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North Carolina nonprofits ‘optimistic’

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Tom McGuire

Tom McGuire

While some North Carolina nonprofits are laying off staff and seeing fewer donations, the majority are optimistic about their organizations’ standing, a new survey says.

More than six in 10 nonprofits in the state say they are “hopeful” about the health of their organization, while only six percent are “fearful,” says the survey conducted by Armstrong McGuire & Associates, a Raleigh consulting firm that surveyed 400 nonprofit executives, board members and foundation leaders.

While over a quarter of the groups surveyed have laid off staff, more than half believe they can avoid staff cuts for the “foreseeable future,” the survey says.

More than six in 10 say the economic downturn will have little effect on their ability to carry out their strategic plans, maintain enough staff or keep service levels high.

“Despite a challenging economy, North Carolina nonprofits and the volunteers and donors who supported them are working hard to stay the course,” Tom McGuire, principal of Armstrong McGuire, says in a statement.

However, most nonprofit leaders are finding 2009 tougher than last year in areas like donor retention and meeting annual and capital-campaign goals.

At the same time, areas like board development and volunteer recruitment are posing fewer challenges this year.

More than half of respondents reported some erosion in giving but, for four in 10, giving has remained steady or increased.

And donor numbers for more than a third of respondents are stable while three in 10 have gained donors.

To combat the economic malaise, nonprofit leaders report boosting their effort in several areas, including new-donor identification, donor education, cultivation activities, prospect research, grantwriting and planned-giving activities.

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