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sunsetTalk of the end of the world is certainly trending everywhere—whether you’re a Tweeter, a couch potato, a gossip junkie or just like to have a little fun.

Not long ago—in fact, just last year this time—we embarked on a brand new adventure together that seemed much like the end of the comfortable nonprofit world as we knew it.

We asked you to start sharing some pretty intimate details about your board, your management team, your finances and your programmatic impact in our online tool called The Giving Partner.

Embracing this change—especially when most nonprofit staff and volunteers already had more work than could fit into your average-sized day—was a tough one. But one year after the deadline for the first set of profiles, we have more than 270 organizations that have taken the plunge, sharing their transparency with the world and being even better for it.

Our community is better for it too. We have long needed a source where donors, funders and others can turn to help them make more informed decisions about their giving—and to simply start conversations, have better discussions, and ask better questions of nonprofits that can form the basis for deeper relationships.

Nothing drastic has changed in the world of most nonprofit organizations as a result of this—not yet. But we’re seeing small changes that are moving us along the path of greater professionalism and possibility.

  • New plans and policies are guiding our vision, improving our big picture goals, and formalizing our intentions so that we see beyond the world of our daily operations.
  • The process of answering some of the tough questions on The Giving Partner profile is an excellent way to reach alignment on key messages and the greater impact we’re hoping to achieve in our community.
  • We are learning what the organizational needs of our sector look like, and hopefully, we’re “getting” more of those essential connection points so that we can collectively understand where it makes sense to start new programs, stop programs being well-executed by others, work on back office collaborations, and at the very least, just explore the possibilities together.

The Giving Partner has started to facilitate the connections between nonprofits and donors/funders. We know there’s still a lot for us to do to continue paving that road. We’re working on it.

From my vantage point at the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, I have seen donors making gifts to nonprofits they have been introduced to by The Giving Partner—and they’re still making gifts to the nonprofits they long-supported. On a personal level, our family has become a donor to new organizations.  Despite more than 7 years of work at the Foundation, my perspective has grown enormously with the gifts of knowledge The Giving Partner has imparted. We’re passing that on to you with new resources to build your potential.

As we move forward, The Giving Partner will continue to be an expectation of organizations that want to be visible, competitive, and impactful in their work.

It might be the end of one world, but it’s the beginning of a new one that comes with lots of rewards. Donors want to take deeper dives. We depend on our interconnectedness with each other (people and nonprofits) to make our community as strong as it can be.

We appreciate your trust in us. Now let’s accomplish great things together in 2013.

Happy Holidays!

-Susie Bowie
Director of Nonprofit Strategy
Community Foundation of Sarasota County

Yes, I borrowed the title of this post from REM. Love that song!

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In a blog post from November 26 we talked about the economic impact of nonprofits in our community.  More than $805 million in expected revenue for this fiscal year was reported based on data from just 248 local organizations with published profiles in The Giving Partner at that time.

What about jobs?  Nonprofit positions looked like this:

  • 7,453 full time employees
  • 3,909 part time employees
  • 1,802 contract employees

Naturally, all of these positions and the program, administrative and fundraising work they support are enhanced by an army of volunteers.

It’s tempting to look at national economic fluxes and try to surmise how they trickle down to changes in our local job market. But now we can use data shared in The Giving Partner–as reported by organizations–to more accurately tell us whether job numbers have increased, decreased or stayed the same.

Next year, we’ll take a look at these numbers to see if they are significantly up or down.

What’s your prediction?

-Susie Bowie
Director of Nonprofit Strategy
Community Foundation of Sarasota County

Want more commentary on nonprofits jobs and human resources? Check out Pam Truitt’s post on The Patterson Foundation’s blog: “Nonprofits can turn small into meaningful.”