ASU Lodestar Center Blog

Current nonprofit sector research and recommendations for effective day-to-day practice from ASU faculty, staff, students, and the nonprofit and philanthropic community.

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Alexandra Oropeza

posted by
Alexandra Oropeza
Spring 2020 Alumna, ASU Master of Nonprofit Leadership & Management

According to 2019 research by Meredith Kavanagh, nonprofit leaders believe that some of the top investment priorities for their organizations that year were more advanced technology (e.g. CRM system, online fundraising platform, etc.) and a stronger focus on online fundraising. However, according to Yale Insights, when it comes to nonprofits, only 11% view their organizations’ approaches to digital as highly effective.

According to Mark Hrywna, mobility is among the top drivers and benefits of the cloud. Mobility is huge, enabling a mobile workforce with nonprofits having people in the field, and collecting data and interacting with the data and apps anywhere. That is going to be one of the greatest benefits to nonprofits that they do not yet realize: the ability to mobilize using the cloud.

Clearly there is a gap between what nonprofit organizations identify as priorities and how they rate their effectiveness with technology. Technology can be used for a variety of tasks across organizations to help them increase their impact in the sector and the communities that they serve. The Chronicle of Philanthropy states, “The nonprofit sector has not yet figured out how to navigate these thousands of new tools. But it should, because they’re incredibly powerful. They can nudge up your ability to get stuff done. Someone can make a 10 or 20 percent improvement in productivity, and when you start to add those numbers up, they really matter.”

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Sara Ebert

posted by
Sara Ebert
Spring 2020 Alumna, ASU Master of Nonprofit Leadership & Management

For decades, the perception of executive pay at nonprofit organizations has been the image of a grossly underpaid executive director OR a scandalously overpaid CEO. But as the social sector matures, becomes more professional and finds meaningful ways to measure success, executive compensation is developing a new image. With the influence of engaged boards and thoughtful hiring and retention practices, nonprofits are poised to offer more competitive and attractive compensation packages than ever before.

Historically, executives at America’s nonprofits have felt pressure to take a nonprofit discount in pay in exchange for the psychic benefit of charity work. But is virtue truly its own reward? Does it compensate for lower compensation? As the line between sectors blurs, nonprofits compete more and more in the marketplace for top talent. Unlike the for-profit sector with their bottom-line focus on profits, nonprofits have a double bottom line that requires them to view all decisions (including hiring and executive compensation) against both a financial bottom line and a socially responsible bottom line. Limited resources, social pressures, and board biases may contribute to lower compensation. Even the IRS plays a role in determining what nonprofits can pay their executives.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020


Illustration by Jocelyn Ruiz

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Illustration by Jocelyn Ruiz

Friday, October 16, 2020


Illustration by Jocelyn Ruiz

Thursday, October 8, 2020


Illustration by Jocelyn Ruiz

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

posted by
Raymond Damm,

Nonprofits in Arizona are facing some terrifying scenarios when it comes to maintaining funding amid COVID-19. News stories continue to report on the loss of revenue to date throughout a variety of sectors, with some reports say as much as nearly $53 million. Nonprofits in Arizona are looking at a potential annual loss of over a quarter of a billion dollars, with over 90 percent of groups reporting a decrease in revenue, three quarters seeing a disruption of services and volunteers pulling back on their commitments. According to the ASU Lodestar Center, only 5 percent of nonprofits reported normal operations as the pandemic first unfolded.

All of the above points are concerning, and as Kristen Merrifield, the CEO of Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits said, “it is just the tip of the iceberg.” This statement is as foreboding as it is accurate.


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