Friday, June 20, 2008

Hot Topic: Public Confidence of Nonprofit Organizations

Paul Light conducted several studies about the public confidence of US nonprofits. Recently, the San Diego Foundation and the Caster Family Center for Nonprofit Research wanted to find out about public confidence of San Diego nonprofits. Last week we released a report. The Appreciated Sector: Public Confidence in San Diego Nonprofits which is a study of over 1,000 San Diegans. This is important to assess because people's confidence in nonprofits influences their ability to donation and volunteer in the nonprofit sector.

Key things I do want to quote from the study, "San Diegans expressed more confidence in the ability of local nonprofit organizations to spend money wisely than the American public has expressed in national surveys of public confidence"

And, "Persons demonstrating higher levels of nonprofit awareness were nearly three times as likely to express higher levels of confidence in the ability of nonprofit organizations to effectively provide quality services."

To break it down a little more, this study is two fold, it first assessed people's awareness of nonprofits. The study asked people to identify three nonprofits. 71% of San Diegans have moderate to high awareness of nonprofits, 29% have low to no awareness of nonprofits. 60% named nationally affiliated nonprofits, and 40% named locally affiliated nonprofits.

As stated above, higher awareness leads to the higher confidence in nonprofits to provide quality services and spend money wisely. The fact that 25% of San Diegans had little to no confidence in nonprofits' ability to spend money wisely and 14% had little to no confidence in nonprofits' ability to provide quality services shows that the public may think that nonprofits are effective but not efficient.

The suggested solutions for changing the publics perception and confidence of nonprofits is:
  • Nonprofits need to try to educate the public about how we (nonprofits) operate as well as how we spend our funds.
  • This brings up my post about the nonprofit congress and why I think it is important that nonprofits work together to engage in a public awareness campaign.
If you are interested in getting involved in this public awareness campaign or want to find out more information please e-mail me heathercarpenter at nonprofitalternatives dot org.

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