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VOL. 129 | NO. 68 | Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Conference to Present Power of Networks

By Don Wade

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The Mid-South nonprofit community is doing better than it was during the throes of the recession. And there is a report on the 2013 fiscal year as proof that things are better than they once were.

But in the nonprofit world, there is always a need to do more and to expand resources as far as possible. So, when the Alliance for Nonprofit Excellence holds its ninth annual conference on May 1 at Temple Israel, the keynote speaker will be an expert on grantmaking.

Anasuya Sengupta is the senior director of grantmaking at the Wikimedia Foundation and will speak on “Leadership in a Networked World.”

The theme of the conference is “The Dynamic Power of Networks.”

“Things are a little better, but nonprofits are still struggling.”

–Nancy McGee
CEO, Alliance for Nonprofit Excellence

“What we all need to keep in mind is we’re not trying to work in silos,” said Nancy McGee, CEO of the Alliance for Nonprofit Excellence. “You can take limited resources and stretch them even further.”

In partnership with the University of Memphis Institute for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership, the Alliance for Nonprofit Excellence conducted a study “Inside the Mid-South Nonprofit Sector.” Among other things, the study found that 75 percent of respondents experienced increased demands for their services in 2013.

The good news is that 58 percent of the respondents reported they were able to meet the increased demand for services. And in terms of financial health, 48 percent had an operating surplus in fiscal year 2013, up from 35 percent a year prior. However, only 32 percent of small organizations reported a surplus.

Also, nearly 75 percent said their cost of doing business increased in fiscal year 2013, up from 63 percent the previous year.

“Things are a little better,” McGee said, “but nonprofits are still struggling.”

In terms of fundraising, the study found half of the respondents said they had an increase in fiscal year 2013 and 32 percent reported the results were roughly the same as fiscal year 2012.

All of this, McGee says, ties into the need for nonprofits to work together where possible and the importance of networking – be that through word of mouth, social media or by attending events such as the May 1 conference.

“Any kind of network can have a great impact,” she said.

The Mid-South nonprofit community is huge, encompassing almost 5,200 nonprofit organizations (outside of churches) in a 38-county area in Western Tennessee, Northern Mississippi and Eastern Arkansas. According to the study, they have combined assets of nearly $14 billion.

Nonprofits in the five-county metro area employ more than 43,000 people with a payroll of nearly $1.7 billion. And some 259,200 volunteers provide 29 million hours of service each year at a value of $620 million.

For more information or to register for the conference ($120 for members, $160 for nonmembers or walk-up registrations), go to www.npexcellence.org/conference.php.

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