The economic recovery continues to hit all industries, and nonprofits are no exception. So far, nonprofit revenue appears to be higher in 2015 than it was in 2014, and nonprofit industry professionals remain optimistic regarding people's continuous gift-giving and volunteer efforts in 2015.
A survey conducted by Capital One Bank polled 130 nonprofit industry professionals in the Washington area attending a symposium of certified public accountants. As many as 77 percent of respondents expect growth and more nonprofit revenue in 2015. The number is up 1 percent from the same survey in 2014. Up to 63 percent say their nonprofits have improved financial health in 2015 over 2014, which is up from 57 percent of respondents who made this claim in last year's survey.
Perhaps, the most important barometer comes from the expectations of launching a capital campaign in 2015. Nonprofit revenue depends on pushes to get money from donors. As such, one in five industry professionals feel like 2015 is a good year to start major fundraising programs.
With this added nonprofit revenue, a large percentage of agencies plan to spend money on technology. Nearly one-third of respondents said they consider 2015 to be a good year to upgrade hardware and software. Of these, 29 percent want to move to cloud computing, while 25 percent plan to upgrade their website. Up to 17 percent of organizations plan to invest in ways to engage donors, and 28 percent already use analytics software to compile data.
Higher nonprofit revenue brings more expenses, more spending and more tax questions. Accountants that already have high-profile clients should consider adding groups and organizations that can benefit from a professional accountant. This does not have to be pro bono work, as nonprofit groups may be able to hire accounting firms and get a tax break. However, discounted services to agencies save clients money and give accounting firms new perspectives about what high-paying clients bring to a company. Volunteering the firm's resources creates greater visibility for the organization and for the accountants.
For individual accountants, volunteering time to nonprofit groups can be a resume builder that gets them noticed by a larger firm. An accountant may even start his own nonprofit as a way to show prospective employers and clients that he has what it takes to get the job done. All things being equal against another job candidate, time with a nonprofit agency may be the deciding factor for long-term employment or a raise.
Nonprofit groups see a way to invest money, and financial professionals can offer help in this regard. Nonprofit professionals believe competition will pick up in 2015, and financial institutions can lead agencies towards a model of sustainable growth.
Nonprofits represent a key part of communities, as they help enrich the lives of the people they serve. When nonprofit revenue grows due to an improved economy, everyone wins with better services and more viable outreach. Accountants should be a part of this cycle of prosperity.
Photo courtesy of Benjamin Sperandio at Flickr.com