Economy still pounding nonprofits

PJ staff report

Charities continue to face financial stress, a new survey says.

Forty percent of 6,800 charities participating in an online survey said contributions to their organizations fell in the first five months of 2010, while 30 percent said they grew and 28 percent said they were flat.

Sixty -three percent saw an increase in demand for services, says the survey, The Effect of the Economy on the Nonprofit Sector, which was conducted online in June by GuideStar.

“It has been, and continues to be, a difficult financial environment for nonprofits,” the survey says.

While the “pain was pretty well spread among different types of organizations,” it says, those involved in mental health and crisis intervention were more likely to report a drop in giving.

Eight percent of respondents indicated their organizations were in imminent danger of closing.

To balance their budgets, 17 percent of respondents reduced program services, while 11 percent laid off employees.

Over 60 percent of participants reporting lower contributions attributed the drop to a decline in both the number of individual donors and the size of their donations.

Among organizations that use volunteers, 17 percent used one or more in what had been paid positions.

And nearly one-third of organizations increased their reliance on volunteers, while 9 percent experienced a decline.

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