Nonprofit Leaders Say Increased Donor Demand for Evidence of Impact Makes It Hard to Raise Money

Most Nonprofit Leaders Will Change Measurement Approaches over Next Three Years to Better Meet Donor Expectations, According to Survey by Marks Paneth

NEW YORK--()--A survey of nonprofit leaders puts highlights how demands by donors for reporting on the social returns of their gifts represent a new crucible for nonprofits.

Nearly half of nonprofit leaders and executives (47%) say it’s challenging or extremely challenging to raise funds in an environment where donors have stepped-up expectations for measurements of the social return on their investments (SROI). And a sizable majority – 68% – say their organizations will change their SROI measurement approaches over the next three years in order to meet donors’ expectations.

That’s according to Nonprofit Pulse, a national survey of nonprofit leaders and executives by accounting firm Marks Paneth. It includes the responses of 114 CEOs, executive directors, presidents, CFOs and board members of nonprofits with annual budgets between $10 million and $200 million.

“While the call by donors for more insight into the impact of their giving raises new expectations, nonprofit leaders sit on the same side of the table as their donors and are eager to supply the metrics they are requesting,” says Michael McNee, CPA, Partner-in-Charge of the Nonprofit and Government Group at Marks Paneth.

“In fact, nonprofit leaders exhibit a ‘can-do’ approach to the increasing importance of providing impact results,” he adds.

For instance:

  • Most leaders – 53% – say it is indeed possible to report definitive social return on investment results within a year of a donor’s investment.
  • Nearly two in 10 (19%) say their donor base allows a portion of their gifts to be used to cover the cost of outcome measurement.
  • Only 4% say donors’ expectations when it comes to reporting and demonstrating impact are unreasonable.

To receive a copy of the Nonprofit Pulse and/or to speak with a leader from Marks Paneth’s Nonprofit and Government Group, please contact John McKenna of ICR LLC at 203.682.8252 or


The Nonprofit Pulse: A Leadership Study from Marks Paneth represents the findings of a survey of nonprofit leaders in the United States. The 114 nonprofit sector leaders participating in the research include Board Chairs, Presidents, Executive Directors, Chief Executive Officers, Chief Financial Officers, Treasurers, Chief and are with organizations with annual budgets between $10 million and $200 million.

The research employed self-administered questionnaires completed online by respondents. The national list of professionals surveyed was compiled by Marks Paneth LLP, the research sponsor, and by Michaels Opinion Research. Interviews were completed during the period of July 21 to September 15, 2015.

About Marks Paneth LLP

Marks Paneth LLP is an accounting firm with more than 600 people, including over 80 partners and principals. The firm provides public and private businesses with a full range of auditing, accounting, tax, consulting, trade remediation and valuation services as well as litigation and financial advisory services to domestic and international clients. The firm also specializes in providing tax advisory and consulting for high-net-worth individuals and their families, as well as a wide range of services for international, real estate, hospitality, media, entertainment, nonprofit and government services clients. The firm has a strong track record supporting emerging growth companies, entrepreneurs, business owners and investors as they navigate the business life cycle. The firm's subsidiary, Tailored Technologies, LLC, provides information technology consulting services.

In addition, Marks Paneth’s membership in Morison KSi Ltd., a leading international association for independent business advisers, financial consulting and accounting firms, facilitates service delivery to clients throughout the United States and around the world. Marks Paneth, whose origins date back to 1907, is the 35th largest accounting firm in the nation and the 9th largest in the mid-Atlantic region. In addition, readers of the New York Law Journal rank Marks Paneth as one of the area's top three forensic accounting firms for the fifth year in a row.

Marks Paneth is headquartered in New York City, with additional offices in Washington, DC, New Jersey, Long Island and Westchester. For more information, please visit


John McKenna, 203-682-8252

Release Summary

According to Marks Paneth's Nonprofit Pulse, nonprofit leaders say increased donor demand for evidence of impact makes it hard to raise money.


John McKenna, 203-682-8252