Why should we care? Are there any perks to keeping nonprofits around–you know, besides helping feed, educate, support, and protect people? So glad you asked.
In her paper Nonprofits and the Economic Rescission, Dr. Laurie E. Paarlberg notes why nonprofits are vital to any community.
- They are important contributors to our economy–providing jobs and bringing resources from outside foundations and state and federal government to our community.
- They provide many instrumental services that government and business cannot and do not provide.
- They provide an opportunity for people to join together to address common concerns and express their values through volunteering, donating, and serving as board members. Would we want to imagine a community without the potential for such a high level of civic engagement?
About the Money
These past few years have meant tough times for nonprofits. Nonprofits rely heavily on individual donations and both private and public funding. The Bridgespan Group conducted a survey of over 100 nonprofit leaders in November of 2008. In the survey “75 percent of the respondents reported that they [were] already feeling the effects of the downturn, and 52 percent [had] already experienced funding cuts.”
Funding cuts and a decline in donations have been a part of the nonprofit story for a few years now. A June 2011 article by The Chronicle of Philanthropy reports that “the previous two years showed the steepest drop in giving ever recorded in the [“Giving USA“] report’s five decades—a decline of 7 percent in 2008 and 6.2 percent in 2009.”
However, there’s still good news, even if it’s slow coming. The article also states that donors are “increasing their contributions by slightly more than 2 percent after inflation.” It might not seem like much, but it’s definitely a start.
A Guest Blog Post, by Kristie Price
An adapted excerpt from Nonprofits and the Economic Rescission was used with permission.