Changes in the Nonprofit Landscape in 2021

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Changes in the Nonprofit Landscape in 2021

Like it did in every sector, the pandemic changed the way nonprofits function and do business.  As a result of the pandemic, there have been multiple changes in the nonprofit industry. Despite the obstacles in 2020, it is commendable how the nonprofit community adapted to the situation and moved towards the new normal. Many organizations realized the importance of transforming themselves. There was an increase in overall online revenue by 23% over the past year. Transactions completed through mobile devices increased by 50%. In this article, nonprofit industry leaders run us through this year’s major changes and adjustments in the nonprofit industry. 

“One change that not enough nonprofits are confronting is how the pandemic transformed the concept of flexibility in the workplace. We demonstrated clearly that people can work wherever and whenever they want and still deliver on the mission. Yet are organizations really adapting their culture to this new reality? I know we’re all trying to “make it through” these times, but the nonprofits that address the deeper cultural issues are going to be better positioned for success moving forward.”

– Maddie Grant, Co-founder/digital strategist, PROPEL 

“The nonprofit landscape has changed incredibly in 2021 especially in its views concerning remote work, flexible work schedules, and the importance of mental health in the workplace. Many of these changes were initiated by the pandemic, some have been in the works, but all could not have come at a better time. All three of these topics address, both directly and indirectly, issues in our sector concerning equity and inclusion. Although we still have a long way to go, these changes help move nonprofits closer to where they need to be in order to support retention efforts and recruit more into our sector.”

– Ian Adair, Executive Director, Gracepoint Foundation

“The nonprofit sector demonstrated remarkable adaptability and resilience in the face of the pandemic. Making more use of technology to keep people connected and consistent communication with donors were key to that success. Fundraising for nonprofits has evolved immensely. Not surprisingly, online and mobile donations, that were already gaining popularity, saw enormous growth during the pandemic. And, this will continue to be an important fundraising tool. Data and donor management softwares are more relevant in light of the current situation; more donors, more data to manage and maintain. Nonprofits that were nimble and innovative, rose to the to the limitations and challenge of the pandemic. They not only survived but thrived.”

– Patrick Coleman, CEO, GiveCentral

“The pandemic, racial uprising and vitriolic political landscape of the past years has proven that there is no industry more central to the well-being of this country’s people or the fight for intersectional justice than the nonprofit sector. Whether providing food to families laid off due to lockdown, advocating for urgent climate justice policy, or fighting to hold police officers accountable for the murder of unarmed people of color, we not only meet the needs of our country’s most vulnerable people we simultaneously tackle the root causes of their pain and suffering. Nonprofits and their leaders are stepping into that power and that responsibility. They are changing the hierarchical nature of funding relationships to fight for what we deserve, not just what scraps are left over.  The biggest change in the nonprofit landscape in 2021 is that we’ve realized our time is now.”

-Jessica James, Founder & Principal, Jessica James Consulting


From flexibility at the workplace and focus on mental health to higher use of technology and becoming more responsible as organizations, nonprofits have come a long way. Circumstances change from time to time, it is always about resilience and being willing to adapt and adopt. 

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