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Tirelessly Advocating on Behalf of Organizations Who Do Good

By Elizabeth R. Elstien

The Nonprofit Center of Northeast Florida (Nonprofit Center) is all about strengthening the local nonprofit sector. Marketing Director Jayne Evans describes the Nonprofit Center mission as, "Connecting, strengthening, and advocating for local nonprofits, to helping to create a more vibrant Northeast Florida."

While membership based, all area nonprofits benefit from the efforts of the Nonprofit Center. "The Nonprofit Center supports the entire region with vital resources, management guidance, and professional development opportunities that are hard to come by in the nonprofit sector," says Evans. "Many organizations, regardless of size, would be unable to afford these on their own."

Sixty convening groups a year (five each month) on a range of key business topics are hosted by Nonprofit Center staff. Most organizational responsibilities are represented in these meetings, such as CEOs, human resources, financial, development, marketing and communications. "Each of these meetings provides executive and industry insights, plus an opportunity to meet with, and learn from, one's peers," Evans explains.

Every year the Nonprofit Center hosts dozens of workshops and trainings, conferences and summits, often with noted presenters, on subjects such as Developing and Managing Your Board, Fundraising, and Nonprofit Organizational Management The Nonprofit Center has an onsite research library and extensive online resources, including a video Impact Library. The online Job Board allows job seekers to find sector employment opportunities. Organizations can connect with potential board members through Board Bank. The Community Coaches program provides members with an experienced nonprofit executive that provides expertise for a special, short-term project. A monthly e-newsletter keeps members informed on upcoming events, webinars, research and articles of interest.

Other important resources include the ability to connect organizations with donors through the Nonprofit Center crowdfunding website, WeGive.org. Northeast Florida nonprofits and the public have easy access to nonprofit resources and information using TheNonprofitLink.org.

According to the 2015 Nonprofit State of the Sector Report, Northeast Florida has over 1,000 nonprofit organizations. Evans details why area nonprofits are so valuable, "An economic driver, these nonprofits generate $6.8 billion in local revenue and employ 58,000 people with a $2.7 billion collective payroll. Breaking down the 1,022 by financial size it is quickly apparent that charitable organizations come in many sizes, and 76% of them report revenue of $1 million or less, with 66% of all nonprofits reporting $500,000 or less." Beyond their considerable financial contributions, importantly nonprofits are at the heart of our community's quest for progress and improved quality of life."

To help educate the public on the importance of local nonprofits, the Nonprofit Center has developed a sector-wide strategic communications message for nonprofits to enhance their communications, "Local Focus. Lasting Impact"™. A local research study was conducted to understand what and how local donors think about their local nonprofit sector. The results indicated local nonprofits were the most trusted in to solve community programs. Additionally, the results of the study "helps nonprofits strengthen their stories, messages and advocacy efforts," explain Evans. "As part of this campaign, annually nonprofits that demonstrate the highest level of excellence and best practices compete in the annual "Local Focus. Lasting Impact"™ Awards.

Nonprofit organizations are the heart of the community, and everyday they work tirelessly toward improving the quality of life for all. Evans tells us, "The Nonprofit Center is proud to advocate for the local sector and provide the vital resources organizations need to fulfill their missions."

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