Nearly two-thirds of charitable organizations report that gifts, grants and donations in the first nine months of 2012 fell or remained about the same on a year-over-year basis, a report from GuideStar finds.
Based on an annual survey of private foundations and public charities, The Effect of the Economy on the Nonprofit Sector (12 pages, PDF) found that total contributions rose for 34 percent of respondents, fell for 37 percent, and remained flat for 28 percent. A drop in individual giving was the primary reason given for the fall off in donations, with 77 percent of respondents reporting that gifts from individuals were smaller this year and 75 percent saying that fewer individuals gave.
Even as the majority of nonprofits were seeing donation totals fall or remain flat, however, nonprofits themselves were experiencing an increase in demand for services, with 38 percent reporting that demand had increased modestly and 26 percent reporting that demand had increased greatly. According to the report, the survey results are similar to the results of a 2011 survey, suggesting that the nonprofit sector, like the economy as a whole, is mired in slow-growth mode.
"Overall, these responses are in keeping with the tepid recovery from the 'Great Recession' that the economy has seen thus far," said Chuck McLean, vice president for research at GuideStar. "Sluggish giving from individuals combined with a slow economic recovery means the nonprofit sector has a ways to go to return to levels of giving seen before the economic meltdown."