Comparing Nonprofits

The results of the Fifth Annual Central Florida Public Charities Survey are in.

How does your nonprofit measure up?

Where does your nonprofit stand? The answer may be found in the Fifth Annual Central Florida Public Charities Survey released recently by public accounting firm Cross, Fernandez & Riley LLP (C/F/R) in partnership with the Central Florida Foundation.  Respondents represented organizations from all of the classified charity service categories. Of the organizations polled, 40.4 percent reported annual revenues of less than $1 million, and 28.8 percent reported annual revenues of more than $10 million.

Human Resources and Governance

Most nonprofits rely on volunteers, with few paid staff members on their roster. Despite this, according to the Central Florida Foundation — a public grant-making foundation that serves as the philanthropic home for more than 400 charitable funds — the nonprofit sector is the fourth-largest employer in Florida. 

The top issues regarding employee satisfaction continue to be compensation, benefits and communication. Last year, 67.3 percent of full-time employees reported a salary increase, with nearly half seeing an increase between 3 and 4 percent. The majority of charities cite cost as their main determinant when it comes to the level of health care provided, although 78 percent plan to continue their current coverage under health-care reform changes.

A large number of respondents also revealed their organizations are lacking leadership positions, including a chief financial officer (42.6 percent), chief operating officer (66.7 percent), human resource director (72.9 percent) or development/fundraising director (53.1 percent). With these key roles left unfilled, board members are instrumental in the decision-making process for the charities they serve.

While consistency is invaluable for a nonprofit board, many see members come and go. On average, Central Florida nonprofits have nine board members and 80 percent have term limits for members.  Board members are typically limited to two terms, with each term lasting three years. With this turnover, finding board members who are committed and meet the necessary qualifications is key. However, only 39 percent of boards in
the region have board-selection criteria in writing. 

Development and Strategic Planning

Last year’s survey results showed an increase in donations from Millenials and Generation Xers, largely in part to fundraising through e-philanthropy (online). While social media and Internet donations remain excellent outlets to use, overall age demographics are also working in the nonprofit community’s favor. The number of Americans age 65-plus is expected to increase by nearly 80 percent between 2010 and 2030, which is good news considering older people and their estates generate a significant portion of the donor base for many charities. 

Volunteerism and fundraising are also on the rise. Half of respondents reported a boost in volunteer involvement. The top two areas of growth in fundraising were contributions from individuals and corporations, with 66.7 percent reporting an increase in individual contributions and 35.7 percent reporting an increase in corporate contributions. 

Of course, with positive opportunities come obstacles. The top three obstacles for the 2013 respondents were cutbacks in funding/drops in revenue, attracting quality leadership/board members and rising costs. The majority of organizations plan to expand within the next two years; however, the decision on program offerings was split, with 40 percent reporting they would introduce new programs to current offerings and 38 percent reporting they wouldn’t alter their current programs. 

A Snapshot of the Community

According to a study by the Giving USA Foundation, 2013 was the third consecutive year of rising donations since the financial crisis in 2008 and, if this trend continues, contributions will reach pre-recession levels by 2018. Cross, Fernandez & Riley’s survey results mirrored this projection, as 60 percent of respondents reported an increase in revenue. Local organizations are still facing challenges, but Central Florida nonprofits are finally recovering losses suffered during the recession.

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This article was printed as “Nonprofits: Dare to Compare.”