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The State of the Not-for-Profit Sector in 2016

At a time that is both exciting and challenging for not-for-profit organizations, the 2016 edition of The State of the Not-for-Profit Sector presents a focus on key trending topics and experience-based viewpoints to help you in leading your organization.

Within these pages, you will find our thoughts on key industry developments and challenges facing not-for-profit leadership, with specific features for each of the key sectors that comprise our industry practice — associations and membership organizations, foundations, Jewish and Israeli organizations, museums and cultural institutions, religious organizations and social services organizations (we cover our seventh sector, higher education, in a separate publication, The State of Higher Education in 2016). Issues and challenges are described, and as importantly, solutions and alternative approaches are offered.

Read The State of the Not-for-Profit Sector in 2016 online report.

Browse these articles:

Enhancing stakeholder communications, transparency
Nonprofit organizations’ constituents are developing an increasingly voracious appetite for timely, relevant and specific information, and they are voting with their feet and dollars for organizations that meet those needs.

Setting aside uncertainty in strategic planning
Uncertainty describes not only economic reality for not-for-profits, but also an emotion generated by that reality ― one that often prompts leaders to resort to short-term plans instead of determining long-term strategies.

Museums and cultural institutions: Welcoming big data to your institution
Mining, analyzing and comparing big data can draw a detailed picture of individuals and their behaviors; cultural institutions can benefit greatly from big data tools in programming, marketing and fundraising.

Taking budgeting to the next level: Integrating the strategic plan
Budgeting for not-for-profit organizations is getting more challenging as mission-driven needs exceed available resources; many have improved their budgeting practices, but more must step up to not just survive but become more successful.

Foundations: Acquiring foreign alternative investments — Taxpayer beware
Foundations and other tax-exempt organizations with significant endowments are choosing foreign investments, or domestic investments with foreign operations, for their promising results, but these investments may require complex U.S. tax reporting.

Utilizing data analytics to improve performance
With a true understanding of business performance based on data, statistical methods and predictive modeling, data analytics allows management to concentrate on fundamental objectives and ways to enhance mission achievement.

Social services: Responding to increased strain on existing programs
To meet both current and future demands, nonprofit organizations must first understand the current environment, then move to recognize the value of automation, strengthen their relationships and take advantage of available relief.

Recognizing, averting risk of financial failure
Ten financial warning signals have accelerated due to the current economic climate, and the inability to differentiate from peers; instead, adopt a financially sustainable operating model responsive to evolving constituent needs.

Religious organizations: Selecting an IT solution for practicality, effectiveness
As with aging houses of worship, maintenance of IT assets that have taken a back seat to other cash-intensive areas can be deferred only so long; forward-thinking organizations are utilizing several key technology best practices.

Telling your story transparently: Putting disclosures to work
The federal government has given nonprofits a valuable tool — the Form 990 — to significantly increase their transparency and leverage communications with stakeholders.

Associations and membership organizations: Preventing nexus from becoming your nemesis
For some association activities, there’s no avoiding the nexus issues that create a taxable obligation; learn about growing regulatory demands and the associated tax risks.

Making your voice heard in elections: Taxes + political activity
An election year is a prime opportunity for tax-exempt organizations to advance their causes and advocate for their issues, but they must do so with an understanding of tax law constraints on their political activity.

Jewish-Israeli organizations: Protecting your organization from fraud
Fraud protection starts with prevention, including continuous emphasis on culture and ethics, enforcement of policies promoting accountability and oversight, and best practices for hiring and rewarding talent; detection alerts are equally critical.

Redefining defined benefit plans to meet challenges, improve exits
Nonprofit organizations are doing away with overly generous defined benefit plans to make them more affordable and less risky — mainly by freezing pension plans with the ultimate goal of terminating them.

Download the printable report.

See also our State of Higher Education in 2016 report.

State of Higher Ed 2016