Research Publications

Essential Shifts for a Thriving Nonprofit Sector

February 10, 2014

Over the last several years, the literature about the nonprofit sector has been filled with alarming predictions about key trends that would negatively affect the sector’s effectiveness and resiliency in the years to come.

One of the most prevalent predictions was about the imminent departure of baby boomer leaders from the sector. A series of studies starting over a decade ago found that anywhere from 55 to 75 percent of nonprofit leaders said they would leave their positions within five years.1 But then the Great Recession hit and many people remained in their jobs.

Another set of predictions that subsequently were proven false had to do with the sheer number of nonprofit organizations in the United States. As the recession kicked in, observers inside and outside the sector posited that it would lead to a wave of closures and mergers of nonprofits. But guess what? The number of nonprofits has shot up since 2008.2 As of late 2014 there were 73,410 reporting nonprofits in New England, up from 44,688 in 2008. People who see a need and have the wherewithal to start a new nonprofit are still doing it; and some of these new nonprofits are exhibiting high levels of growth, innovation and impact.

Read the full report on Essential Shifts for a Thriving Nonprofit Sector