Over the past twenty years, the nonprofit playing field has changed considerably. Significant technology improvements have started to strategically shape the nonprofit sectors need for greater system improvements, technological networks and programs that meet the need of modern development practices, and keeping up with the for-profit resourceful analytics, evaluation measurements, and the ever present flaunting of technological innovations used to measure impact.
Boards overall in almost all sectors of the nonprofit landscape list technology operations and one of the top four areas of needed evolution and refinement for large and medium sized organizations. This can also be seen reflected in the types of new roles that are being created in the nonprofit sector. Over the past ten years, even during the most recent recession while the for-profit sector was declining, the nonprofit sector rose by 5%.
Out of the new growth of jobs nationally, the greatest growth area has been in the operational side of analytics, systems, and positions that include technology innovation. New titles have started to pop up such as Director of Innovation (a popular new title seen being used from foundations to social services) and a great rise in the creation of Vice President level (or COO) positions with a focus on system organizational improvement, process improvement and impact measurement.
This change has both been driven from the desires of large donors/foundations, and as well the need for nonprofits to better quantify impact to gain a fundraising edge in the competitive field of nonprofit creation and growth.
According to nonprofithub.org, nonprofit sector growth has increased over 17% in the last decade, but unfortunately, donating haven’t kept pace. Thus, increasing competition for a diminished pool of donor dollars, and the growing need to learn how to effectively market nonprofits continues to rise. For this reason, and the simple fact that Foundations are all about being able to measure the impact of their investments and donations has many nonprofit reaching for better systems, infrastructure and strategic design in their employee makeup to better measure their own success. Coupled with a tech sector filled with new millionaires and national nonprofits boards desperately wanting to reach younger potential donors to cultivate, and trying to add startup members has added more of an openness to hiring corporate talent in key nonprofit positions. Ten years ago even, the makeup of nonprofit had significantly less corporate cross over candidates than current day. This overall trend and paradigm shift has opened new doors for socially mission minded corporate talent seeking entry into nonprofits.
Ask almost any local or national nonprofit board if they would be interested in startup / corporate background candidates to apply to be part of their board if they were passionate about their mission, and most rank this profile as the top of the list. Baby-boomers are retiring on a daily basis, and more and more organizations are targeting to fill their open roles with connected experts that can both leverage better operations and drive technology. According to a recent National Employment Practices Survey, the nonprofit sector is the third largest sector in the U.S. in terms of number of people employed and employs over 10.7 million people. The sector is growing at a strong pace, and more and more competition is driving organizations that cannot keep up with technological innovation only have a matter of time left, before they restructure, redefine their mission or close their doors. Don’t be one of them.
Nonprofit Editorial by Isaac Schild.