Written by Tina Law
Today, we are releasing, “Working Towards the Common Good: A Preview of Findings from the 2014 New Mexico Nonprofit Survey.” This brief provides a preview of data gathered from the 2014 New Mexico Nonprofit Survey, an effort that was led by BMP in partnership with many local nonprofits such as Albuquerque Health Care for the Homeless, Inc., Encuentro, Center for Nonprofit Excellence, New Mexico Voices for Children, and Southwest Organizing Project. The survey was distributed to nonprofits throughout the state from October to December 2014, and 233 nonprofits ultimately completed the survey. This survey expanded upon a similar effort the year before that focused on direct service providers.
The nonprofits that took part in the survey are a diverse set of organizations that collectively build and promote the common good in New Mexico. Among some of the interesting findings we came across in analyzing these survey responses, we learned:
- Surveyed organizations reported working on over 35 different issue areas in total, with the top issue areas being education, health, and youth development.
- Funding was identified as a top challenge by direct service, advocacy, and community organizing groups alike.
- More than half of all participating direct service organizations reported having to turn people away from programs and services over the past year.
- The majority of surveyed organizations participated in one or more coalitions over the past year; their reasons for participation ranged from general sharing of information with other organizations to coordination of services to changing existing policies that would be beneficial to local communities.
- More than half of all participating nonprofits—including direct service, advocacy, and community organizing organizations—engaged in advocacy activities over the past year.
Reflecting on the findings shared in the brief, Albuquerque Health Care for the Homeless, Inc. Executive Director Jenny Metzler said, “Sometimes it feels as it the walls are closing in on our sector and that we’re powerless to make a difference. The survey provides real data to inform us about how we could reconfigure and recommit our resources and efforts to work better—together—and for greater social change.” Similarly, Encuentro Executive Director and BMP Project Team Member Andrea Plaza noted, “By dissecting the nonprofit sector in New Mexico, this survey helps to articulate the challenges that community-based organizations face and the impact we are making as we work with very limited resources to address the needs of the state’s families.”
While this brief provides a quick snapshot of the opportunities and challenges that New Mexico nonprofits encountered in their work over the past year, we look forward to releasing a full report in March 2015. The full report will explore the issues that New Mexico nonprofits address, the populations they serve, the ways they collaborate and advocate, and the supports they seek—and how these elements differ among direct, community organizing, and advocacy organizations.
In the meantime, we hope that this brief will provide useful information to nonprofits working towards the common good in New Mexico, as well as to organizations and individuals pursuing similar efforts in other parts of the country.