Friday, April 26, 2013

Reflecting on the Nonprofit Finance Fund survey

Nearly 6,000 nonprofits participated in the Nonprofit Finance Fund survey from all over the country.   Nearly ½ the organizations were between $500,000 to $5 million in revenue.    Most (40%) of the organizations were human services organizations with arts & culture (16%) and education (14%) the next two largest.   A few notable statistics:

Only 30% of the organizations received federal funds.  About ½ of the organizations received state and local funds.  Of those who received state and local funding, 63% received the same or more funding in 2012 as they did in 2011.  The % was about the same for federal monies.  I had expected government funding to decrease.  Based on the federal debt and looming state pension benefit funding requirements, I suspect these figures will go down in the future.   

I had also expected that more nonprofits would have less cash on hand.  However 44% had 4 or more month’s expenses on hand and 32% had 2-3 months.    It is not good—especially for those organizations that are likely to experience cuts in government funding.   And 25% of those responding to the survey had one month or less, which is very sobering.   But considering how lean the last few years have been, the nonprofits have really worked hard to hang onto some reserves.

The section of the survey on organizational management actions related to finance and operations asked respondents to check off actions they had taken from a list of prepared actions (in other words—it was not an open ended question).   I would have expected the highest responses to include changing the way funds were raised and spent.   However, that was actually the 4th most frequent response (39%) compared to attending conferences and networking (58%); advocating to the government on behalf of cause (46%) and upgrading technology to increase efficiency (46%).     Many nonprofits had already pursued funding differently and cut expenses in prior years.    Nonprofits had cut back and even eliminating attending training.  We see a lot of great networking and collaboration come out of seminars.  It is great to see that nonprofits are able to get out again for training and networking.

The statistic that jumped out at me the most was on measuring impact—that is a whole post in itself so I will address that next time.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

2013 Nonprofit Finance Fund Survey

Economic challenges continue while demand grows.  This is the primary message from nearly 6,000 nonprofits in the Nonprofit Finance Fund’s 2013 survey.  There is so much great information in here I want to take a few posts to explore it. 

The summary of the survey does a nice job grouping findings into several areas and concluding the following:

1. Nonprofits need new funding sources and models

2. Nonprofits that receive government funding face particular challenges

3. Under these challenging conditions, many nonprofits are unable to meet growing need in their communities

4. Nonprofits are changing the way they do business to adapt to the new reality. 

 Graphs, charts and pictorial representations clearly communicate the results making this a quick but powerful read.