The Nonprofit Finance Fund also released their annual State of the Nonprofit Sector 2010 (Source here). It’s different from the UCLA School of Public Affair’s “Hard Times: Impacts, Actions, Prospects — The State of the Nonprofit Sector in Los Angeles 2010” It focuses on the global view as opposed to the local view of Los Angeles County. However, the message and the general outlook are still the same: not good.
So much so that the report even led their front page with a rather telling quote from Clara Miller, CEO of the Nonprofit Finance Fund: “We expect 2011 to be another treacherous year for many nonprofits that routinely take heroic measures to meet demand for services. The ‘recovery’ has not yet reached people in need, or the organizations that serve them”
The nonprofit sector typically lags two to three years behind the private sector when recovering from a “normal” recession. But this recovery is more likely to be in the four- to five-year range, given all the circumstances. The likelihood of a full return to pre-recession economic conditions is doubtful.
The report tells the same story: a large increase in need for services, coupled with a sharp decline in revenues and fund raising efforts. Even worse are the expectations from the Government, federal support, and United Way support. There are statistics and hard data, and there are no punches pulled.
It’s tough news to take. But as I mentioned before, you can look at all of the statistics at a macro level, and everything looks bleak. But when you get down to an individual level, there are still personal stories occurring everyday of people receiving services, receiving hope, and relief. It would be naive to ignore the big picture, but I still believe we need to focus on the stories of hope. We can still talk about the good things that happen everyday, and look forward to a day when more good things happen. If we can shine a light on the bright spots, then everything else will become brighter sooner. That’s just a thought.