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Strong and thriving communities rely on nonprofit organizations to provide essential services that contribute to their economic stability and growth.

That’s not all nonprofits do to bolster their communities. They also serve as the voices of those they represent. And because they serve as “boots on the ground,” they often have a better grasp of what their communities’ needs are, as well as the best ways those needs can be met. Nonprofits that are partnered with community decision makers can also help their communities grow.

In the current climate of ever-decreasing public sector financial support, nonprofit organizations are being asked to provide even more services with less governmental backing. That can be a problem, since public and private sector backing for nonprofits is usually centered on growing existing programs and not on the nonprofits infrastructure, growth and leadership development needs. That can leave nonprofits hungry for operational support that can help them deliver services in an effective manner.

A survey by the Bridgespan group for JPMorgan Chase of more than 200 nonprofit organizations that served low to middle income communities recently identified the five areas where they needed the most assistance: Besides fundraising, the nonprofits said they needed help in communications and marketing; program evaluation; performance management; technology; and strategic management. The nonprofits also said they required assistance in board governance, human resource management and financial planning.

Nonprofits should also be invited to the table during policy-making talks to ensure that economic growth is inclusive of all community groups. Business leaders can help by providing both introductions and opportunities so that nonprofits have a voice in addressing community challenges.

To help that happen, JPMorgan & Chase is committed to using its intellectual and human capital, as well as its money, to create a program tailored for nonprofits that strengthens their networks with peer institutions, civic leaders, elected officials and other stakeholders that shape the communities they serve.

On March 8, JP Morgan & Chase, in partnership with The Aspen Institute, brought together nonprofit, philanthropic and civil leaders to identify ways to increase access for capacity building services for nonprofits.
The program includes online training sessions and workshops that facilitate peer learning among allied groups as well as individualized coaching sessions and technical assistance that has been requested by survey respondents.