Nonprofit Strategies

Nonprofits encouraged to take part in impact study

June 13, 2013 

An economic impact study of nonprofits in San Luis Obispo County will get underway later this month to better understand their diverse and sustainable effects locally.

Beacon Economics, a research and consulting firm, has been retained to conduct the study by the Central Coast Economic Forecast.

Conducting such a study is challenging because there is no central data bank of information on nonprofits. If time and money weren’t an issue, people could mine the IRS Form 990 that many nonprofits are required to submit, but these forms are submitted by only half of all nonprofits. If the study is to have meaning, as many nonprofits as possible — regardless of size need to participate.

The impact analysis will be based on a detailed online survey and follow-up phone conversations that focus on financial and employment information from participating nonprofits.

The survey will collect information about revenues and expenses, employee and volunteer demographics. All survey responses will be confidential.

The published results will reflect aggregate calculations and will not disclose individual organizations’ data. Only Beacon Economics staff will have access to that information.

The results of the study will be released in November.

The online survey will be available for three weeks beginning June 24. Nonprofits are asked to register in advance to take the survey at

Barry VanderKelen's Nonprofit Strategies column is special to The Tribune. He is executive director of the San Luis Obispo County Community Foundation. Reach him at

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