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Nonprofits under financial stress

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While the vast majority of nonprofits in the U.S. report being under significant stress from the recession, many still have been able to increase the services they provide to vulnerable people, a new study says.

Eighty percent of nonprofits surveyed are under fiscal stress, with four in 10 of those reporting their stress as severe or very severe, says the report from the Johns Hopkins Listening Post project.

The situation is worse for theaters and orchestras, three-quarters of which report high levels of stress.

And more than half of the 363 organizations surveyed say their revenues have fallen, with many also experiencing increasing costs, declining endowments and delays in government payments.

At the same time, however, almost three in four nonprofits say they have been able to serve the same number of people or more.

In some sectors, those numbers reach even higher, with 96 percent of disability groups serving the same number of people or more, and 92 percent of groups focusing on the economically disadvantaged reporting steady or increasing numbers of clients served.

“Resilience in the face of crunching challenges inspires pride in the sector, but also a deep concern about future capacities of nonprofit organizations to fulfill their missions,” Peter Goldberg, chair of the steering committee of the Listening Post project, says in a statement.

More than half of nonprofits report donations from individuals are down, while 44 percent say they’re getting less from corporations and 42 percent say foundation grants are down.

More than a third of nonprofits say government payments are down, and four in 10 say those payments have been delayed.

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