Nonprofits optimistic about 2013 donations

The majority of nonprofit organizations in Southeastern Wisconsin have recovered from the Great Recession and most expect more donations in 2013 than they received in 2012, according to a recent survey.

The first BizTimes Nonprofit Survey was conducted by a class of advanced journalism students at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. The survey asked the top executives at organizations in the BizTimes Nonprofit Directory to assess their charities’ financial health and document their ongoing needs.

Seventy-nine nonprofit organizations responded to the survey. According to the report, 62 percent say their organizations have recovered from the Great Recession and 71 percent expect to receive more donations in 2013 than in 2012. The percentages of positive responses in the survey surprised many executives in the nonprofit industry.

The resurgence in donations, despite the slow pace of economic growth, reflects Milwaukee’s generosity, according to Mary Lou Young, president and chief executive officer of the United Way of Greater Milwaukee.

The survey also queried nonprofit executives about their need for volunteers, equipment and workspace, and revealed that 92 percent of the organizations collaborate with other nonprofits, not unexpected in an era of doing more with less.

“The survey results illustrate that the nonprofit sector remains resourceful and responsive to community needs, even in times of economic downturn, when the demand for our services grows,” says Amalia Schoone, president of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) Southeastern Wisconsin.

The groundbreaking project was conducted as a service to the community and as a learning experience for students in UWM’s Advanced Reporting class taught by Steve Jagler, BizTimes executive editor.

James Gutierrez, one of the students on the project, notes, “This is the kind of collaborative project that college is all about – especially for journalism majors. It was extremely meaningful to be able to produce such a comprehensive breakdown of Milwaukee’s nonprofits. I’m happy to show off this project on my resume, and I know my classmates feel the same.”

Student Samantha Nash agreed. “This project was a great opportunity to get hands-on reporting experience. My classmates and I developed a valuable understanding of information-gathering techniques and business practices. Cultivating a depth of knowledge on a variety of subjects is essential to success as a journalist, and this project will help considerably when I enter the job market.”

The other student contributors were: Marley Flueger, John Kroeger, Jacob Larsen, Aubree Omachinski, Christine Pedretti, Maxwell Thiesenhusen, Harrison Turner and Kyle Zittel.

To view the entire report, see http://www.pageturnpro.com/BizTimes-Milwaukee/50900-BizTimes-Milwaukees-2013-Nonprofit-Survey/index.html#1.