May 26, 2018
 
Mass. Nonprofits Plan to Expand Services and Hire Staff in 2018

May 10, 2018 — Responding to increasing demands for services, amid persistent financial and operational challenges, Massachusetts nonprofits plan to expand services or programs and hire staff this year, according to a newly completed profile of the sector published yesterday by the Nonprofit Finance Fund.

“These data reaffirm the unflagging dedication of nonprofit leaders, who continue to pursue new ways to more effectively support more people and communities,” said Antony Bugg-Levine, CEO of the Nonprofit Finance Fund.

According to the 2018 State of the Nonprofit Sector Survey, 40% of Massachusetts nonprofit leaders said they expected a significant increase in demand (more than 10%) in 2018. That compares to a 43% increase last year.

Nationally, 86% of respondents said demand for their services will increase this year.

Demand continues to rise faster than nonprofits’ ability to meet it: 66% of Massachusetts respondents said they won't be able to meet the increased demand for services in 2018, more than the 57% nationally who felt the same way.

To respond to that higher demand for services, 59% of Massachusetts leaders planned to expand programs or services in 2018, the same level as last year. Nationally, 63% planned to expand programs or services.

In addition, 54% of Massachusetts nonprofit leaders said they intended to increase staff this year. That’s slightly down from the 62% who said they increased staff last year.

Financial and operational issues loom large for Massachusetts nonprofits:
  • 69% cited financial sustainability as a top financial challenge, compared to 62% nationally
  • 58% said funding for full costs was also a top challenge, about the same as the 57% nationally
  • 63% said offering competitive pay and 60% said employing enough staff were top staffing challenges
  • 23% said recruiting staff with leadership potential was a key challenge
  • 22% said retaining staff with leadership potential was a key challenge
Reflecting a growing national debate within the nonprofit sector, 46% of Massachusetts leaders said they increased diversity of their board/leadership/staff during the past year, while 69% said they intended to increase diversity in 2018.

Thirty-five percent of Massachusetts respondents said they planned to engage more formally in advocacy/policy this year, up from 29% last year.

Also, 65% of Massachusetts nonprofit leaders said they planned to collaborate with another organization this year, the same level as last year.

Half of Massachusetts leaders said they achieved an operating surplus in 2017, while 27% achieved breakeven financial results; the remaining 23% posted an operating deficit.

The 2018 State of the Nonprofit Sector Survey reflects responses by 3,369 nonprofit leaders, including 127 from Massachusetts, collected in January and February.

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