Luann's Top Ten for 2016


We’re back at our desks and ready to take on a new year. It’s exciting to think about what big shifts will occur for nonprofits in 2016. It seems our sector is gaining more attention and more credibility. As we continue to accomplish our good work, we are garnering the respect we deserve and gaining recognition for the impact we make in our community.

Here are ten trends I see affecting nonprofits moving into the new year, and how Nonprofit Connect can help you to meet them head on.

1. Sector Growth
As the needs of our society increase, nonprofits are picking up government shortfalls. Add this to the next generations’ desire for social impact and you have more organizations and new nonprofit jobs. What’s the best way to capitalize on this growth? Find your next nonprofit position or recruit the next generation on JobLink.

2. A Shift in Donor Demographics
With changes in distribution of wealth and income comes a shift in donor demographics. Targeting the same donors year after year won’t reap the same benefits, and smart donors are demanding more efficiency and transparency from organizations. Join us on March 22 to discuss one of the biggest shifting demographics: women in philanthropy.

3. Intentional Board Recruitment
The days of finding effective board of directors by the friend-exchange are fading. Executive directors will need to become more actively involved in finding and training board members to achieve the impact needed for the organization’s health. That’s why Nonprofit Connect provides BoardLink to connect organizations in need of governance with community leaders looking for a cause to serve.

4. Storytelling
Technology has changed how nonprofits recruit support, engage donors and tell their story. We saw a big shift in 2015 with area nonprofits stepping up their game on electronic presence. Websites are improving, social media has exploded and nonprofits are realizing even more that their digital stories matter. For a quick and easy way to spread the word about your cause, post your organization’s next news release on Member News.

5. Focus on Career Development
Professional growth is no longer optional. Make an effort to put aside some time for you, your colleagues and your board of directors to improve your skills and learn about what’s trending. Your organization will be glad you did. Get started on your road to betterment with the Nonprofit Connect Programs Calendar.

6. Increased Regulation
Two different trends; the government’s need for more resources and the public’s distrust of many social institutions, will result in increased government scrutiny of nonprofits and their finances. Nonprofits will be increasingly affected by the public sector in 2016. Start the year off right and join us for Big Changes in Store for Nonprofit Financial Reporting on February 17. Free for members!

7. Strengthened Partnerships
Cause marketing continues to grow as market research indicates consumers increasingly prefer to buy products from companies doing good. The shift in traditional advertising has made partnering with a nonprofit an appealing alternative. These partnerships attract attention for the companies while expanding the public awareness for the nonprofit. Looking for a business that serves the nonprofit sector? Check out our Business Member Directory.

8. Leadership Succession
Studies show healthier organizations focus on continuity in leadership. But a combination of current executives reaching retirement age and the ever growing stresses of organizational leadership will likely lead to shorter executive tenures. It is important for organizations to have a succession plan in place, and to focus on grooming the next generation of leaders. Encourage your organization’s youngest leaders to check out the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network of Kansas City.

9. Measuring Impact
The demand for measurable return on investment will continue. Gathering data and organizing it in a way that tells your story and shows positive change will remain a priority. This data is necessary for funders to distinguish where their investments go. Organize your data using a template from ResourceLink.

10. Collaboration and Catalytic Leadership
Change occurs when funders, organizations and companies each work side by side to achieve impact. Sometimes labeled a partnership, sometimes called collective impact, most of it involves collaborative efforts and it all requires catalytic leadership. Save the date for the 32nd Annual Philanthropy Awards Luncheon on May 20 where we’ll recognize examples of outstanding collaboration and catalytic leadership in Kansas City.

Looking ahead to the new year can be daunting; change is normal, shift is occurring at a fast pace, and keeping up is a challenge. But you are not in it alone. Nonprofit Connect will continue to link the nonprofit community to education, resources and networking so organizations like yours can more effectively achieve their missions.

We’re grateful for your continued support, and we can’t wait to see you at a Nonprofit Connect program in 2016!

Together we’re better,

Luann Feehan
Executive Director
Nonprofit Connect