Survey: Northeast Ohio Nonprofits Brace for Tough 2010; Turn to Collaboration and Financial Planning

BVU and Nonprofit Finance Fund Find Only 29% of Area Nonprofits Expect to Cover 2009 and 2010 Expenses

Cleveland, Ohio – October 8, 2009 – Nonprofits in Northeast Ohio are facing decreased revenue and an increase in demand as they look toward 2010, according to a survey released today by Business Volunteers Unlimited (BVU) and Nonprofit Finance Fund (NFF). More than 100 respondents painted a grim financial picture of the sector, but also detailed extensive and promising collaboration efforts that outpace national counterparts.

Summary Survey Findings | Full Survey Results
Read about the survey in Philanthropy News Digest, and

Key findings include:

  • Only 17% of respondents expect to be above break-even for the current fiscal year, down from 35% the prior fiscal year.
  • Of the nonprofits that receive each type of funding, 67% expect a decrease in foundation revenues, 54% expect a decrease in government revenues, and 40% expect a decrease in gifts from individual and corporate donors.
  • 80% of nonprofits predict an increase in demand for services for the remainder of 2009 and in 2010.
  • Fewer than half of nonprofits that expect an increase in demand are planning to reduce programs.
  • Nonprofits are responding aggressively to economic challenges in order to meet the needs of their constituents. They are taking action in myriad ways:
    1. - 59% have collaborated with other organizations on programs and/or administration
      in the past 12 months.
      - 51% have developed a "worst-case scenario" contingency budget.
      - 56% have engaged more closely with their board.

"Northeast Ohio nonprofits are working together and getting creative in the face of significant financial challenges," said Ann Kent, Vice President, Services to Nonprofits of Business Volunteers Unlimited. "If there is a silver lining to the economic uncertainty, it is that organizations are going beyond survival mode to pursue fundamental improvements in strategy, finance, and service delivery."

In addition to steps that Northeast Ohio nonprofits have already taken, 55% of nonprofits expect to collaborate on programs in the next 12 months, 26% will collaborate to reduce administrative expenses, 55% are planning closer board engagement, and 50% plan to hold conversations with funders to discuss financial realities. Local interest in collaboration is high when compared to findings from Nonprofit Finance Fund's March 2009 survey of nonprofits nationwide, where 42% of respondents either had or were planning to collaborate on programs, and 13% had or were planning to partner to reduce administrative costs.

"For many nonprofits, 2010 will be even more difficult than 2009 as economic uncertainty continues to buffet the sector and exacerbate long-standing problems," said Dione Alexander, Vice President, Midwest Region, Nonprofit Finance Fund. "The actions that Northeast Ohio nonprofits are taking to address systemic issues give hope that they will emerge from these tough times stronger and able to continue to meet the growing needs of the communities they serve."

For more information and summary survey findings, please click here.
For full survey results, please click here.

About Business Volunteers Unlimited
Business Volunteers Unlimited (BVU) links businesses and nonprofits to foster excellence in the nonprofit sector. BVU strengthens nonprofits by involving thousands of volunteers from the community; engaging hundreds of business executives and professionals on nonprofit boards of directors; and providing leading-edge board and management consulting and training services for nonprofits. By leveraging involvement from businesses, BVU enables businesses to build strategic, powerful and enduring relationships with the community. Last year, BVU worked with more than 150 businesses and 800 nonprofits in Northeast Ohio. (

About Nonprofit Finance Fund
Nonprofit Finance Fund (NFF) is a national leader in nonprofit, philanthropic and social enterprise finance. Founded in 1980, NFF ( provides loan financing, access to capital and direct advisory services that build the capacity and the financial health of nonprofits. A leading community development financial institution with over $80 million in assets, NFF has provided over $197 million in loans and access to additional financing via grants, tax credits and capital in support of over $1 billion in projects for thousands of nonprofit clients nationwide. NFF has a staff of more than 75 serving nonprofits nationally from offices in New York City, Philadelphia, Newark, Boston, Detroit, Washington, D.C., and San Francisco.

For more information, contact:

Business Volunteers Unlimited
Ann Kent or Elizabeth Voudouris

Louder Than Words for Nonprofit Finance Fund
Tricia McKenna or Crystal Noble

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