Nonprofits must be more vocal about their challenges

September 13, 2013

Nonprofits must be more vocal about their challenges

Nonprofit organizations need continued support from their donors, but fear speaking freely about their needs because they don't want to lose out on future funding. In fact, a new study from the Center for Effective Philanthropy showed 48 percent of 121 charity leaders surveyed believe their donor networks have little to no knowledge of their most daunting challenges.

Ellie Buteau, vice president of research at CEP and co-author of the report, told The Chronicle of Philanthropy that it would be in an organization's best interests to ask for what they need to meet their goals, but it is tough to be honest. For example, many supporters give money to nonprofits because they believe in the organizations' mission, not to help them purchase the latest technology.

"Nonprofits want more support in three key areas: meeting the demand for their programs and services, using technology to improve their effectiveness and developing leadership skills," Buteau said. "Seventy-three percent of the nonprofit leaders we surveyed said they lack the resources to develop their leadership skills."

In addition, of the 85 percent of respondents who said their organizations struggles to bring in funding, nearly 45 percent reported wanting more help from foundations. Some leaders want help transitioning from one business model to another, while others want to cut costs so they can be more flexible with their budgets. However, only 18 percent of nonprofit leaders said they believe they can be honest with grant makers about their true needs.

Jennifer Ratay, executive director of the Silicon Valley Social Venture Fund told The Chronicle of Philanthropy that communication must be greatly improved at nonprofits. After all, grant makers must know what is challenging nonprofits before committing funding to them.

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