Top 3 Nonprofit Challenges of 2021

Wipfli recently debuted their “Nonprofit Priorities Benchmark 2021 Report” with data acquired at the beginning of the year in anticipation of what 2021 would bring. They uncovered challenges that were a “side effect” of the COVID-19 pandemic, however, these challenges are not new to the industry.

Here’s what they found:

#1 Challenge: Burnout

In the survey, Wipfli found that the biggest challenge for nonprofits was employee engagement/burnout. Whether it was transitioning to working remotely or shutting down the organization for a period of time, the challenges that ensued due to the pandemic resulted in some serious burnout for nonprofiteers.

#2 Challenge: Fundraising

Many assistance programs in 2020 helped keep nonprofits afloat financially, according to Wipfli, but earned income is down and nonprofits have had to and will continue to have to figure out new funding sources throughout the year as raising funds will remain a challenge.

#3 Challenge: Recruitment/workforce

According to the Pew Research Center, twice as many Baby Boomers retired in 2020 than in 2019. This means that HR departments are rushing to try and plan their onboarding and recruitment to catch up to the “race for talent.”


We’ve seen many nonprofits use creativity, ingenuity and passion to get through the COVID-19 crisis and to connect with their teams, as well as their donors. We are constantly amazed by the work they continue to do to make our world a better place, despite the challenges. Stay tuned for Wipfli’s recommendations for overcoming these challenges.