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Community Voices: Nonprofit survey is underway

Philip J. Trocchia



Tyler Fish and Kyra Smith appeared in nonprofit freeFall Theatre's "Dames at Sea." Photo: Matthew McGee.

Welcome to the Catalyst’s Community Voices platform. We’ve curated community leaders and thinkers from all parts of our great city to speak on issues that affect us all. Visit our Community Voices page for more details.

A countywide survey of nonprofits based in, or delivering significant services in Pinellas County is being conducted. The electronic survey, a joint project of the Pinellas Community Foundation, the St. Petersburg Foundation and The University of South Florida Customer Experience Lab, is a follow-up study to the 2018 Nonprofit Assessment, which was undertaken by the Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg and the Nonprofit Leadership Center.

The primary aim of the Pinellas Nonprofit Survey is to find issues among county nonprofits that need the most attention, discuss the results in roundtable meetings, address the issues, and make thoughtful changes to better serve and ultimately improve the lives of Pinellas residents.

The electronic survey instrument is designed to be completed once per organization, ideally by the highest-ranking individual or another staff or board member with depth of experience with the organization.

Several key objectives are driving this initiative. First, by comparing CEOs’ responses to similar questions that were asked in the prior study, the results will capture longitudinal changes on matters important to Pinellas County nonprofits. As examples, we can make comparisons on questions pertaining to issues that are most troublesome for nonprofit leaders, top funding sources, board of directors’ activities, training for volunteers and staff, projected growth of the organizations, collaboration with other nonprofits and stakeholder engagement, among others.

Second, the impact of Covid-19 on nonprofits is being assessed as well. We’re asking questions about how the pandemic affected matters like ability to engage on social media, ensure client awareness of services provided and communicate with donors, among other topics. Further, we’re also gathering new information about how mandated funding restrictions might be affecting the organizations in our study. The information we find may generate data-driven discussions, and ultimately actions, that could strengthen the local nonprofit sector.

Next, our survey results will not only generate comparisons pertaining to questions that were asked in the previous survey, but comparisons pertaining to key issues between nonprofit subsectors as well (for example, Arts & Humanities versus Educational Institutions versus Community Health Services). Nonprofit leaders, staffers, donors and government officials can gain a better feel for issues that are more likely to impact particular types of nonprofits. Uncovering these issues may help prioritize goals and action plans among the various nonprofit subsectors.

Finally, predictive analytics will be used to gauge the relative importance of such variables as reporting requirements, staff retention, employee benefits, donor recruitment and fundraising activities on outcome measures pertaining to the overall health of nonprofits, such as projected growth and perceived ability to meet financial goals.

If you lead a Pinellas County nonprofit organization and have not yet completed the study, please contact Karen Chassin at for a link to the survey. If you’ve been meaning to take it, please take the time to do so. The greater the nonprofit completion rate, the higher the value of the findings will be. We believe it will yield valuable insights and data that will empower nonprofit leaders to engage the public, funders, and elected officials in a deeper understanding of their vital work on behalf of county residents.    

Philip J. Trocchia, PhD is a professor of marketing at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg’s School of Marketing & Innovation.



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