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Nonprofits Not Out of the Woods Yet

The good news from the 2010 Fenton Forecast: Leadership and Effectiveness Among Nonprofits* is that 80% of the respondents to this annual survey have a postive view of the performance of nonprofit organizations.

The bad news is that nearly two-thirds of survey respondents report they plan to either reduce their giving or keep it the same as last year. This is on top of already reduced giving levels for 2008 and 2009.

Donors seems to be quite cautious about their charitable giving for the moment and into the near future. Giving will decrease or remain static for 2010, even among those with higher incomes.

Among those donors who plan to decrease giving, 56% say they will cut their donations by 23% or more. Even older Americans, ages 50 and older, intend to reduce their giving the most.

The survey, according to Fenton’s press release, revealed how nonprofits can best communicate news and information about their issues. When asked which sources of information they deem the most credible, respondents ranked traditional news outlets the highest. Social media sites like Facebook ranked near the bottom for credibility. This held true with both younger and older audiences. Yet when asked how they themselves choose to share their opinions on the causes they care about, respondents ranked Facebook as their number one method.

The study reveals that the number one way people assess whether or not a nonprofit is doing a good job is by how well they manage their donated funds. People want to know that the money is being spent on programs which further the organization’s mission. In addition, the public is looking for nonprofits to provide fact-based and objective information about the issues they champion.

Survey respondents were asked to rank the performance of 50 well-known nonprofits based on their effectiveness and leadership qualities. These were the top ten organizations, ranked as “extremely” or “very effective”:

  1. (tie) American Diabetes Association
  2. (tie) Special Olympics
  3. American Red Cross
  4. Habitat for Humanity
  5. Make-A-Wish Foundation
  6. American Heart Association
  7. Susan G. Komen Foundation
  8. ASPCA
  9. American Cancer Society
  10. Humane Society

Complete survey results are available here.

*Fenton is a leading communications firm specializing in social justice issues and nonprofits.

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Nonprofits Not Out of the Woods Yet originally appeared on About.com Nonprofit Charitable Orgs on Friday, May 21st, 2010 at 12:00:13.

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