On April 2, 2012, the Nonprofit Finance Fund (NFF) announced the results of its 2012 State of the Nonprofit Sector Survey. With support from Bank of America Charitable Foundation, NFF was able to work with 4,607 nonprofit organizations from across the United States to understand how they are “are adapting their organizations and finances to current economic conditions.” The study reveals that “while 2011 was a year of significant organizational and programmatic changes, many nonprofits are still facing fundamental challenges that threaten the stability of the sector and the well-being of the people they serve.” In addition, NFF CEO Antony Bugg-Levine said: “We must make systemic changes to the way we address social problems.”
Some highlights from the study:
- 85% of nonprofits experienced an increase in the demand for services in 2011.
- 88% expect an increase in demand for services in 2012.
- 57% have 3 months or less cash-on-hand.
- 87% said their financial outlook won’t get any better in 2012.
Here is how nonprofits fared on programming and employment:
- 55% of survey respondents added or expanded programs or services.
- 52% increased the number of people served.
- 50% hired for new positions.
- While 23% of respondents cut staff in 2011, just 10% expect to do so in 2012.
How do nonprofits feel about communicating with funders and what role do board play in this conversation?
- Just 1 out of 5 nonprofits feels comfortable talking with their funders about cash flow concerns.
- Only 6% feel comfortable talking with funders about debt.
- 73% say their boards don’t do enough to leverage their relationships to support fundraising.
- 38% report that their boards aren’t able to sufficiently understand and communicate their expense drivers.