Demand Jumps for 75% of N.J. Nonprofits

Rising demand for organizational support and budgetary needs outpacing funding have created challenges for leaders of New Jersey-based organizations. Three-quarters (75 percent) of nonprofit leaders in the state reported greater demand for services during the past year as compared to the previous one. Even more (76 percent) expect additional increases in demand in the year to come.

Though 40 percent of organizations received funding increases of 5 percent or more, the percentage is a four-year low and is met by 51 percent of organizational leaders reporting budgetary increases of at least 5 percent, also a four-year low.

Similarly, 24 percent of organizations saw funding decrease by at least 5 percent while only 8 percent saw budgets decrease by that much. About one-third (34 percent) or organizational leaders reported a surplus in the past fiscal year while 29 percent faced a deficit and 37 percent broke even.

The data comes from “New Jersey Non-Profits 2017,” a report conducted by the Center for Non-Profits. The report is based on responses from 301 organizational representatives who responded to an online survey conducted in mid-March.

Overall, 48 percent of organizations reported being better off in the past year than in the previous one and 53 percent anticipate being in a better position next year, both representing four-year lows. One in 10 respondents (10 percent) expect to be worse off next year, the highest reported since 2011.

Financial uncertainty (59 percent) was the primary concern voiced by the organizational representatives, followed by a need for better branding and communications (50 percent) and a stronger board (44 percent). On the fundraising front, more than two out of five (43 percent) of respondents reported that a previous fundraising source had informed them that they would either cease giving or give less during 2016. Foundations (62 percent), corporations (36 percent), and individual donors (32 percent) were the most likely to express such intentions. Shifting priorities (55 percent) and general cutbacks (30 percent) were cited most often as reason.

In response, increases to programming and staff were being considered by 40 percent and 33 percent of respondents, respectively, while cuts to programming and staff were under consideration in 27 percent and 22 percent of organizations. More than half of respondents (51 percent) reported launching new partnerships and collaborations in 2016, predominantly with other organizations. Examples included partnerships with parks and school-based programs addressing behavior needs and collaborations with arts and health groups.

Those surveyed also provided examples of changes in programming aimed at addressing trends they have seen. Such initiatives include increasing investment in diversity and cultural competence training, expansion of mental-health services, and the launching of mission-based revenue-generating ventures.

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