Nonprofit Finance Fund 2013 Survey: New Realities are here to stay

Nonprofit Finance Fund 2013 Survey: New Realities are here to stay

Posted on March 28, 2013 by Pam Truitt

The Nonprofit Finance Fund released the 2013 State of the Nonprofit Sector Survey this week, marking the fifth year of sharing data and trends within the nonprofit sector across the nation. What’s new? Out of the more than 6,000 respondents, the number of nonprofits acknowledging that long overdue innovation in business and funding models is rising.

What else? New realities are here to stay.

Not wanting to repeat myself (too often, at least), I re-read the blog I posted on the 2012 survey results. In that post, I referred to a blog called, "If Nonprofits Fail," by Jennifer Talansky, VP of Knowledge and Communications at the Nonprofit Finance Fund. So I re-read it and it still hits home.

Readers should not miss the survey summary (you can find the full version here) and compressed below. Six thousand nonprofits participated in the survey this year---up from 4,500 last year:

• 42% of survey respondents report that they do not have the right mix of financial resources to thrive and be effective in the next three years.

• 1 in 4 nonprofits has 30 days or less cash-on-hand.

• Over the next twelve months, 39% plan to change the main ways they raise and spend money.

• 23% will seek funding other than grants or contracts, such as loans or investments.

• Only 14% of nonprofits receiving state and local funding are paid for the full cost of services; just 17% of federal fund recipients receive full reimbursement. Partial reimbursements require additional funding to cover the growing gap as nonprofits serve more people.

• Government is late to pay: Among those with state or local funding, just over 60% reported overdue government payments; over 50% reported late payments from the federal government.

• For the first time in the five years of the survey, more than half (52%) of respondents were unable to meet demand over the last year; 54% say they won’t be able to meet demand this year.

But wait! There is light at the end of the tunnel!

• 49% have added or expanded programs or services; 17 percent reduced or eliminated programs or services.

• 39% have collaborated with another organization to improve or increase services.

• 39% have upgraded technology to improve organizational efficiency.

• 36% engaged more closely with their board.

The latest survey isn’t a call for celebration. I just looked out the door and didn’t see the nonprofits housed in my office building running up and down the hall in party hats. I believe many will agree with the findings. But my hope is that the news will stir the hearts, souls and imaginations of more than a few.

"I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!" Who remembers this famous line from the movie “Network”? Actor Peter Finch, reacting to changing economic conditions and declining TV ratings forever changed how contemporary America reacts to bad news followed by more bad news.

What are you going to do with this news?

  • Learn about these and other concepts used in TPF's approach to philanthropy.


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