Staying effective and healthy in difficult economic times continues to be a challenge for many nonprofits across Central Oregon. To support the nonprofit community, the Partnership to End Poverty funded a survey that outlines the struggles facing these organizations and what kind of technical assistance is most needed.
“Part of our mission is to support our nonprofit partners in the region. We believed that funding a survey would offer additional insight into how (The Partnership) could provide assistance and resources where they are most needed,” explained Jason Carr, executive director of Partnership to End Poverty.
The Central Oregon Nonprofit Research Project was completed by 123 participants. It revealed that the region’s nonprofits need and want technical support, but the capacity to pay for those services is limited. The survey was led by Jan McGowan, a Sisters area nonprofit consultant, who had a successful 17-year career with SOLV, which she started with her husband.
“The response to the survey speaks to the engagement and commitment of the nonprofit community here. It is amazing to see the breadth of causes they champion, and their impact on every aspect of life here,” said McGowan, of Jan McGowan Nonprofit Consulting.
Most nonprofits surveyed desire assistance in areas of organizational development and planning, management support and how to build more valuable partnerships and collaborations. The top five areas of direct technical support include fundraising, marketing, board development, grant writing and strategic planning. While several foundations and organizations like the Nonprofit Association of Oregon offer resources in Central Oregon, many nonprofits may not be aware of what’s available.
“This survey clearly shows that, for all the good they do, many nonprofits are struggling to acquire the support they need to remain strong and effective,” said McGowan.
McGowan presented her findings to a group of nonprofit and foundation leaders earlier this month.
After several hours of discussion, the group agreed collectively that some kind of “backbone” organization is needed as a way more efficiently offer resource assistance to local nonprofits. A steering committee, led by The Partnership, was formed to further investigate the possibilities.
“It’s clear that more energy needs to be devoted to this effort. Nonprofits are an economic driver in Central Oregon, providing extensive resources and employment. With federal and state budget deficits likely to continue, we need to build a strong support system to keep nonprofits healthy,” noted Carr.
The Partnership to End Poverty is a 501 (c) (3) organization dedicated to reducing poverty in Central Oregon, long term. The Partnership collaborates with Central Oregon’s wide range of socially conscious organizations (non-profit, for-profit and governmental, faith-based and education-oriented), with the goal of achieving more poverty reduction together than it could working alone. www.partnershiptoendpoverty.org.
Sample of Survey Results
1. 86 percent of nonprofits have five or fewer employees.
2. The majority of nonprofits, 62 (50.4 percent), have six-ten board members
3. Just over half of the organizations, or 51 percent, have budgets between $100,000 and $1 million. Nearly one quarter of nonprofits operate on annual budgets of less than $100,000 and another 22 percent budget $1,000,000 or more.
4. The highest need for technical assistance is in the following areas. The number in parenthesis shows the number of the 123 respondents who ranked the area as three or four on a scale of one-four with four indicating highest need.
• Fundraising (84)
• Marketing (76)
• Board Development (65)
• Grant Writing (63)
• Strategic Planning (59)
• Social Media (57)
• Leadership Development (54)
• Technology (51)