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Leadership Seen as Top Attribute of Sustainable Nonprofits

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A survey of more than 700 nonprofit organizations identified 10 key characteristics of financially sustainable nonprofits, with leadership topping the list, the Foundation Center reported July 12.

The TCC Group report, The Sustainability Formula: How Nonprofit Organizations Can Thrive in the Emerging Economy, found that other key factors for nonprofit success included strong fundraising/financial management, program staffing and management, clearly articulated and effectively communicated mission and vision statements, strong financial management systems, development and  maintenance of long-term relationships with funders, and a willingness to revise strategic plans and upgrade programs and services.

Of the nonprofits surveyed, 28 percent characterized themselves as financially sustainable, and 30 percent said they faced sustainability challenges.

“Given these results, achieving financial stability is only possible in a sustainable way when viewed holistically as a leadership challenge that must focus on mission, vision, outcomes, and cost-effectiveness,” said Peter York, the TCC Group's senior vice president and director of research. “It is our hope that by providing a context for sustainability, nonprofit organizations will continue to operate and benefit the individuals, families, and communities that depend on their efforts.”

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