Survey: Nonprofit Sector’s Confidence Continues to Recover

New York — July 30

As the darkest days of the economic recession recede, nonprofit organizations continue to rebuild confidence and capacity while retaining a significant share of the U.S. labor force, according to a survey by nonprofit hub Idealist.org.

Currently, 13.5 million workers have been retained into the nonprofit labor force, according to the survey. For the past two years, leading nonprofit hub Idealist.org has surveyed a broad swath of U.S.-based nonprofits to gauge the sector’s health and most pressing concerns.

In its survey of more than 1,000 organizations this summer, Idealist found that:

• Thirty six percent received increased funding this year, up from 19 percent a year ago.
• Forty eight percent are hiring this year, a 6 percent hike from 2011.
• Fifty four percent say they will offer salary increases in 2012, up from 47 percent last year.

Late 2008 through most of 2009 remains the most perilous time period in memory for most nonprofits, and overall confidence has grown slowly but steadily since. Forty six percent of organizations recently reported feeling more optimistic about the year ahead than the year past; only 11 percent feel less optimistic.

Idealist currently reports more than 8,000 nonprofit job openings posted on its site.

To complement the organizational perspective, Idealist also surveyed 3,000 active job seekers. Among the interesting overlaps between the surveys: Thirty percent of job seeker respondents are over age 50, a higher percentage than expected.

With their extensive work and life experience, 40 percent of seekers are eyeing executive positions; however, only about 10 percent of organizations are planning to hire at the executive level this year.

Other such discrepancies exist: Sixty two percent of job seekers are interested in landing a communications position, but only 18 percent of organizations are looking to hire such staff.

There’s positive news regarding hiring, however:

• Eighty one percent of seekers would like to find a job in programs or direct services, and 68 percent of organizations are hiring in those areas.
• Thirty two percent of seekers are interested in fundraising, and 36 percent of organizations need fundraisers.
• Forty eight percent of all nonprofits plan to make new hires in 2012 and 46 percent plan to maintain current staff size.
• Education, human services and advocacy/community building are the top three types of organizations now hiring; education jobs are also highly sought after by seekers.

Source: Idealist