As 2013 comes to a close, nonprofits across the Charlotte region are gearing up to advance their missions in the new year.  The region’s economy has improved mightily since the depths of recession, and yet many organizations continue to struggle with creating sustainable operations at a time when demand for their services remains high.

Next Stage Consulting may not have the gift of fortune telling, but we’ve peered into the crystal ball nonetheless, and make the following five predictions nonprofits should consider when planning for the year ahead:

  • Continued Confusion on Public Funding – Perhaps the single most important factor for nonprofits in the health and human services sector is the shifting leadership structure in state government.  According to our sources, the future looks grim for nonprofits, as cuts to funding over the last four years may have just been a prologue to what is to come. Key to this will be the 2014 election and its impact on the North Carolina legislature. If voters show that they like what they’ve been seeing, expect to see elected officials emboldened to continue making even deeper cuts to the state budget.
  • Dramatic Increase in Capital Campaigns – It would appear 2014 will be the year of the capital campaign in the Charlotte region, with several high profile campaigns likely to move from quiet phase to public phase. We’ve been calling for this for some time, with so many organizations having had to sit on their ambitious 2008-2009 campaign plans while the recession took its toll. Higher education, secondary education and the area’s hospitals have been largely quiet fundraising-wise over the last few years. If your organization wants to get in on the action, you had better act quickly.
  • The ‘Silver Tsunami’ Becomes A Top Headline – After a year that saw healthcare take center stage in public debate, less has been said about the continued influx of baby boomers entering retirement. In 2013, the issue showed up as turnover at the top of many nonprofit organizations in the area, where Executive Directors who were “holding on for a few more years” as their retirement funds improved began to leave the workforce. But caring for aging boomers (and their parents) is likely to become a more pressing issue in 2014. How can your nonprofit respond to this narrative through your programming (and fund development strategies!)?
  • Shift in Focus from Intervention to Prevention As public funding becomes more hard won, weary philanthropists in Charlotte’s top grant making institutions are seeking systemic change and collective impact. While a focus on meeting the need right in front us will continue, 2014 may be the year that funders in the area band together to advance preventative approaches to poor school performance, health and wellbeing, and basic human needs. How can your organization demonstrate moving the needle in the long term?
  • Uptown Charlotte Comes Alive – 2014 is going to be a big year for Uptown Charlotte, as BB&T Ballpark will open for the Charlotte Knights in the spring and the Charlotte Hornets will once again hit the floorboards at the arena. We predict a sizable influx of young professionals and their families pouring in to the uptown, at a greater rate than in recent years. How will your nonprofit take advantage of this opportunity to engage this hard-to-reach demographic?