Study: More Nonprofits Moving Into New Spaces

A recent survey by the real estate firm CBRE found that a significant number of nonprofits have moved in the past five years, driven more by a desire for better space than by a need to cut costs or downsize.

Did your association move into a new office sometime in the past few years? If so, you’re part of a growing trend of office-space moves among nonprofits, according to the commercial real estate firm CBRE.

The firm recently noted that 37 percent of respondents to its 2018 Nonprofit Real Estate Benchmarking Survey had moved to new offices within the past five years, and 44 percent said they were looking to either move or do a significant revamp on their current office space.

The reasons varied, but cost-cutting wasn’t the most important factor. Of those who moved within the past three years, 43 percent said space quality was the most important factor, followed by cost reduction (35 percent), and space efficiency (34 percent).

And although 81 percent of nonprofits surveyed said they either already have or are planning to adopt a telecommuting policy, they’re still investing in desirable office space, according to Manny Fitzgerald, who heads CRBE’s Nonprofit Practice Group.

“While technological advances give workers greater flexibility in where they perform their work, we continue to see an emphasis by nonprofits on creating more satisfying and effective collaborative workplaces,” Fitzgerald said in an emailed news release.

Most new offices tended to be smaller than the offices they replaced, according to the survey. At the same time, office space per employee increased in the 2018 edition of the survey, a reversal from previous years. CBRE said this dichotomy might be the result of organizations using space more efficiently. (Also, organizations that own their office space tend to have larger space overall.)

The momentum toward moving suggests that nonprofits as a whole are getting stronger, with 92 percent of respondents saying they’re seeing stable or improving revenue this year and three-quarters saying that cost-cutting isn’t part of their plans.

“Modest but steady economic growth within the nonprofit world is also creating opportunities for organizations to explore and implement more creative office space alternatives,” Fitzgerald added.

(nd3000/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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