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Nonprofit Research Studies by BryteBridge

Committed to supporting the Nonprofit Community

The Essential Work of Emerging Nonprofits

Challenges in the First Five Years & the Impact of the Pandemic

BryteBridge’s Essential Work of Emerging Nonprofits Study is the organization’s inaugural report. It is the first in a planned annual series of in-depth analyses that will pinpoint challenges and solutions for sustainability in the nonprofit sector.

More than 1.5 million nonprofit organizations are registered in the United States, contributing 5.6 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). The first five years of a nonprofit’s lifespan are critical to contributing to this growth and setting the stage for success.

Schlesinger Research Group and BryteBridge, a comprehensive nonprofit services organization, launched an investigation into the most prominent challenges facing nonprofits in their first five years. This report also distills key data points about the detrimental impact of COVID-19 on nonprofit business operations.

Survey results revealed four core challenges new nonprofits face: compliance, staffing, financial health, and fundraising.

Core Challenge #1: Compliance

Legal compliance issues are the biggest challenges for emerging nonprofits: 86% of nonprofits reported needing or seeking help in these areas in their first year and 20% cited establishing 501(c)(3) status as a top service needed in the first year of operation.

Core Challenge #2: Staffing

Staffing is a critical issue early in a nonprofit’s existence: 73% of nonprofits report seeking or needing support with volunteer management in their first year. This drops to 36% in later years as organizations build up their teams. On average, 82% of organizations with paid staff had a payroll within the first 2 years of operations.

Core Challenge #3: Financial Health

Fundraising is the predominant concern going forward for 37% of organizations, and the greatest desire for outside help is with revenue-raising activities. Financial health is the most significant indicator of a nonprofit’s success. Nonprofits typically operate with thin margins,3 and 48% of nonprofits do not have plans in place for business continuity.

Core Challenge #4: Fundraising

Sustainable fundraising practices can be difficult for fledgling nonprofits: 59% of nonprofits cited fundraising as the service with which they need the most outside assistance. Raising money when much of the nation is struggling financially, like when the pandemic hit, can be especially daunting. Morgan, founder of Bellingham Rock Camp, didn’t know where to start:

Why BryteBridge Nonprofit Research Studies?

Committed to Helping Nonprofits Start-Up, Survive and Thrive

2020 Inaugural Study

2020 marks our first in a planned annual series of in-depth analyses that will pinpoint challenges and solutions for emerging nonprofits.

Trusted Research

Schlesinger Research Group and BryteBridge conducted an extensive 6-month long research process, including 240 nonprofit leaders from across the country participating online and in person.

COVID-19 Impacts

Our 2020 study shed light on the detrimental impacts COVID-19 had on nonprofit business operations.