Nonprofit organizations not only give back a lot to their communities, but they also gain a lot of support from their communities, whether it’s in terms of volunteering time, skills or money. This is why nonprofits need to be aware of changes in the market or public sentiment that could impact their company and local work — perhaps even more so than for-profit companies.
While it isn’t possible to perfectly predict the exact factors that will impact nonprofit organizations in 2019, those with experience in the industry have some informed ideas. Below, we asked members of Forbes Nonprofit Council to each share the top three factors they expect to influence or change the way nonprofits function this year. Keep them in mind when planning your nonprofit organization’s yearly trajectory.
1. Tax Code, Stock Market, Effective Altruism
Changes in the tax code may affect the contribution levels of some donors and cause nonprofits to be more conservative in budget management and program planning. Likewise, the performance of the stock market always influences donor contributions and gifting outreach. Nonprofits must also consider the popularity of effective altruism and emphasize results and performance over goals and mission. – Albert L. Reyes, Buckner International
2. Global Economy, Hiring, Firings
In today’s world, everything is global. And the global economy will certainly impact your fundraising. Ensure you have one year in the bank. With borders heating up, hiring international people is harder, making it harder to achieve your diversity plan. But global firings can be a positive — when people are let go, they seek meaning and employment from you. So, be positive and embrace the global economy! – Pamela Hawley, UniversalGiving
3. Politics, Tax Reform, Election Chatter
Political activity will drive giving toward groups involved at the government level. Congress’ action or non-action regarding tax reform will greatly inform whether making tax deductions available to everyone will be a continued expectation of nonprofits and a motivation for donors at all levels of giving. Election discussions will help shape the issues that will be top-of-mind for some donors. – Steven Moore, M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust
4. Millennials, Economy, Technology
The economy is always a driving factor, and nonprofits must work harder during slower times to demonstrate the impact of their work. Nonprofits must be like technology companies at heart and leverage tools to increase donor choice and improve stewardship. Nonprofits must also appeal to millennials by using social media platforms for fundraising, thus reaching new donors where they want to engage. – Paula Schneider, Susan G. Komen
5. New Revenue, ROI, Measurable Results
Many nonprofits are struggling to develop new revenue to replace declining legacy fundraising. The temptation to create the next ice bucket phenomenon can pull even the best nonprofit away from their strategic compass. Nonprofits must leverage data-driven decisions based on return on investment (ROI), understanding the problems you want to solve and focusing on creating measurable value so supporters will choose you. – Thomas Bognanno, Community Health Charities
6. Mobile Giving, Taxes, Social Impact Funding
Tax reform in regards to transportation and parking benefits will be an Unrelated Business Income Tax (UBIT) issue for those nonprofits that provide these things to their staff as written bonafide perks. Secondly, mobile giving platforms will determine the ability to secure new donors and a focus on training and social impact funding to address the skills gap in America is a primary concern. – Kimberly Lewis, Goodwill Industries of East Texas, Inc.
7. Social Media, AI, Online Giving
The dynamic platform of social media coupled with artificial intelligence and online giving are on the verge of making virtual assistance and cobots valued friends of the nonprofit. Alexa and Siri are already poised and capable of making a secure online donation to your favorite charity with just a quick mention. This platform has exciting possibilities for nonprofits. – Aaron Alejandro, Texas FFA Foundation
8. Economic Stability, Political Stability, Taxes
Instability in the economic and political sectors impacts donors capacity to give as well as their sense of security. When donors are worried about their retirement funds, job security or how the government is functioning, they are more apt to hold on to their money out of fear and concern for the future. Also, the impact of changes in the tax code on donors may also affect their ability to give. – Rachel Zelon, Hunger Relief International