Yesterday I attended the Phoenix Business Journal’s Nonprofit Business Summit. Our opening speaker reminded us of the economic challenges nonprofit organizations face in Arizona. While demand for nonprofit services are up 25%, donations are down 22%. This is a disconnect. As well, University of Arizona economist Marshall Vest indicated yesterday that Arizona’s recession is technically over, yet we continue to feel its effects, to say the least.
Where individual donations are down, foundations’ endowments have shrunk as well. Judy Mohraz, President and CEO of Piper Charitable Trusts in Phoenix, compared foundation funding to a two-story house standing next to the government funding height of an urban skyscraper. Robert Ashcraft of the ASU Lodestar Center echoed her analogy and reminded us of the notable and important role of government in funding programs. In this sense, the programs that nonprofits provide cannot occur without community collaboration between government, foundations, and individuals.
It is during this crucial time when organizations are being asked more than ever to measure their outcomes, provide evidence of effectively changing social conditions, and measuring their capacity, capital, and what matters.