Effects of Recession Being Felt by Nonprofits Nationwide, Report Finds

A new report from the National Council of Nonprofits, in Washington, D.C, finds that the damage to nonprofits and the nonprofit sector from the recession is mounting, Carolina Newswire reports.

Based on data from four national and nine state-specific organizations, the report, A Respectful Warning Call to Our Partners in Government: The Economic Crisis Is Unraveling the Social Safety Net Faster Than Most Realize (10 pages, PDF), found that nonprofits nationwide are struggling to meet growing demand for services at the same time that their operating costs are rising and their revenues falling. The report includes data from recent reports issued by GuideStar, the Listening Post Project at Johns Hopkins University, the Bridgespan Group, the Nonprofit Finance Fund, and state nonprofit associations in Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Idaho, Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, and New Jersey.

Rather than asking for additional funding from the federal and state governments, which are facing their own budget shortfalls, the report calls on government officials and nonprofit leaders to collaborate more effectively to meet growing community needs.

While the results are not surprising, the council hopes the findings will shed light on problems that can still be addressed. "[A]necdotes and individual studies often get dismissed as outliers," said National Council of Nonprofits president and CEO Tim Delaney. By combining many reports into a single package, Delaney added, NCN hopes "to document the facts in a way that can no longer get overlooked or ignored: The economic threats to nonprofits and the communities we serve are real and dire. It is both unrealistic and unsafe to those depending on services to simply assume that nonprofits will somehow be able to continue to deliver more services that cost more with declining revenues. The math just doesn't work."