During a panelist discussion at PCNRC’s Meet the Funders: Focus on Health last month, five representatives from local foundations shed some light on key topics in the nonprofit sector. The topics discussed (sustainability, measurable outcomes, workforce development and retention, and a growing aging population) gave significant insight for some and reinforced principals in others. Here they are in a nutshell.
Developing their mission, strong leadership in the organization, and alternative revenue streams are what makes a nonprofit sustainable. It is more than just money. Funders wanted to see a nonprofit’s diversity of funding streams, collaborating with other like organizations, and strong leadership.
Evaluation and Measurable Outcomes
Evaluation is both qualitative and quantitative. One funder said in health evaluations, qualitative can be hard; however, it can be defined by what was learned. All funders did agree that evaluation is critical and looking for impact. The impact can be measured by the degree, if it is transformational, or even how an organization is growing. One funder mentioned that it is not only reporting the numbers, but telling a story.
Workforce Development and Retention
Funders did not express grave concern for the current state of workforce development and retention. Instead, they offered numerous suggestions to address the issue. Suggestions included: a succession plan, offering internship programs, offering competitive wages (as compared to for-profits), and additional certifications.
There was additional discussion about the challenge to keep benefits to attract a workforce and the next generation of leaders in our community. This large topic will be discussed further in a future PCNRC post, so stay tuned.
Majority of funders indicated that their respective foundations do not have anything in place to address the rising aging population. In part, as one funder said, no grantees has brought up the topic as a need. There was encouragement that if there is a need with this topic, they need to specify as such. A few funders indicated a stronger focus on access to care than general health funding for the aging population.