This column is intended to provide information nonprofits can use to become more effective. I have been honored to write it for the past seven years. This will be the last one I write.
My first column expressed gratitude to the many people who are involved with nonprofits — donors, board members and other volunteers. Nonprofits enhance the quality of life in our county by providing much needed services and because people come together in a shared interest in making a positive difference. Today my gratitude is deeper than it was seven years ago.
My concern for the nonprofit community is equally deeper. The lingering effects of the Great Recession are real and will last for at least six more years.
Research is showing that people have permanently changed their donating habits with more giving less to fewer nonprofits. Donors are more frequently stating they want to know how their money is creating measurable results.
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I’m also worried that fewer young people are interested in careers in nonprofits. Research finds they cite low pay for highstress jobs as a reason they see for-profits that have strong community commitments as a more attractive career path.
The increased competition for resources, including employees, means nonprofits must become smarter in how they do their work.
I am profoundly grateful for the men and women who serve on nonprofit boards of directors.
The pressure is higher to secure resources and exercise good governance. The organization is depending on good leadership in strategic planning and fundraising for the board. Board members can become better at their jobs by attending seminars and webinars through organizations such as Board Source and Spokes.
Finally, I thank you for being involved with your favorite nonprofits. What you do is vital to the quality of life on the Central Coast.
Barry VanderKelen's Nonprofit Strategies column is special to The Tribune. He is executive director of The Community Foundation San Luis Obispo County. His last day there will be Monday.