Research Round Robin: February 2019

January and February have been especially busy months for new research. We’ve picked several new reports and analyses to feature here that interested us and have broad sector relevance. This month’s set has an astonishing variety of research topics, including data about donors and vehicles for giving, diverse representation in leadership, economic data, and a brand new report on the challenges facing black LGBTQ youth.

Give.org Donor Trust Report

BBB Wise Giving Alliance’s Give.org Donor Trust Report is one we missed from late 2018, but it’s still as relevant now as it was then. The report is based on a survey on donor beliefs, feelings, and behavioral intentions related to charity trust and generosity. The report provides a snapshot of public trust in charities overall, as well as across different service areas. That the report findings demonstrated a need to strengthen public trust in our sector coincides with the premise of an article series on 21st century civil society that IS curated along with Stanford Social Innovation Review last summer. While introducing that series, Dan Cardinali underscored that our sector remains one of the most trusted while trust in institutions broadly speaking is at a critical low. The Give.org Donor Trust Report findings reiterate the importance of both retaining the public trust that charities enjoy, and even strengthening it to ensure our communities continue to thrive.

Social Donor Study

Last October, fundraising software company OneCause undertook a study with Edge Research to better understand the social donor environment. They recently released the results, which are summarized in their Social Donor Study. In Forbes last month, OneCause Senior Vice President of Marketing Karrie Wozniak explains social donation as the kind of charitable giving centered around social occasions and relationships. Because social donors represent a diverse base that cuts across generations, income levels, and gift amounts, Wozniak says they can represent an important funding source that nonprofits should think about cultivating strategically. In her Forbes article, Wozniak maps out three ways nonprofits can improve social donor retention in 2019.

More on the study:
In 2019, Don’t Miss The Opportunity To Engage With Your Social Donors

Art Museum Staff Demographic Survey 2018

Last month, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation released the findings of its 2018 Art Museum Staff Demographic Survey. The survey of more than 30,000 museum employees from 332 institutions was carried out with the Association of Art Museum Directors, the American Alliance of Museums, and research group Ithaka S+R. It’s the second iteration of the comprehensive nationwide survey—the first of which was conducted in 2015. At the time of the first survey, the share of people of color hired at the institutions surveyed was 26 percent. That share increased to 35 percent in 2018. However, the increase mostly came from hires within educational and curatorial departments, a notable detail since the initial study was prompted by speculation that the museum sector had an especially significant underrepresentation problem within leadership roles. That people of color made up 12 percent of senior leaders in museums in 2018 is a small increase from 11 percent in 2015.

More on the survey:
Museums Have Grown More Diverse, New Study Says

2019 Prosperity Now Scorecard

Last month, Prosperity Now released the 2019 iteration of its Prosperity Now Scorecard, a comprehensive annual analysis of financial data from all states and DC. According to the 2019 Scorecard, 40 percent of American households are “liquid asset poor,” which means they don’t have enough in reserves to make ends meet if they miss a paycheck. That figure jumps to 57 percent for households of color. For reference, the overall liquid asset poverty figure was 36.8 percent in the previous year’s analysis. Many Americans experienced or witnessed the impact of liquid asset poverty as recently as the government shutdown, which extended into January and forced many federal workers to turn to public service programs and charities to fill gaps as they went weeks without pay. In addition to the insights with broad relevance, we recommend checking out the extensive state by state data and assessments included in the 2019 Scorecard analysis.

More on the Scorecard:
Millions of Americans Are One Missed Paycheck away from Poverty, Report Says

The Governance Gap

In a report released last month, executive search firm Koya Leadership Partners shared the results of a recent survey on nonprofit leadership diversity. Koya polled 102 of its clients and found that while 90 percent of board members felt leadership diversity was critical to success, less than 50 percent had taken any steps to boost inclusion among their own boards. The percent of survey respondents who were people of color (25 percent) was higher than the sector-wide board average of 16 percent according to BoardSource, but they still expressed a high degree of dissatisfaction with current levels of diversity and inclusion within leadership roles. In addition to the results of the polling, Koya’s report details strategies that nonprofits can use to start working toward their goals for more diverse representation in their leadership.

More on the report:
The people running nonprofits continue to be rich, white, and unsure how to change that

2019 Nonprofit Employment Report

Using quarterly data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics on national employment and wages, researchers determined that by the end of 2016, the nonprofit sector tied with the manufacturing sector as the third largest employer in the United States. The findings are documented in the 2019 Nonprofit Employment Report, an analysis released last month by the Johns Hopkins Center for Civil Society Studies. In addition to ranking among the highest of U.S. sectors in employment and wages paid, the growth of employment in the nonprofit sector has far outpaced that of for-profits (16.7 percent between 2007 and 2016 compared to 4.6 percent in the for-profit sector).

More on the report:
These 4 charts illustrate how valuable nonprofits are to the U.S. economy

Amplifyii: The Next Mile of Impact Investing for INGOs

According to a report published at the end of 2018, more international NGOs (INGOs) have begun to explore impact investing in the past two years. About 78 percent of INGOs surveyed said they were actively involved in impact investing, a 20 percent increase since 2016. Tom Dente, who leads IS member Humentum and is one of the Amplifyii report’s editors, told Devex that the nonprofit sector has a unique base of expertise that can contribute meaningfully to this growing space. While nonprofit boards and leadership are increasingly receptive to impact investing as a mechanism for doing good, nonprofits still have much work ahead in developing “sophistication in how they source opportunities and conduct due diligence” according to Dente.

More on the report:
Nonprofits are carving their own impact investing niche

The 2018 DAF Report

Donor advised funds have been scrutinized virtually since their inception. DAF critics have decried them as a way of allowing the super-wealthy to warehouse resources that should be flowing to provide vital services. In mid-2017, a report by the Institute for Policy Studies suggested that although DAFs account for over $20 billion of total giving to charities, only about 20 percent of that money is getting disbursed. A recent report from the National Philanthropic Trust (NPT) suggests that the trend is starting to shift. While DAFs now account for $110 billion of charitable assets, and 2017 saw record contributions to that growing figure, account holders also redistributed a record $19 billion to nonprofits in 2017. The NPT report on DAFs is the 12th iteration of the annual report. The findings draw from 2013-2017 fiscal year data from more than 1,000 charities. This report also captures that DAFs have seen growth in all key metrics for the eighth consecutive year.

More on the report:
This charitable giving account is booming in popularity (and also avoiding a lot of taxes)

Black & African American LGBTQ Youth Report

This week, the Human Rights Campaign released its latest Black and African American LGBTQ Youth Report. Created in partnership with the University of Connecticut, the report analyzes the responses of 1,600 black and African American LGBTQ youth to questions about their experiences with families, schools, friends, and communities. Among the findings illustrating the challenges these youth face, 90 percent of the respondents reported experiencing racial discrimination at school, nearly 70 percent had been verbally assaulted for their gender or sexual identity, and 77 percent had heard family members saying negative things about LGBTQ people. Only 19 percent of respondents feel like they can be themselves at home. In addition to painting a picture of the many challenges exceptionally marginalized young people face, the report offers measures that parents, counselors, teachers, allies, and policymakers can take to improve outcomes for young LGBTQ individuals of color.

More on the report:
The Human Rights Campaign: Black LGBTQ Youth Feel Depressed and Unsafe

Add Your Voice

The research summaries above are by no means an exhaustive list of the newest information out there to help us better understand the nonprofit landscape. So if we missed a report you think we should know about and share, let us know by leaving a comment!

Types: Blog
Global Topics: Arts, Culture, and Humanities, Data, IS Member, Nonprofit Capital, Race, Equity, and Inclusion, Voices for Good