As nonprofit leaders struggle mightily to make the world a better place, they find that just focusing on the mission is not enough. Attacks from politicians looking to score political points or media outlets desperate for readers/viewers can often put representatives of the nonprofit sector in a defensive position.
During the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) International Fundraising Conference, Jay Wilkinson, founding CEO of PaymentSpring, said that those in the sector need to feel good about what they are doing. For example, the years 2000 to 2010 showed a 3.7 percent increase in job growth at the same as the for-profit world saw a 0.6 percent decrease in jobs.
Wilkinson said nonprofit leaders need to stand up and create a new reality, and to do that they need to be aware of five trends shaping that new reality.
* Greater interest in service. People are interested in volunteering, but nonprofits need to find ways to engage with them.
* Shifting demographics. Embrace a new wave of diversity and openness, include young leaders in the big picture and foster a people-first work environment.
* Blurred lines between nonprofit and for-profit. Nonprofits need to stay true to their mission and be who they are, unapologetically.
* Technological advances. Nonprofits that refuse to embrace technology because of cost, fear or uncertainty risk losing opportunities to grow and expand.
* New ways to collaborate. Social media provides substantial opportunity to leverage the organization’s message. Use the tools available and participate in the conversation.