The ongoing, against-the-odds resiliency of the nonprofit sector in New England and across the country is remarkable to see. But as this study shows, it is a very fragile resiliency. The sector's success and impact continue to rely on unsustainable trends, including: overworked, underpaid leaders and staff; a never-ending fight to balance budgets and build stable organizations; a lack of investment in professional and leadership development and organizational infrastructure; and a continuing struggle to work out the optimal role for nonprofit boards. Nonprofits in New England and across the nation will continue to play a vital part in building stronger communities and a more just and equitable society. But the sector's resiliency is at its outer limit.
As this report sets out to show, it is time to shift how we think about nonprofits in New England and consider what supports they need to succeed. To the extent we do so, we will be able to predict with certainty that New England's nonprofits can remain resilient and effective well into the future -- and can continue to contribute to the vibrancy of our communities, our people and our region.
This report profiles New England's nonprofits and their leaders and recommends three shifts in that will help the sector become more sustainable and healthy.