PMA Consulting, LLC

A message from President Patton McDowell

Patton McDowell

Patton McDowell President - PMA

As another year comes to a close, I am heartened to see so many nonprofit organizations in our region preparing for 2012 with hope and ambition – two conditions that have been in short supply in recent years.

The economic recession has been the one headline that has dominated all areas of our country, from individual households to the largest corporations, and I know nonprofits have often felt caught in the middle. The past year saw the downturn continue to negatively affect public and private support, making the search for contributed income more difficult than ever before.

Through our work with organizations over the past year, it is clear the economy has taken its toll, but we have also found nonprofits striving to find ways to sharpen vision and innovate to meet goals. They understand that the one interminable constant in life is change. How those organizations not only mitigate that change but leverage it to advance their mission is what make them successful despite our uncertain times.

PMA studies the changes affecting nonprofits to identify key trends which inform strategies and tactics for our clients. As you and your organization prepare for 2012, it can be useful to take a look back at some of the headlines affecting the nonprofit community over the past year:

  • Donor Accountability – Now more than ever, donors want to know that their contributions are being used wisely. An organization must revisit mission and vision, making sure that impact is incorporated into fundraising messaging.
  • Community Initiatives – Donors are seeking initiatives that go beyond the basic human needs that have dominated the region over the past few years. In Charlotte, Project L.I.F.T. has encouraged local philanthropists to support a transformational effort to improve educational outcomes in the city’s most fragile communities.
  • Rise of the Capital Campaign – Despite the economy, twice as many organizations announced or are preparing to announce capital campaigns than the prior two years combined. Ambition and vision can only be stalled for so long, and numerous organizations are dusting off strategic plans that were tabled in 2007.
  • New Development Talent – The competition for charitable dollars has forced organizations to consider how best to align staff members for success. PMA has observed a movement toward individuals from the for-profit sector, as well as talented development professionals blocked from advancing at local institutions or from outside the region.
  • Social Media Tipping Point – As evidenced by our own blog, which is completing its first full year of content, new media and social media are not only here to stay, but eclipsing other forms of communication.

Throughout the month, the PMA team will be taking a look back at these trends to help our readers gain perspective as the year winds down. As always, thank you for reading, and we look forward to serving you in 2012.