ONEplace Blog

News, comments, resources, and more for nonprofits.

Nonprofit Sector Grows in Michigan

The late November issues of MiBiz includes a supplement on the nonprofit sector in Michigan featuring comments by Kyle Caldwell, president of the Michigan Nonprofit Association, and Bobbe A. Luce, director of ONEplace@kpl. Their article on the growth in nonprofit employment (1.3% per year) during the recession highlights ways the sector is helping turn the economy around and build the capacities of nonprofit professionals and organizations to function more efficiently and effectively.

The supplement also includes articles on MRC Industries’ job programs for individuals with disabilities; increasing collaborations among nonprofits; the importance and power of philanthropy; young nonprofit professionals; the growth of ‘junior boards’ to prepare young adults for future board positions; and building organizations that inspire others to act. To read the articles, go to and look for articles by title.



Survey Shows Slight Increase in Giving to Nonprofits

A survey of 2,350 organizations was recently conducted by six leading nonprofit organizations (Foundation Center, GuideStar, Association of Fundraising Professionals, Blackbaud, the Urban Institute’s National Center for Charitable Statistics, and the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University).

The survey indicates a slight increase in giving to nonprofits this year over last:

  • 36% saw donations increase in the first nine months of 2010, compared to only 23% in the same period in 2009
  • 37% saw a drop in giving; down from 51% last year
  • Foundation granting remains lower or flat and cautious
  • Drops were mainly the result of ‘fewer and smaller individual donations’

The survey also shows a large increase in demand for services:

  • 78% increase for human service organizations
  • 68% increase for nonprofits in general

Other key findings:

  • In four of eight subsectors, the share of organizations reporting an increase in contributions was about the same as the share reporting a decrease: arts, education, environment/animals, and human services
  • International organizations were the most likely to report an increase in contributions, reflecting donations made for disaster relief
  • In three subsectors — health, public-society benefit, and religion — a larger share of the organizations reported declines than reported increases
  • The larger an organization's annual expenditures, the more likely it reported an increase in charitable receipts in the first nine months of 2010 compared with the same period in 2009
  • Most organizations were guardedly optimistic about 2011: 47% plan budget increases; 33% expect to maintain their current level of expenditures; 20% anticipate a lower budget for 2011

“For the first time in two years, there is cause for cautious optimism about the nonprofit sector in this economy,” according to GuideStar’s Ottenhoff.

How are donations and demands comparing at your nonprofit? What do you see and hear in the greater Kalamazoo area this year compared to a year and two years ago? Let us know.

Download the entire survey results PDF


Nonprofit survey

How Can We Get Our Board To Be More Engaged?

This question is one of the most often asked ones at ONEplace—by executive directors and board leaders, alike. The angst comes through various sub-questions such as: How can we get our Board members to show up to meetings? Show up prepared? Donate to the Annual Campaign? Help raise funds? Take leadership roles? These and other engagement issues…or lack of engagement issues…affect the functioning and outcomes of many organizations.

A new article by Gail Perry, MBA, CFRE, arrived via GuideStar that speaks directly to one of the underlying causes of disengagement: board members often don’t know ‘what your organization is trying to accomplish and what their role is in making that happen.’

“Engagement is inspiring passion in someone so they will want to take action.”
(J. Asker, A. Smith in The Dragonfly Effect)

To inspire passion and, therefore, action: clearly define annual goals for the organization and expectations for board members’ actions toward those goals. A plan gives board members something to get their hands around and strive for.

Perry offers a four-part plan with specific, quantifiable sub-steps:

  1. Be sure your board members know what you are aiming to accomplish this year.
  2. Be sure they know what the impact will be if you can make your plan happen.
  3. Be sure every board member knows what his or her job is to make the plan happen.
  4. Keep in close touch with your board members each week or month, letting them know of your success.

Read Gail Perry’s entire article and try these strategies to get your board engaged and fired-up!


Keeping Your Board Engaged for Your Cause