A new survey of public charity and private foundation employees found that 51 percent of the organizations saw a decline in contributions over the first nine months of 2009, compared to 35 percent in the year-ago period. The major factors cited for a decline in contributions were fewer individuals giving (69 percent) and smaller gifts (also 69 percent).
The online survey was conducted in October by GuideStar, which provides data on more than 1.8 million IRS-recognized organizations. About 2,565 organizations were surveyed, 133 of those were animal-related.
About 46 percent of the respondents said that their organization receives the majority of donations between October and December, the period known as the giving season. Of this number, 45 percent anticipate that total contributions for the 2009 giving season will be lower than those for the 2008 giving season, according to the survey.
On top of that, about 62 percent of respondents reported increased demand for their organization’s services.
Still, only 31 percent said that their organization had reduced budgets for 2010. Another 36 percent reported increased budgets for 2010 and 29 percent said that next year’s budgets would be the same as this year’s, according to the survey. The remaining 4 percent didn’t know.
For those organizations that expected to reduce their 2010 budgets, the survey revealed that reduction in program services (59 percent) and salary freezes (54 percent) were the most frequently used techniques for making ends meet.
“Despite an extraordinarily tough year, people in the nonprofit sector remain optimistic,” said Bob Ottenhoff, president and chief executive officer of GuideStar. “Still, with contributions down and demand for services up, charities need donors’ gifts more than ever. These organizations provide vital services. GuideStar’s hope is that people will be as generous as possible in supporting these organizations and their important work this holiday season.”