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Hey, Nonprofit Offices Starting To Look A Lot Like For-Profits

As the economy picks up, nonprofits and associations are catching up to trends in the for-profit sector. 

Hey, Nonprofit Offices Starting To Look A Lot Like For-Profits

Namely, they’re taking up less square footage per employee and making a gradual shift from private to open office layouts, says CBRE Nonprofit Practice Group SVP Gregg Witt (above). His firm’s 9th Annual Nonprofit Real Estate Benchmarking Survey says the average square footage per employee for organizations with over 20 employees has dropped 22%, from 403 SF in 2009 to 314 SF this year. Smaller firms have seen a 15% drop from 561 SF per employee to 479 SF.

Hey, Nonprofit Offices Starting To Look A Lot Like For-Profits

But less square footage isn’t a negative trend. The report, which included charitable organizations and trade associations nationwide, says fewer nonprofits are cutting costs and about half report 1% to 5% growth this year. They’re hiring more staff as they create new programs or relaunch ones put on hold during the recession. Nearly half of them said they’ve expanded their office space over the past three years. We recently reported about how the American Psychiatric Association chose its new space at The Wharf in DC (above).

Hey, Nonprofit Offices Starting To Look A Lot Like For-Profits

Gregg says ditching single offices for more open spaces also lowers occupancy costs. Five years ago, 17% of them had open offices, and now 20% are reporting open offices. Over the past four years, nonprofits have also moved from the suburbs to central business districts and suburb to suburb movement has dropped. Urban markets are softening, which is making them more affordable for nonprofits.