April 15, 2021
Hello Nonprofit Leaders and Supporters, 
My friend and colleague Michael Cherry, the Executive Director of the Spirit Mountain Community Fund asked me to give her a summary of what NAO is seeing within the nonprofit sector so far in 2021. As I started to gather my thoughts, I realized that I’d like to share this information more broadly, so I’ve compiled an overview of identifiable trends that NAO is witnessing across the charitable nonprofit sector throughout Oregon. These trends have emerged organically, through observations, discussions, and interactions across NAO’s programming. What I’ve outlined below is not based on statistically relevant samplings or studies (except for the Blackbaud data), but we are planning to do a repeat of the study we did last June and released in August 2020 looking at the Impacts of COVID-19 on Oregon Charitable Nonprofits

1. Trust in nonprofits is skyrocketing. Individuals, families, and communities that have been heavily impacted by the pandemic and economic hardships are taking notice of who is helping them get through what may be the worst and most challenging times of their lives. Independent Sector, a national membership organization for nonprofits and foundations, released a study last year measuring the amount of trust that communities put in various institutions in society. Their findings show that while the public has faith in the ability of nonprofits to strengthen society, there is a desire for greater transparency in mission and impact from our organizations. Through all the challenges that Oregon has faced in 2020 and 2021, from COVID-19 to the wildfires to confronting racial disparities, NAO has observed a galvanizing of trust and support from Oregonians for charitable nonprofits. This outpouring of support has helped soften the blow of the economic downturn due to increased donations to beloved community organizations.   

2. One of the greatest measures of public trust is the willingness to give. The most extreme impacts of the COVID restrictions and resulting economic downturn have been mostly limited to specific sub-sectors of nonprofits and specific types of business models like arts and culture, earned revenues, etc. Despite the pandemic and record job loss, the stock market didn’t suffer much downturn. Considering stock performance is a big driver in charitable giving, particularly among those of wealth, you’ll see some connection between the relative stability of the stock market and some charitable donations. The Blackbaud’s Charitable Giving Report, which you can get more details about here gives us a national snapshot of data around nonprofit giving. While the findings in this report can’t be queried for individual states or regions, we feel this data generally rings true for what we’re seeing in Oregon through conversations with our members and participants in our trainings. 

Here’s some pieces of the Blackbaud data information that I found particularly notable:

A. Giving in 2020 was up by 2.0% on a year-over-year basis (for the 8,833 nonprofit organizations in the analysis). 2020 was the ninth consecutive year where the Charitable Giving Report has reported an increase in giving.

B. Fundraising by large organizations, with total annual fundraising of more than $10 million, was up 5.3%. 

C. Medium-sized organizations, with total annual fundraising between $1 million and $10 million, had an increase of 1.2% on a year-over-year basis.

D. Small nonprofits, with total annual fundraising less than $1 million, experienced a -7.2% decrease in fundraising results compared to 2019.

E. Fundraising challenges in 2020 clearly impacted smaller nonprofits and is apparent in the three-year as well. Large and medium-sized organizations continued to have a very positive three-year growth trend.

F. While sectors like Human Services grew in their YOY fundraising, Arts and Culture organizations lost -9.5% YOY in their fundraising. (It should be noted this was a trend before COVID. A three-year rolling average shows that Arts and Culture organizations have a 4.1% YOY loss.)  

3. Nonprofits have also had some robust support through government programs within the various Coronavirus Relief packages passed since April 2020. While the implementation of these programs has been bumpy at times, the Economic Injury Disaster Loans and Paycheck Protection Program allowed many nonprofits to keep things running or stay in hiatus. While imperfect, these programs have been a vital lifeline for many organizations that have allowed them to continue to serve their communities as well as raise additional charitable funds. As the Federal government continues to roll-out new programming and send aid directly to programs needed by communities, unfortunately, the Oregon State government is still planning for cuts (not investments) into core programming. Sadly, this strategy will not pay-off by saving money for a “rainy day” and will instead exacerbate the current need for relief. Oregon’s families and communities are feeling this hit and these cuts will further slow our recovery in comparison to other states.  

4. A larger number of organizations are responding to the racial awakening in America and across Oregon. A growing number of nonprofits are thinking about, engaging in, or deepening their work in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI). I know this work is difficult and painful – it often comes with stumbles, missteps, and discomfort, but I’m heartened to see more nonprofits take greater strides in their anti-racism work within their organizations and communities. 

5. NAO has seen an uptick in nonprofits interested in consolidations, closures, fiscal sponsorships, and similar needs. It is to be expected that some organizations will find that their missions can best be served sustainably into the future by combining resources. Sometimes, the safest harbor might include merging operations with another nonprofit or working towards an agreeable acquisition. While this is an important mechanism for continuing programs for the greater good, it should not be entered into lightly by either organization. 

6. Nonprofits are being stretched by the "rubber-band effect" of closing-opening-closing again that has happened as COVID cases spike and Oregon raises or reimposes restrictions. These impacts of responding to these on-again, off-again requirements are very difficult to plan for and have both economic and psychological impacts. Hybrid and flexible models of working are here for at least the remainder of 2021 and likely for years to come. We are hearing that workers are not especially keen to return to work spaces full-time, which places considerable challenges to facility-reliant nonprofits. Our upcoming webinar on May 25 is focused on innovative solutions for managing hybrid work environments that would be helpful for organizations adjusting to these challenges. More information available here.

7. It’s no surprise that nonprofit leaders are exhausted by an extremely hard year – 2020 and the beginning of 2021 has felt like a white-knuckled rollercoaster ride for the entire sector. Management teams are craving stability for their employees and organizations. They have been tapped out by the sheer extent of the challenges and are in need of some breaks in their work. The responsibility of team and self-care is not a new issue, but is heightened now more than ever for nonprofits. The fact is, we should expect to see a continued stress in the system of our teams as they encourage vaccination campaigns, navigate re-openings, and remain flexible to respond to spikes that cause re-imposed restrictions.  

The nonprofit sector in Oregon remains resilient despite the challenges and it is expected that communities across our state will continue to rely on and trust these valuable assets through 2021 and into the years to come.

Stay healthy and be safe,

Jim White
NAO Executive Director
NAO News

NAO hires Kirsten Saladow as Director of Communications and Advancement

We are excited to announce our newest team member, Kirsten Saladow. This week Kirsten began her new role as NAO’s Director of Communications and Advancement – she has already hit the ground running and we are thrilled to have her onboard! Kirsten joins the team with an extensive background in nonprofit fundraising, development, communications, and marketing. Prior to joining the organization, she has served as the Director of Communications at the Portland Institute of Contemporary Art (PICA); Director at Matter Communications; and Principal of HelloKirst Consulting. Welcome, Kirsten! 

NAO’s The Public Space released a new episode!

Today, we are releasing NAO’s latest podcast episode titled, Strengthening Community Resilience. Adam Zimmerman, CEO and President of Craft3, shares the story behind the three-year, $5 million grant JP Morgan Chase awarded to Craft3, the Network for Oregon Affordable Housing, and the Community Housing Fund. He also details how they’ll use the grant to address affordability issues and combat gentrification in North and East Portland and also along the proposed light rail line in Southwest Portland. Click here to begin listening!

Navigating Through the COVID Era – a Survey for Nonprofit Executives
Our friends at Public Interest Management Group (PIMG) are conducting a survey to collect data on how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted you, your team, and your organization. We invite all senior managers of nonprofits to take this 10-minute survey to help illuminate the impacts of the crisis on your organizations. Your responses are confidential. We will be reporting the findings of the Oregon-specific data as compared to national data in a future update. The information will also inform approaches to supporting the nonprofit sector in the year ahead. The deadline to complete this survey is Tuesday, April 20 – Take survey.
At the Federal Level

Shuttered Venue Operators Grant Program

The U.S. Small Business Administration's (SBA) grant program for shuttered arts and culture venues is experiencing some technical difficulties. The SBA has temporarily suspended the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program (SVOG) application portal. SBA is working closely with the portal vendors to reopen as soon as possible. The SVOG allows for a grant of up to $10 million for eligible businesses, including live venue operators, theatrical producers, live performing arts organizations, museums, zoos, aquariums, and theaters. The program opened for applications on Thursday, April 8th. Nonprofits can sign up to receive updates on the grant program. Applicants must be registered in the federal government’s system for award management (SAM.gov) in order to receive a grant. Visit SVOGrant for a link to a video tutorial about getting registered in SAM.gov and more information on the SVOG. The SBA will share advance notice of the time and date before the reopening so all applicants can be prepared and to ensure equitable access. Applicants may continue to register for a new account using the link above.
Upcoming Online Sessions

NAO offers practical, affordable learning and convening programs in a variety of formats, including conferences, resource round-ups, informational sessions and mini-workshops through webinars, and deeper-dive learning through virtual learning cohorts. We have added quite a few new sessions for April and May. Please scroll through and sign-up today!

Convening Opportunity  
South Coast Area Learn at Lunch Series 
Are you on a nonprofit board or staff member in Coos or Curry County looking for practical training and tools to strengthen your organizational leadership skills? Come learn with us at our South Coast Learn at Lunch series! These four, one-hour sessions held each week over the lunch hour, via Zoom, begin April 29 and provide bite-sized training in Board Roles and Responsibilities, Board Recruitment and Retention, Engaging Your Board in Fundraising and Finance Fundamentals. Sessions are provided a la carte, so you can join us for all of them – or what topic you think is most applicable to your work now. Please see the links for more information and we hope to see you there! 

Webinar Sessions

The Future of Fundraising Events in 2021 and Beyond
Tuesday, April 27, 10 – 11 a.m. PT | Presenter: Samantha Swaim, Swaim Strategies
The transition to virtual fundraising has been a year of learning. With every event we dive deeper into understanding what core elements are essential for fundraising events as well as what works uniquely in the virtual format. In this session, we will share the key strategic learnings you to run a successful virtual event. More details and registration information here.
Creating Inclusion for the Visible & Invisible Members of the LGBTQ+ Community
Thursday, April 29, 10 – 11 a.m. PT | Presented by: Kaig Lightner, Quantum Gender LLC
Take a deep dive into the assumptions that we all make as a result of our society's reliance on the gender binary system. If you are interested in developing a greater understanding of ways you and your organization can be more supportive and affirming of transgender and non-binary members of the LGBTQ+ community, this session is for you. More details and registration information here

Building Effective Budgets for Your Nonprofit Organization
Tuesday, May 4, 10 – 11 a.m. PT | Presenter: Todd Kimball, CFO Selections
Explore specific budget building methodologies that work the best and how to achieve a collaborative, well-conceived, and impactful tool for the organization. This webinar session will be especially timely for organizations who have a June 30 fiscal year-end. More details and registration information here.
Different Ways to Present and Communicate Your Financial Statements
Wednesday, May 12, 10 – 11 a.m. PT | Presenter: Erin Zollenkopf, SMJ
Financial statements help you understand the work of a nonprofit; they paint a picture with numbers. See different ways to present financial information to communicate your story and help stakeholders including the board, management, and funders understand the work and the financial picture of your organization. More details and registration information here.
Breaking Down HR Law for Small Nonprofit Employers
Tuesday, May 18, 10 – 11 a.m. PT | Presenter: Christine Frazer, Christine Frazer HR Strategist
Human resource laws can be difficult to grasp. In this session we’ll break down these laws into understandable and actionable items as it relates to nonprofit employers. This hour will be all about asking and answering all those questions you’ve been too afraid to ask. More details and registration information here.
Managing Staff in 2021 - How are Nonprofit Employers Innovating for Success?
Tuesday, May 25, 10 – 11 a.m. PT | Presenter: Christine Frazer, Christine Frazer HR Strategist
With the pandemic carrying into 2021, we’ve had to learn how to manage remote employees, keep staff safe, possibly downsize, all while maintaining a positive work culture. Learn about ways other nonprofits are innovating and breaking barriers to be successful. This course is perfect for nonprofits that have between 1-25 employees. More details and registration information here.
Learning Cohorts
Building a Robust Financial Strategy: Cohort Group for Nonprofit Executive Directors
April 29 through May 27, 8 – 9:15 a.m. PT | Facilitator: Scott Schaffer, PIMG
Are you an executive director wrestling with the financial implications of a year of great uncertainty? Learn how to define and gauge financial performance, address business model challenges, right-size your staff and programs, invest in the people who drive your organization’s success and enhance your financial leadership role. More details and registration information here.

Grantwriting Fundamentals
May 5 through June 2, Noon – 1:15 p.m. PT | Facilitator: Allison Shirk, Spark The Fire Grantwriting Classes
Explore the big picture of writing grants and discuss the detailed nuances of the proposal writing process. In this cohort participants will discover resources for finding grants; develop strategies for gaining visibility and building relationships with grantmakers; and discover what makes the difference between a good proposal and a great one. More details and registration information here.

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Justice Leader Cohort
May 19 through January 19, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. PT | Facilitated by: Capacity Building Partnership (CBP)
Our friends at CBP are offering a virtual nine-month in-depth DEIJ Leader Cohort for executives, directors, and others who have significant decision-making authority around DEIJ in their organizations. Participants will engage in a comprehensive experience that will challenge your mindset, advance your leadership, deepen your DEIJ analysis, and build your leadership to implement and integrate DEIJ into the fabric of your organization. More details and registration information here.

If you have any questions or difficulties registering, contact NAO's Training Program Coordinator at [email protected].
Thank you to the following SUPPORTERS and SPONSORS who are supporting NAO’s online events and communications during these challenging times. Their support is vital in helping NAO to bring much-needed resources and information to Oregon’s nonprofits – thank you.