Room for Improvement to Stem Nonprofit Board Turnover, Survey Finds

Room for Improvement to Stem Nonprofit Board Turnover, Survey Finds

Even though board turnover at nonprofit organizations is low at the moment, there's room for improvement, a survey conducted by New York City-based accounting firm Marks Paneth finds.

According to the summer 2017 edition of The Nonprofit Pulse, a national survey of nonprofit leaders and executives that asked respondents to rate their boards on a five-point scale in a variety of categories, boards rated highest in the areas of mission alignment (4.1), organizational oversight (3.7), and financial oversight (3.5). But the survey also found rising levels of pessimism among respondents, with 17 percent of respondents saying they believe conditions will be much more difficult for their organizations over the next year, compared to 11 percent who responded similarly in 2016, and 41 percent saying they expect the next twelve months to be somewhat more difficult, compared to 44 percent who said the same last year.

In addition, more than a third (37 percent) of respondents said they expect to see their organization's fundraising revenues decline over the next twelve months — with leaders of larger organizations tending to be more pessimistic than others — while a slightly lower share (36 percent) said they thought fundraising revenues over the next twelve months would remain flat. At the same time, almost two-thirds (62 percent) of respondents said their organization would see somewhat higher demand for services over the next twelve months.

"With the majority of nonprofit leaders expecting industry conditions to deteriorate in the next twelve months, the role of board members has never been more vital," said Hope Goldstein, co-partner-in-charge of the Marks Paneth Nonprofit, Healthcare & Government Group, which conducted the survey. "The importance of oversight, financial strategies and effective fundraising support cannot be emphasized enough."