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Survey: Charities Continue To Feel Effects Of Economy

Charities suffer from less donations due to poor economy.

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More than half of charitable organizations saw a decline in contributions from March to May compared to the year-ago period, according to a new survey.

GuideStar, which provides information on more than 1.8 million nonprofit organizations, conducted the online survey of 2,279 public charities and private foundations in June. About 4 percent of the organizations were animal-related.

The survey revealed that 52 percent of organizations reported a decrease in contributions from March to May, 29 percent had no change, 18 percent saw an increase and 1 percent responded “don’t know.”

The results were similar to GuideStar’s previous survey, which covered October 2008 through February 2009.

“Our latest survey presents both a ‘glass is half full’ and ‘glass is half empty’ scenario,” said Bob Ottenhoff, president and CEO of GuideStar. “On the one hand, the number of nonprofits reporting decreased contributions remained the same as in our previous survey. On the other hand, participants’ comments indicate that their organizations are stretched to the limit. Further, 8 percent still face closure because of financial reasons, and 58 percent report that demand for their services has increased.”

The survey also asked about what kind of measures these organizations have used to reduce their budget. More than one answer could apply:

  • Reduction in program activities/services (54 percent)
  • Salary freeze (44 percent)
  • Hiring freeze (33 percent)
  • Layoffs (29 percent)
  • Other (25 percent)
  • Salary reduction (23 percent)
  • Reduction in employee benefits (21 percent)
  • Reduction in operating hours (16 percent)

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