OTTAWA COUNTY – Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the level of need for local nonprofits has increased – and leaders are feeling burnt out.
That’s according to the Lakeshore Nonprofit Alliance’s 2022 Community Assessment, a three-year study of demographics, talent recruitment, board practices, finances, fundraising and internal operations. The report was first compiled in 2019.
For this year’s assessment, released in early September, a total of 95 Ottawa County nonprofits responded, a response rate of 67%, up from 57% in 2019.
In their responses, nearly 30% of nonprofit leaders said they plan to leave their position in the next three years, a significant increase from 17% in the post-COVID era.
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The same number, 30%, of executive directors reported feelings of exhaustion or lack of energy related to their work – and 48% of executive directors felt that their staff had similar feelings.
A full 74% of organizations reported a significant increase in demand for programs and services over the previous year. Of these organizations, only 65% were able to respond to this request.
This is not necessarily due to low funding. A majority, 63%, of nonprofits said donations had increased. But the number of donors, in turn, has declined – with the median number of individuals/entities giving to an organization per year at 213, down significantly from 300 in 2019.
In other words, fewer people give more.
Annual income was less than $100,000 for 10% of respondents, between $100,000 and $500,000 for 29%, between $500,000 and $2 million for 34%, between $2 and $5 million for 12% and above $5 million for 15%.
Nonprofits in Ottawa County most often focus on social services (28%) – but housing and shelter; education; arts, culture and human sciences; religion; youth development; and the public and societal benefits are between 7 and 9% each. Mental health and crisis intervention and health care come in last, at 6% each.
Organizations have made diversification gains over the past three years. Eighty-four percent of board members are white, down three percent from 2019. Forty-seven percent of organizations have boards made up of all white members. Fifty-one percent of board members identify as women, up from 47% in 2019. Sixty-five percent of employees also identify as women.
And board members continue to be actively involved in their organization, with 74% making regular personal financial contributions.
According to LNA Executive Director Patrick Cisler, it’s “rare for a community our size to have this kind of localized data and it’s a true testament to the drive of local nonprofits to continually improve. “.
— Contact journalist Cassandra Lybrink email@example.com. Follow her on Instagram@BizHolland.