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Innovate, Improve, Succeed: Topline Results from the 2024 Trends Report 

Research study blog
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In a time of fundraising shortfalls, economic uncertainties, staffing shortages, and day-to-day operational challenges, nonprofit leaders are leading the charge to innovate, improve, and succeed. Community Brands’ 2024 Trends Report: The State of Fundraising, Technology, and Operations Impact on Mission Sustainability quantifies the state of the nonprofit sector and examines how organizations embrace innovation to optimize operational processes and improve mission-critical success drivers like fundraising, technology use, and staffing efficiency. 

Nonprofit organizations are proactively responding to emerging challenges to sustainability. From examining operational processes to improving drivers of mission success, like fundraising, donor management, technology, and campaigns, organizations are exploring ways to be nimbler and more streamlined.     

Community Brands collaborated with Pacific Consulting Group in the fourth quarter of 2023 to survey over 1,000 nonprofit professionals, with 84% from general nonprofits, 6% from federal, state, or local government, and 10% from education. All respondents were senior nonprofit leaders with titles including director/manager, vice president, senior vice president, COO, CTO, CFO, and president/owner/CEO.  

Topline Results

1. Nonprofits face continual financial pressures around revenue streams. Fifty-seven percent say they need somewhat or much more stable cash flow, with nearly 7 in 10 sharing that they need more revenue streams today than they did two years ago.  

To this point, 56% of nonprofits say their organization has at least six funding sources, and 28% have at least 10 revenue sources. These organizations understand the importance of having diverse revenue streams, with 8 in 10 saying this is at least very important, if not critical, and 6 in 10 saying the average number of funding sources has increased over the last several years.  

2. Despite increasing revenue streams, nonprofit sustainability remains a top concern. Seventy-three percent of organizations have long-term concerns about sustainability. These concerns were at the top of the minds of environmental organizations, nonprofits with at least a $51 million operating budget, nonprofits with over 5,000 employees, and organizations with budgets between $11 to $51 million.    

3. Organizations recognize these challenges and acknowledge the need to be more efficient to accomplish their missions. Eighty-four percent of organizations say they must optimize spending to better serve their missions. One way they’re optimizing spending is by addressing inefficient technology.    

Over the last three years, organizations have acknowledged the need to optimize inefficient systems and have taken steps to do so. In 2022, only 33% of nonprofits said their technology use was very efficient; that number increased to 41% in 2023. 

4. Besides being time-consuming, organizations recognize they use too many technological systems. In 2023, 43% of organizations used seven or more tools daily, limiting employee efficiency. On average, nonprofit employees spend 30% of their day managing data between systems.   

5. More than 4 in 5 nonprofit leaders shared that their organization could better serve their missions by managing their systems more efficiently. Organizations are seeking out new technology to address these concerns. In 2023, nonprofits sought new solutions to: 

  • Analyze financial data (66%)
  • Manage online donations (66%) 
  • Track and manage donors (64%)
  • Host peer-to-peer fundraising events (64%) 
  • Manage fundraising events (64%)
  • Create budgets (62%)  
  • Manage multiple grants and funding sources (63%)

6. Organizations are finding efficiency in cloud-based technology. In 2023, 4 out of 5 nonprofits said they are more likely to adopt a cloud-based solution than two years ago, with 1 in 3 saying they are much more likely. On average, those who transitioned to the cloud say they’ve gained 2 days a week because they eliminated manual work and redundancies. 

Read the 2024 Trends Report  

The State of Fundraising, Technology, and Operations:
Impact on Mission Sustainability

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Eric Oliver

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