Friday, May 21, 2010

More in Need and Little Relief in Sight

Are Bay Area non-profits keeping up with the recession? The United Way’s recently released Bay Area Nonprofit Pulse Survey indicates that while non-profits are doing more with less, just three percent are seeing improvements, and one in four have had to eliminate services.

More than six in ten non-profits reported an increase in demand for services last year and four in ten were not able to meet those demands.

Unlike for-profit businesses, demand and revenues often negatively correlate in the non-profit sector. Since the beginning of the Great Recession growing demand for services has been accompanied by declining revenues from both private and public sources. More than half of non-profits reported a drop in revenues in 2009.

Many non-profits reported tapping into reserves to cover costs last year which will be painfully felt in coming years if demand for services remains high. Anne Wilson, CEO of United Way of the Bay Area says that those hit hardest by the recession may take years to get back on their feet.

Other ways that non-profits are stretching resources include collaborating with other organizations such as the United Way’s SparkPoint Oakland Center to bring together a number of non-profit organizations including Women’s Initiative for Self Employment. Non-profit organizations are also working with more volunteers to increase levels and quality of service without increasing costs.

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