For Your Reading Pleasure in the New Year: A Nonprofit Miscellany

01/03/2018 9:32 AM | Deleted user

by Brenda Berman 
BB Communications, ACN VP of Marketing

Now that the hustle and bustle of the holidays is over, we tend to settle back into our normal daily rhythms and routines. If one of your resolutions is to keep up on trends that affect your professional life, you may find some intriguing reading material among the following – whether you are a consultant to nonprofits or a nonprofit leader. While not all of these selections are happy-making, I promise they won’t be boring.

1. Hot topics in 2017 to help you plan for what’s ahead in 2018 

From National Council of Nonprofits: VP Jennifer Chandler writes, “While it may be impossible to anticipate fully what 2018 has in store for charitable nonprofits, we think there are important takeaways from some of the hottest topics that surfaced in 2017.”

Among the topics Chandler touches on are changes in charitable giving, budget cuts, sexual harassment and cybersecurity. Though written before the GOP tax legislation was passed by both chambers on December 20, 2017, her article includes this warning: “[With the standard deduction doubled], there is likely to be no tax incentive for 95 percent of the population to make a charitable donation in 2018.

“Will Americans continue to give at their current (lower than prior years) rate? Or will tax reform result in even more depressed giving rates by individuals, resulting in up to $20 billion in lost charitable giving annually, as estimated by the Tax Policy Center?”

More detailed analysis of the impact of the bill’s provisions on charitable nonprofits can be found in the Council’s Nonprofit Analysis of the Final Tax Bill Proposal.

2. Nonprofit Trends for 2018 and Beyond

From Nonprofit Pro: F. Duke Haddad, executive director of development for The Salvation Army Indiana Division, distills key points from several trend pieces about the future of nonprofits , including an article from Fast Company  that reveals the three top nonprofit jobs for the near future.

3. 12 Demographic & Technology Trends Changing the Nonprofit Sector Worldwide

From Nonprofit Tech for Good: This social and mobile media resource for nonprofit professionals illustrates some startling and powerful global demographic trends, citing sources as diverse as the United Nations Populations Fund, Pew Research Center and its own "2017 Global Trends in Giving Report."

4. 2018 Fundraising Trends: Our Executive Team Looks Ahead  

From Campbell & Company: Top experts at this fundraising consulting and executive search firm– CEO Peter Fissinger and EVPs Julia McGuire and Kate Roosevelt – provide their insights and recommendations for nonprofits in 2018.

5. The House Tax Bill Is Not Very Charitable to Nonprofits  

From Tax Policy Center: Researchers Joseph Rosenberg and Philip Stallworth make some depressing predictions of the effects of the GOP tax bill: “Even though the House version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) preserves the charitable income tax deduction, other income tax provisions of the bill could reduce charitable giving by between $12 billion and $20 billion in 2018 . . . A second provision—repeal of the estate tax—could reduce giving by another $4 billion in the longer run . . .

"By nearly doubling the standard deduction and either repealing or scaling back most itemized deductions, the House version of the TCJA would substantially reduce the number of taxpayers who elect to itemize. TPC estimates that fewer than 13 million taxpayers would itemize deductions in 2018 under the House version of the TCJA, down from more than 46 million under current law.”

6. Why do people give? Not for the tax break

From Crains’ Chicago Business: While not discrediting the potentially crippling impact of the new tax laws on individual giving to nonprofits, reporter Lisa Bertagnoli presents a relatively hopeful outlook on giving by examining what motivates donors, particularly wealthy ones. She finds that belief in the organization’s mission, a desire to make a difference and personal satisfaction are their top reasons for giving.

7. Will 2018 be the year of the nonprofit merger? 

Also from Crains' Bertagnoli: Here she interviews advisers and nonprofit executives to understand the growing trend of nonprofit mergers and partnerships.

8. Is Your Nonprofit Built for Sustained Innovation?

From Stanford’s Social Innovation Review: Recent research shows that while most nonprofit leaders recognize the urgent need to innovate solutions to social problems, few think their organizations are prepared to do so. Writers Nidhi Sahni, Laura Lanzerotti, Amira Bliss and Daniel Pike present a sustainable approach for building innovation capacity within organizations.

9. Models and Components of a Great Nonprofit Dashboard

From Nonprofit Quarterly: According to Hilda H. Polanco and Sarah Walker of the financial management consulting firm FMA, “Nonprofits are complex enterprises. They are built around mission and desired outcomes but must be supported by the right revenue and expense models . . .

"As an organization’s goals, strategy, and operating context shift over time, a dashboard allows a nonprofit to monitor both the effectiveness of this enterprise or business model, as evidenced by the organization’s financial health, and the impact of the programs and services being provided.” 

Polanco and Walker present the process for developing an effective dashboard and show examples based on various business model drivers.

As they say, you can’t know where you’re going if you don’t know where you are.


We would love to hear about your reading recommendations related to nonprofits and nonprofit consulting. Please send them to and we may include them in a future blog post.

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