Economic Outlook 2011: Signs of Recovery But Challenges Persist

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

EconOutlook2011_cover Donors Forum has released its annual economic outlook report, based on survey responses from grantmaking Members and nonprofit Forum Partners. The survey indicates that – consistent with wider economic trends – there are some signs of improvement: fewer grantmakers reported a decrease in assets and fewer nonprofits reported revenue declines.

Nonprofits’ fundraising efforts over the past year showed increases in virtually all the targeted sources, including special events revenue, board contributions, major gifts, and individual donations.  And, the nonprofits surveyed were nearly evenly split between those who had experienced increases and those who had experience decreases in grantmaker support. 

However, an ever-increasing demand for services combined with continuing late payments from the state of Illinois continue to threaten many nonprofits’ financial stability. Nonprofit cash position has not improved, according to the survey; and not only are nonprofits not filling vacated positions, they are continuing to eliminate regular staff positions with about the same prevalence as shown in last year’s survey.

Grantmakers’ responses to the survey indicate continued caution and selectivity in their grantmaking approach; many continue to restrict the application pool and to offer fewer or smaller grants than before the recession. Interestingly, grantmaking support has increased in certain areas, including nonprofit capacity building. Also, awarding of non-monetary support – pro bono work and in-kind donations, is on the rise, especially among corporate giving programs.

Read or download the full report in PDF format here.

~Marilou Jones, Director of Communications