For the past four years The Community Foundation of Utah with the support of Wells Fargo Foundation, has been tracking how the state’s nonprofit organizations have been coping with the recession.
Our most recent study finds another year of flat or declining revenue, increased demand for help and the recognition that things may be like this for a long while to come. As one director put it, “We are just holding on.”
Among the major findings:
- The steep declines in corporate, foundation and individual giving of 2009 and 2010 ended, only to be replaced by flat donations. Giving has yet to rebound to 2008 levels.
- 67% of human service organizations saw an increase in requests for help from people who had lost their jobs in 2011.
The stagnation in funds coupled with a continued increase in demand for services has taken a toll on their financial health, threatening the future of hundreds of agencies across the state.
- 31% of Utah nonprofits have less than 3 months of operating capital on hand.
- Only 39% report sufficient resources to meet the demand they anticipate in 2012.
- 46% reported that they still have not seen signs of recovery.
- Fewer than 1 in 5 think that things are looking up.
Charities have continued to make cuts in operating expenses, including ending programs and laying off staff. But the biggest threats lie well beyond the control of a community theater, domestic violence shelter or a food bank. They rest in the arena of federal and state tax policy, the financial markets, and politics.
- 92% believe that the social fabric is threatened by the increasing reliance on the nonprofits to take care of community needs.
- 86% feel say the sector is vulnerable because of a lack of funding for the crucial underlying functions of their organizations: infrastructure, capacity building and operations.
- 77% believe their organization’s work is threated by a reduction of state funding for social services.
- 68% reported that charities are negatively impacted by a lack of civic dialogue on the issues facing Utah.