Nonprofit Finance Fund Survey: America’s Nonprofits in Danger

On March 26, 2009, the Nonprofit Finance Fund released its survey of 986 nonprofit professionals designed to assess the real-time challenges faced by nonprofits.  The findings exposed a startling degree of financial vulnerability by a large majority of respondents:

  • Only 12% expect to operate above break-even this year.
  • Just 16% anticipate being able to cover their operating costs in both 2009 and 2010.
  • 31% don't have enough operating cash in hand to cover more than one month of expenses and another 31% have less than three months' worth.
  • In 2009 –
    • 43% anticipate a decrease in funding from government;
    • 62% anticipate a decrease in funding from foundations;
    • 49% anticipate a decrease in funding from individuals;
    • 33% anticipate a decrease in earned revenues.
  • 52% of respondents expect the recession to have long-term (2+ years) or permanent negative financial effect on their organizations.
  • 93% of lifeline organizations that provide essential services anticipate an increase in demand in 2009.

The survey also showed how nonprofits are responding to the recession:

  • 43% have used or are considering using their reserve funds.
  • 42% have collaborated or are considering collaborating with other nonprofits to provide programs.
  • 39% have reduced or eliminated or are considering reducing or eliminating programs.
  • 41% have reduced or are considering reducing staff or salaries.
  • 22% have reduced or are considering reducing staff hours.
  • 5% have merged or are considering merging with another nonprofit (but 13% expressed interest in merger feasibility analysis).

A summary report of the survey is available here.  The full survey results are available here.