State of the Sector Surveys
2014 survey generously supported by the Bank of America Charitable Foundation and Ford Foundation.
Thank you to all who participated in our Annual NPO Survey, a data-driven community organizing effort. The survey officially closed on February 19th, but if you'd like to take it as a self-assessment or use the survey worksheet for your organization's own management purposes, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Sign up here to receive the results in April!
2013 Survey Menu
Past Survey Results (2009 - 2012)
- NFF Survey Analyzer: Explore the survey data yourself!
- Survey Brochure
- Press Release
- National Full Results
- National Summary Results
- Arts Summary Results
- Low Income Communities
- Media Coverage
- Distribution partners
- Survey Methodology
- Survey Webinar: Slides | Recording
2013 survey generously supported by:
In this year’s survey, nearly 6000 respondents from nonprofits across the country shared the details of how they are adapting their organizations and finances to economic conditions. The survey, which was supported for the third year in a row by the Bank of America Charitable Foundation, reveals that 2012 was a year in which organizations either made or planned to make significant changes in order to cope with mounting economic stress. As NFF CEO Antony Bugg-Levine put it, “Nonprofits are changing the way they do business because they have to: government funding is not returning to pre-recession levels, philanthropic dollars are limited, and demand for critical services has climbed dramatically. At the same time, 56 percent of nonprofits plan to increase the number of people served. That goal requires systemic change and innovation– both within the sector, and more broadly as a society that values justice, progress and economic opportunity.”
Nonprofits need new funding sources and models.
- 42% of survey respondents report that they do not have the right mix of financial resources to thrive and be effective in the next 3 years.
- 1 in 4 nonprofits has 30 days or less cash-on-hand.
- Over the next twelve months, 39% plan to change the main ways they raise and spend money.
- 23% will seek funding other than grants or contracts, such as loans or investments.
Nonprofits that receive government funding face particular challenges:
- Only 14% of nonprofits receiving state and local funding are paid for the full cost of services; just 17% of federal fund recipients receive full reimbursement. Partial reimbursements require additional funding to cover the growing gap as nonprofits serve more people.
- Government is late to pay: Among those with state or local funding, just over 60% reported overdue government payments; over 50% reported late payments from the federal government.
Under these challenging conditions, many nonprofits are unable to meet growing need in their communities:
- For the first time in the five years of the survey, more than half (52%) of respondents were unable to meet demand over the last year; 54% say they won’t be able to meet demand this year.
- This represents a worrying trend; in 2009, 44% of nonprofits said they were unable to meet demand.
- Jobs (59%) and housing (51%) continue to be top concerns for those in low-income communities.
- 90% of respondents say financial conditions are as hard or harder than last year for their clients; this is actually a slight improvement from prior years’ outlook
Nonprofits are changing the way they do business to adapt to the new reality. In the past 12 months:
- 49% have added or expanded programs or services; 17 percent reduced or eliminated programs or services.
- 39% have collaborated with another organization to improve or increase services.
- 39% have upgraded technology to improve organizational efficiency.
- 36% engaged more closely with their board.
But this is just a fraction of what the data show. This year, once again, we’re enabling you to explore the data yourself. Our NFF Survey Analyzer at survey.nonprofitfinancefund.org allows you to investigate questions that cut across sub-sectors, budget size, geography and other dimensions. We invite you to share what you discover via e-mail and social media. If you'd like to find out what additional slices of the survey data are available, please email us at email@example.com.
- LIVE! NFF Survey Analyzer: Explore the survey data yourself with this easy-to-use site that allows you to filter by sector, geography, budget size and more!
- Survey Brochure (downloads as a pdf)
- Press Release
- Full Results: National (pdf)
- National Summary powerpoint (pdf)
- Arts: Summary Results (pdf) | Full Results (pdf)
- Organizations serving Low Income Communities (pdf)
- Media Coverage
- Thanks to our more than 150 distribution partners!
- Survey Methodology (pdf)
- Multi-year trend data available on core questions. Contact us to request this data.
Tools & Resources
- Nonprofit Finance 101
- Annual Nonprofit Surveys
- A Guide to Navigating Changing Times
- Web Chats
- NFF Research & Guides
- Publications Featuring NFF
- Publications on Capital Partners
- Publications by Antony Bugg-Levine
- Publications by Clara Miller
- Glossary of Financial Terms
- Partnerships & Resources