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Not to be the harbinger of doom but the Non-profit Finance Fund released a survey Monday that reflects the less-than-optimistic hopes of non-profit leaders for the year ahead. Though it’s far more depressing than Financial Armageddon, it shows that non-profits are far more prepared for the worst (and more deft at handling adversity) than their for-profit counterparts. For-profit CFOs still seem preoccupied with the credit crunch while non-profits are merely trying to meet increased demand with less to provide.
America’s nonprofits expect that 2010 will be financially more difficult or as difficult as 2009, according to a survey released today by Nonprofit Finance Fund (NFF). The survey of more than 1,300 nonprofit leaders in markets nationwide also found strong evidence of the dramatic and creative steps that organizations are taking in order to maintain and even expand service delivery to meet increased demand during this time of continued economic uncertainty.
• Nearly 90% expect 2010 to be as difficult or more difficult than 2009; only 12% expect 2010 to be financially easier for their organizations.
• 80% of nonprofits anticipate an increase in demand for services in 2010; 49% expect to be able to fully meet this demand level.
• Only 18% of organizations expect to end 2010 above break-even; 35% of organizations ended 2009 with an operating surplus.
• The majority — 61% — have less than three months of cash available; 12% have none.
“We expect 2010 to be another treacherous year for many nonprofits that routinely take heroic measures to meet demand for services,” said Clara Miller, President and CEO of NFF. “The economic ‘recovery’ has not yet reached people in need, or the organizations that serve them. We must do more to repair the tattered social safety net.”
Interestingly, only 46% of non-profits surveyed said they believed they would not be able to replace government stimulus money from other sources when the money is gone. Also curious, non-profits appear to be having an easier time of getting loans. Only 30% of survey respondents said they’d applied for a loan in the last 12 months but incredibly 74% of those secured the loan. Oh and 26% said they only applied for a loan because they were waiting for late government payments.
There were quite a few memorable responses from survey participants but I think this one sums up the theme of NFF’s results pretty well: “WE DIDN’T GIVE UP.”