2 Reports You Should Read

March 14, 2023

By Maryfrances Porter

In the last couple of weeks, two reports have come out about the needs of the nonprofit sector. The first was from a consulting group (OneCause – I don’t know them), and the other was from the Center for Nonprofit Excellence here in Charlottesville (CNE: I *love* them).

OneCause collected surveys from almost 1000 nonprofits across the country at the end of 2022. The CNE collected surveys from about 250 nonprofits across Virginia. [If your in the Spring ImpactStory Academy, you’ve already heard this!]

TIP: When trying to understand data like this, you want to see if the two sets of data tell the same story or different stories – if data from one report reflects the data from another report, that helps build your case those findings are real and common across groups of people.

In this case, while the specific questions are different, the two reports tell at least one similar story: Most nonprofits do not have what they need to tell impact stories. 

And, honestly, why would they know how to do this? That’s not why most nonprofit leaders went into this work! I’m trained as a clinician and researcher – I know nothing about marketing and being an entrepreneur; but here I am too!  We all have things to learn so we can make the difference we value in the world.

Here’s the Story

OneCause found while 92% of nonprofits had at least some data, 72% needed support making it actionable. Additionally, nonprofits with budgets less than $5M have the hardest time meeting their fundraising goals.

The Center for Nonprofit Excellence found 80% of nonprofits felt evaluation was a priority, but only 18% felt this was a strength of theirs. The CNE suggests that nonprofits and funders focus resources on build evaluation systems that allow nonprofits to continuously learn and grow by adjusting programs based on what they learn (aka Actionable Measurement!).

When I was making a presentation last week, one of the nonprofit leaders in the group said “I’m realizing I’m not the only one not getting it right. It’s clearly a problem that smaller nonprofits have this issue. Just hearing this is validating.”


This is the data you can use to make your case for funding sustainable data systems.

One More Point

I just found a study conducted by the Stanford Social Innovation Review from back in 2018. When they asked sector leader why they didn’t collect data, 65% of the responses pointed at limited time and/or resources, and another 10% said it was too complicated.

My Part of the Solution

Over the next several weeks, I’m going to send out newsletters with tips and tricks for straightforwardly collecting and using actionable data. Stay tuned!

Learn more in the ImpactStory Academy!

Partnerships for Strategic Impact

At Partnerships for Strategic Impact®, I have all the tools to build out the structures and strategies you need for collecting actionable impact data; I train staff in how to use them, analyze data, and make action steps for change; I teach you to tell powerful impact stories. My goal is your sustainability: I provide just the right amount of coaching and ongoing support to ensure success.

This is within reach. It’s not harder than managing your budget. Plus, you, your funders, and the people you serve deserve to know more about the value your organization delivers.

If you’re reading this, then you’re already part of my network. Schedule some time on my calendar. There’s no sales pitch and no obligation. Just curiosity and answering your questions. I am the seasoned program-evaluation, program-development, data-storytelling consultants you need, right in your back pocket. I am here to bring order to the process of figuring out how to track and use your impact story.

– Maryfrances

Your ImpactStory™ Coach

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