You Speak, We Listen

Leslie Crisostomo-Morales, Nonprofit Services Assistant, North Carolina Center for Nonprofits

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During the months of October and November, the North Carolina Center for Nonprofits conducted our 2021 Annual Survey. During that time, 325 respondents answered questions about their experience with member benefits, programs, and services, and nonprofit management and learning needs. Nonprofit members and non-members alike participated in the survey and provided feedback. We carefully reviewed the survey findings to help us improve our current capacity-building programs and services, as well as to prepare for future offerings.
Here are some of the findings from our annual survey.

Most Valued Resources, Programs, and Services

We provide a variety of information and services to member and nonmember nonprofits alike. Through the survey, we learned how our members regard their benefits, which ones they value the most, and those that may need improvement. We also got comments on the publications and newsletters we offer to learn about which are more valuable to recipients and where we might make changes.

  • According to the respondents, the most valuable programs or services available to members and nonmembers are our Nonprofit Policy Briefings and Advocacy Tools. We continue to plan future Nonprofit Policy Briefings (2022 briefings begin in March) and hope to be able to hold some in-person when COVID-19 cases decrease.
  • Of those programs or services available solely to members, the most valuable was Member Assistance and the discounted rates to attend webinars, workshops, and our annual conference. If you are not familiar with our other programs, check out the full list of member benefits and take advantage of them.
  • Among the mentioned resources, the weekly Nonprofit Policy Update newsletter was the most highly regarded, followed by the Principles & Practices guidebook and the Legal Compliance Checklist (newly updated for 2022). Sign up for updates and to receive our other newsletters, Nonprofit Connections, and Professional Development.

Top Three Management Areas to Improve

The Center works to strengthen the capacity of nonprofits in North Carolina by educating, connecting, and advocating for them. Through the survey, we were able to identify the management areas of need that will guide our planning for future workshop and webinar topics. We learned that the top three management areas of need for nonprofits are fundraising, strategic planning, and communications and marketing. 

  • Because many nonprofits rely on donors, fundraising is a crucial element of nonprofit work. While we do not grant funding directly, we host webinars (see our Events Calendar) and provide resources, articles, and toolkits (see Information Central) on many aspects of fundraising. Through our money-saving partnerships, member nonprofits can connect with firms that offer exclusive services and discounts to help with organizational needs like fundraising.
  • Our Business Finder directory for both members and nonmembers provides listings of businesses and consultants who offer services to nonprofit organizations, including some who may assist with strategic planning, and communication and marketing goals.
  • With the help of Triangle Capacity Building Network, we recently developed a Free Resources webpage in an effort to expand accessibility. These materials, organized by the 12 principles in Principles and Practices: Best Practices for North Carolina Nonprofits, include tools on fundraising, strategic planning, communications, and more.

We appreciate your use of our services and resources, and we appreciate you taking the time to complete our annual survey. Your responses and comments not only give us a sense of how much our programs and services are valued, but they also help us explore ideas to develop our services and improve your experience. As we go forward with our program planning, we will continue to consider your suggestions and organizational needs.

We hope you will participate in the next annual survey this fall, and if you are thinking about developing your own survey or evaluation, we recommend reading 5 Tips & Tricks for Gathering Meaningful Data to Drive Improvement.

If you have any questions about the survey or additional comments, please contact me at

Leslie Crisostomo-Morales joined the North Carolina Center for Nonprofits staff full-time in 2021. Previously, she served as a Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation intern with the Center and assisted in developing and implementing an educational and capacity building program in nonprofit management. She graduated from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill with a degree in public policy and global studies.