Nonprofits Still Taking a Hit from Recession, Survey Finds

Donations have declined, but needs have risen during the economic recession.

Posted: August 18, 2010, 3 a.m. EDT

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Kitten with volunteer
Decline in contributions to nonprofits, like cat shelters, have continued while need has risen.
Nonprofits continue to take a beating in the wake of one of the nation’s worst economic downturns, according to GuideStar USA Inc.’s recent economic survey of public charity and private foundations.

GuideStar, which provides data on more than 1.8 million IRS-recognized nonprofits, conducted the survey online in June. “The Effect of the Economy on the Nonprofit Sector: A June 2010 Survey” elicited responses from about 7,000 organizations, 5 percent of which were animal-related.

Overall, about 40 percent of respondents reported a further decline in contributions in the first five months of 2010 compared to the year-ago period. At the same time, however, 63 percent have seen an increase in demand for their services.

“Our survey echoes what we’ve been hearing from the nonprofit sector for the past couple of years,” said Chuck McLean, GuideStar’s vice president for research. “The results prove that nonprofits have a long way to go to achieve the success they experienced before the recession.”

Among the survey findings:
• Eight percent of respondents indicated that their organizations were in imminent danger of closing.

• In order to balance budgets, 17 percent of respondents reduced program services and 11 percent laid off employees.

• More than 60 percent of participants reporting decreased contributions attributed the drop to a decline in the number of individual donors and the size of their donations.

• Among organizations that use volunteers, 17 percent used one or more in what had formerly been paid positions.

• About 32 percent of organizations increased their reliance on volunteers, whereas 9 percent experienced a decline.

“There’s no doubt that the nonprofit sector continues to face an incredibly difficult philanthropic environment,” said Bob Ottenhoff, GuideStar’s president and chief executive officer. “It’s more important than ever that nonprofits are transparent about their earnings and offerings so that donors and grantmakers will know that their dollars are going to organizations that will use their gifts wisely.”
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Nonprofits Still Taking a Hit from Recession, Survey Finds

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Reader Comments

Sue    Three Oaks, MI

8/19/2010 6:28:09 PM

It really is sad, everyone is hurtin'

Linda    St. Louis, MO

8/19/2010 5:08:11 PM

Sadly, only too true.

Amy    San Fransisco, CA

8/19/2010 1:24:34 PM

I hope the shelters are able to get more donations.

Galadriel    Lothlorien, ME

8/18/2010 8:10:55 PM

Good to know.

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