Nonprofits faced woes, but increased revenue

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

BALTIMORE -- Even with a troubled economy and government budget cuts, nearly two-thirds of nonprofit organizations in a new survey said they boosted revenue last year and almost half added new programs. Still, 86 percent of the 236 groups surveyed said they worried about finances on some level, with 51 percent describing their worries as "very severe" or "severe." Johns Hopkins Center for Civil Society Studies conducted the survey with seven umbrella groups for nonprofit organizations. The majority of agencies devised new ways to appeal to private donors, expanded marketing and pursued more government revenue, according to the report. About two-thirds of the groups said their costs increased, with liability and health insurance becoming more expensive. They sought to cut costs elsewhere, with 72 percent postponing new hires, eliminating vacancies or increasing reliance on part-time staff.

The study reported 56 percent of non-profits froze employees' salaries, cut benefits or increased staff hours.

Sixty-four percent said they increased revenue, while 44 percent added new programs.

The nationwide survey sampled five fields: children and family services; elderly housing and services; community and economic development; museums; and theaters.

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