The economic recovery is not offering signs of relief for the nonprofit sector, and many organizations are now looking to new models of funding, according to the results of theNonprofit Finance Fund’s 2014 State of the Nonprofit Sector Survey. Leaders from more than 5,000 nonprofits nationwide participated in this sixth annual survey. Many reported daunting financial situations, and said they are looking at new ways to secure the future of their organizations for the benefit of the people they serve. The survey was supported by longtime partner the Bank of America Charitable Foundation as well as the Ford Foundation.
The economic recovery is leaving behind many nonprofits and communities in need:
“Americans rely on nonprofits for food shelter, education, healthcare and other necessities, and everyone has a stake in strengthening this social infrastructure,” said Antony Bugg-Levine, CEO of Nonprofit Finance Fund. “The struggles nonprofits face are not the short-term result of an economic cycle, they are the results of fundamental flaws in the way we finance social good.”
For many nonprofits, the funding landscape is changing. Of respondents who receive government funding, nearly half have seen support decline over the past five years.
Nonprofits are working to bring in new money; in the next 12 months:
“Today’s environment requires creative problem-solving and good communication with funders and partners,” said Robert Chávez, Chief Executive Officer of Urban Corps of San Diego County, which provides a high school education and green job training to young adults. “As a conservation corps, we have always relied on a fee-for-service program model to fund job training projects. Now, we are diversifying our services and exploring new income-generating partnerships in order to supplement at-risk funding, become fully self-sufficient, and ultimately better serve youth.”
41% of nonprofits named “achieving long-term financial stability” as a top challenge, yet:
“The closer a system gets to failure, the harder it becomes to devote scarce resources toward building a better future,” said Bugg-Levine. “The nonprofit sector’s greatest asset is tenacious, creative, smart leaders who, despite significant challenges and with the right support, have the capacity to lead the United States into a new era of civic and social greatness.”
Nonprofits are taking wide-ranging steps to survive and succeed.
In the past 12 months:
“Today, it’s clear that government funding and traditional philanthropy alone can’t cover the critical work of nonprofits addressing pressing challenges in our communities,” said Kerry Sullivan, president of the Bank of America Charitable Foundation. “Tools like the Nonprofit Finance Fund survey can help fuel discussion among nonprofits and the private sector about how new funding models and strategies can better support shared goals of stronger organizations and communities.”
For the first time, the annual survey delved into impact measurement, a core component of some emerging funding models such as pay-for-success:
“The NFF survey results illustrate the ongoing risks of a frayed social safety net dealing with increasing demand,” said Hilary Pennington, vice president of the Ford Foundation’s program for Education, Creativity and Free Expression. “If we continue to expect nonprofits and their dedicated staff to meet society’s most critical needs at the most crucial times– we need to recommit as a society to strengthen the necessary supports to do just that.”
Full survey results, along with an interactive survey analyzer and a look at trends over the past six years, are available at: www.nff.org/survey.
About Nonprofit Finance Fund
Nonprofit Finance Fund (NFF) unlocks the potential of mission-driven organizations through tailored investments, strategic advice and accessible insights. Founded in 1980, NFF helps organizations connect money to mission effectively, and supports innovations such as growth capital campaigns, cross-sector economic recovery initiatives and impact investing. A leading community development financial institution with over $80 million in assets, NFF has provided $280 million in loans and access to additional financing via grants, tax credits and capital in support of over $1.4 billion in projects for thousands of organizations nationwide. NFF is headquartered in New York City and serves clients from five offices across the country.