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We Were All Ears & We Heard You

by Katie Manter

This year’s member survey was especially important to help us understand how the pandemic is impacting your organizations and how we can help. We are so grateful for the strong participation despite the added challenges of the pandemic – we know how much you’re juggling and appreciate your willingness to carve out time to provide feedback. So, what did we learn?

Five Things That Stood Out in the 2021 Member Survey

  1. Grantmakers received higher marks on this year’s survey. Seventy-five percent of organizations reported Maine grantmakers have empowering practices (compared to 65% last year). Many organizations named government relief and increased grant funding and flexibility as key factors in mitigating challenges of the pandemic so far.
  2. Nonprofits are worried about the future. More than half of responding organizations anticipate ongoing challenges in 2021: service disruption, demand for new and existing services, lost revenue, and increased costs. In fact, 15 percent of responding organizations reported they were at some risk of permanent closure. Many organizations expressed concerns for their organizations’ future without additional government and philanthropic support and ongoing flexibility with funding.
  3. Interest in support and training around equity, diversity, and inclusion continues to grow. Fifty-one percent of organizations expressed interest, up from 41 percent last year.
  4. Board development still remains a top concern. Forty-four percent of respondents listed board development as their top challenge.
  5. Remote work is here to stay. Almost three in four members expect remote work to some extent to continue beyond the pandemic.

What We’re Working On

Our member survey informs all areas of our work – making sure we are offing the training, resources, and benefits most relevant to your needs. Here are a few things we are working on that we are particularly excited about (and stay tuned, we have more initiatives in the works):

  • We continue to have your back: While we wish we could eliminate the uncertainty, we are committed to continuing to voice the needs of the sector to policymakers and philanthropy, while getting you up-to-date information to help your organization continue to adapt (keep an eye on our COVID resource pages with the up-to-date information and resources on reopening).
  • We are continuing to prioritize accessibility and affordability: We continue to offer dues flexibility, free and pay-what-you-can programs and services, and scholarships through the Access Fund to MANP events to ensure all people with purpose can tap into this network.
  • We are expanding our governance training and support: Check out our new webpage that highlights all of our board development resources through our Get on Board Initiative. Our upcoming events calendar includes some great offerings for boards (such as our flagship Board Roles + Responsibilities), plus members have free access to the wide range of board related videos in our webinar library. Stay tuned – we also have some exciting pilot programs in the works around board matching and governance coaching sessions.
  • We are continuing to learn and act alongside you to create more just and equitable organizations: We are investing resources and time to deeply examine, unlearn and reconstruct systems and cultures within our own organization that disproportionately benefit certain groups over others. At the same time, we are enhancing and expanding an extensive collection of resources on equity, diversity and inclusion in our free online Answer Center, championing equitable compensation practices by continuing to require salary and wages on our Job Board, and partnering with colleagues across the country to offer learning opportunities to our network on topics of equity, diversity, inclusion, including race and racism in the nonprofit sector, to support our members as they undertake their own learning and development.
  • We are offering more professional development opportunities to keep remote staff engaged: We have so many exciting virtual programs in the works! We are continuing to partner with other state associations to expand the variety of our programming, exploring on demand + “bite-size” learning opportunities, and continuing to expand our offerings of self-paced, on demand learning through our partnership with MindEdge.
  • We are facilitating virtual connections: We are continuing our free MANP Connect series every other Friday (we love connecting with hundreds of nonprofit champions across the state!) and we are exploring other ways to connect members through tools, such as listservs.

These are just a few takeaways from the survey and highlights of our workplan but by no means capture all of the insights and specifics of our work. We love to hear from members and welcome and encourage all feedback and ideas through the year- please reach out at membersupport@nonprofitmaine.org!

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