Stay Safe, Don’t Panic; Stay the Course: Nonprofits are Mighty Resilient

Covid-19 Info Banner for CC - 3-19-20 - D&A

This Article by Jon Pratt and Kari Aanestand just published in the NonProfit Quarterly sheds some interesting light on how nonprofits actually fared during the last recession. Turns out – not so bad and a lot better than business. Here is an excerpt. The link to the full article is below.

“Steady employment growth held true across all nonprofit activity areas during the recession, with a 7 percent growth over five years.7 Business employment dropped by 6 percent in 2009—a loss of 6.4 million jobs—a year in which nonprofit employment grew by 1.5 percent.

The top-line story here is that most parts of the nonprofit sector saw no reduction in overall financial resources, and actually grew throughout this period. Analysis of IRS Form 990 filings from 2003 to 2015 shows changes in total revenue over time in the ten major activity areas—and, separately, colleges and universities and hospitals, which are analyzed separately because they have such a distinct financial footprint. While some activity areas experienced fluctuations in the recession years (such as human services, which saw a 2 percent increase in total revenue from 2008 to 200911), in most cases nonprofits saw a modest single-year reduction and a following-year recovery.12

The irony is that businesses were hit the hardest in the last recession, and nonprofits generally did well. The advice “be more like businesses” caused some in the sector to pivot unnecessarily, and at their peril”.

CLICK HERE for the article.