only 5 percent believe it is “very easy” to make sure technology meets their organizations’ needs as they grow, and only 36 percent say “somewhat easy.” Fifty-five percent say this is somewhat (45 percent) or very (10 percent) difficult. One-in-four (22 percent) lacks confidence that their organization’s current technology can meet their needs as the organization grows.

So, where do you go from here? We have some tips on how to turn the data from this study into a strategic plan for managing the dynamics and challenges of growth for your organization – we invite you to download the full study – Nonprofit Finance Study: The Dynamics and Challenges of Growth” and take a deeper look.