Nonprofits Anticipate Challenging Year, Survey Finds

Nonprofits Anticipate Challenging Year, Survey Finds

America's nonprofits expect 2010 to be as difficult if not more difficult, financially speaking, as 2009, a new survey from the Nonprofit Finance Fund finds.

According to the 2010 State of the Nonprofit Sector (19 pages, PDF), only 18 percent of the more than 1,300 nonprofit leaders surveyed expect their organizations to end 2010 in the black; in 2009, 35 percent of organizations ended the year with an operating surplus. Indeed, a majority of organizations surveyed (61 percent) have less than three months of cash available, while 12 percent have none.

Moreover, while 80 percent of nonprofits expect to see an increase in demand for their services in 2010, only 49 percent expect to be able to fully meet that demand. According to the survey, organizations are taking a number of steps to maintain — and even expand — service delivery during this period of economic uncertainty. For example, 52 percent have collaborated with other organizations to provide programs, 43 percent have added to or expanded their program offerings, 18 percent have expanded the geographic area served by their programs, and 60 percent have become more engaged with their board.

"We expect 2010 to be another treacherous year for many nonprofits that routinely take heroic measures to meet demand for services," said NFF president and CEO Clara Miller. "While the 'coping mechanisms' we're seeing are encouraging, we also need to make fundamental changes to the way the sector is financed."

"Nonprofit Finance Fund Survey: America's Nonprofits Brace for Tough 2010." Nonprofit Finance Fund Press Release 03/22/2010.