Every year, Salesforce.org releases  its global Nonprofit Trends Report to better understand the role nonprofits have in serving their communities, what’s shifting within the nonprofit space, mental health and wellbeing in the sector, and how technology supports an organisation’s ability to fund and run their missions across departments.

This year’s report features survey responses from 1250 nonprofit employees at manager level and above with responsibility for programs, fundraising, grants management, technology, HR and marketing, The objective was to better understand:

• The biggest challenges nonprofits face today and in the future

• Trends in diversity, equity, and inclusion

• How nonprofits are traversing the extreme shifts in the workforce

Funding, wellness and diversity lead the way as key priorities for nonprofits

From a financial perspective, the survey results uncovered that while nonprofits enjoyed generous donations from donors, controlling expenses is becoming increasingly challenging for 45% of respondents in the US and 26% in Australia.

Unsurprisingly, staff wellbeing was a major issue for nearly one third of nonprofits throughout the pandemic. At the larger nonprofits, ensuring employee mental health and wellbeing was a major issue, with 38% of nonprofits with revenues of more than US$10 million rating it as a major issue, compared to only 28% of those with revenues below US$1 million. A small majority of larger nonprofits said their organisation’s approach to employee wellbeing had changed during the previous year.

Respondents were also asked about diversity, equity, and inclusion. As the pandemic accelerated the adoption of technology, it also gave new urgency to organisational prioritisation around diversity in their workplace structures. It seems organisations are responding: 49% of nonprofits said that over the past 12 months their organisation has changed its approach to diversity, equity, and inclusion, and 85% said they met or exceeded their goals in this area. 

Change is happening, and nonprofit organisations and solution providers must carefully, but purposefully, rise to the occasion

The even greater challenge is that 35% of organisations anticipate that it will be increasingly more challenging in the coming year. Adoption to remote work, safety concerns, constant re-prioritisation, and a high staff turnover rate continue to wreak havoc. Organisations are taking action though, with 76% of respondents saying their nonprofit offers support services to help with mental health and wellbeing. 

Nonprofits around the world have been able to hold a lot together using technology during the pandemic, but it’s taken a toll: 84% of respondents say working remotely will remain a challenge or become increasingly more difficult over the next 12 months.

“Never has there been so much sophisticated technology available to nonprofit organisations — innovations that could bring tens of thousands more people into their missions and bring an unprecedented ability to take action and measure impact. We need to be compassionate, patient, and diligent in anticipation of balance and a better future,” says Andrew Hill, Regional Vice President at Salesforce.org.

Other tech-related challenges include making decisions based on data and evidence — something that only 34% of organisations say they “always” do — as well as designing programs and services using information about, and engagement with, recipients. Additionally, nine in 10 respondents evaluated their organisation’s use of technology as excellent/good across all areas. Yet only 22% of organisations fell into the high digital maturity bucket when Salesforce.org assessed their digital maturity across a five-question Digital Maturity Index, which was created in 2020 in the 3rd edition of the Nonprofit Trends Report. 

For more insights, get your free copy of the Salesforce.org Nonprofit Trends Report at sfdc.co/nonprofit-trends-fourth-ed.

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