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This Yr’s State of Nonprofits Highlights Mounting Concern About Burnout


Burnout is prime of thoughts for nonprofit leaders in 2024, regardless of relative consistency in nonprofit organizations’ funds and relationships with funders. This is without doubt one of the key insights in a brand new CEP report, State of Nonprofits 2024: What Funders Must Know, launched at present.

This report revisits the core questions from a related survey of a nationally consultant panel of nonprofit leaders a 12 months in the past, shedding mild on nonprofit organizations’ staffing, funds, and relationships with funders in 2024.

Within the report, nonprofit leaders overwhelmingly categorical concern about burnout — each for themselves and their workers — a priority that was current in final 12 months’s report, too. Just about all of our respondents point out no less than some stage of concern about workers burnout, with a 3rd reporting that workers burnout is “very a lot” a priority. On prime of this continued fear about workers burnout, practically 90 % of leaders be aware some stage of concern about their very own burnout.

Whereas burnout is a perennial concern in nonprofit organizations, our information point out tat nonprofit leaders’ alarm over the difficulty just isn’t abating however rising. Half of these we surveyed are extra involved about their very own burnout now than they have been presently final 12 months. One chief instructed us, “I’ve been a nonprofit chief for 20 years and I’ve not skilled a actuality just like the one I’m in presently. […] There aren’t any trailblazers which have confronted this path earlier than us, to information and advise, [for] knowledge. It’s a wild world proper now.”

Nevertheless, funds stay comparatively sound at nonprofit organizations, with most nonprofits experiencing a balanced funds or surplus within the final fiscal 12 months. Likewise, most are additionally projecting that they’ll have a balanced funds or surplus within the present fiscal 12 months. Simply 15 % of leaders each recorded a deficit within the final fiscal 12 months and anticipate a deficit within the present 12 months. That mentioned, repeat respondents from throughout each 2023 and 2024 surveys have been barely extra prone to report a deficit within the final fiscal 12 months in 2024 than in 2023, suggesting some potential trigger for concern.

Lastly, when requested about their experiences with funders, a majority of leaders report that their funders are sustaining commitments or making new commitments to altering their grantmaking practices. These shifts embrace streamlining software and proposal processes, lowering or eliminating funding restrictions, and streamlining or revising reporting necessities. These findings about funder relationships construct on a physique of CEP analysis that has documented substantial change in funders’ practices within the final 4 years, explored in depth most lately in two stories: Earlier than and After 2020 and State of Nonprofits 2023.

Additionally value noting on the subject of shifting funder practices, nonetheless, is the discovering that greater than a 3rd of nonprofits reported that their funders both don’t have any commitments to advancing racial fairness or have lowered or ended mentioned commitments within the final 12 months. Whereas we are able to’t draw definitive conclusions primarily based on this information, this discovering speaks to concern many within the sector have expressed a few backsliding of commitments to racial fairness practices in philanthropy.

Nonprofit leaders level to the significance of funders persevering with to mirror and maintain optimistic modifications. As one chief put it, “We desperately want normal working funds centered on sustainability and having the ability to construct an infrastructure that can enable our group to … put money into wellness for our workers, who’ve been working tirelessly to unravel disaster after disaster because the pandemic.”

CEP will return with a 3rd annual State of Nonprofits in 2025, taking the heart beat as soon as once more of nonprofit leaders throughout america on these and different necessary subjects. We hope to proceed amplifying the experiences of nonprofit organizations for the person and institutional donors who’re so important to their work — and in so doing, start illuminating longer-term developments within the nonprofit sector.

Christina Im is a senior analyst, Analysis, at CEP and Seara Grundhoefer is an analyst, Analysis, at CEP.

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