SOURCE: Orange County Funders Roundtable

Orange County Funders Roundtable --

February 23, 2010 15:03 ET

New Report Shows Impact of Recession on Orange County Nonprofit Organizations; Over 50% of Surveyed Nonprofits Lost Anticipated Funding in 2009

SANTA ANA, CA--(Marketwire - February 23, 2010) - The Orange County Funders Roundtable has released the results of a new economic impact survey, which underscores the dramatic impact the 2009 recession has had on the Orange County nonprofit sector. This report, "The Economy and Orange County Nonprofit Organizations: 2009 Update," shows both the impact of the economic downturn on nonprofit operations and the impact of an anticipated slow recovery in 2010.

This new report contains findings from two surveys; the first was conducted in January 2009 and the second in December 2009. Both were delivered by email to the same list of 577 nonprofits serving Orange County residents. The surveys asked nonprofit leaders about their experiences to date and their expectations for the coming year in relation to their budgets, operations, fundraising and service delivery. This latest survey shows that 2009 was every bit as bad or worse than the nonprofit organizations anticipated at the beginning of 2009. 

Orange County nonprofits have been faced with a dramatic increase in community need -- 66.7% of nonprofits reported a greater demand for services in 2009 than in 2008. At the same time, 2009 saw severe decreases in revenue, with 50% of nonprofits reporting fewer individual donations, over 51% losing anticipated grants or contracts, and more than 50% reporting budget declines of 20% or more.

As a result of these economic pressures, the report showed a substantial increase in the number of nonprofits reducing operating costs and delaying purchases of new equipment and materials. In January 2009, 21% of nonprofits anticipated reducing staff during 2009; in December, 47% of nonprofits reported they had reduced staff. The report also shows trending away from grants and donations as primary income sources with more nonprofits exploring in-kind donations, consolidation and refinancing of debt, and earned income models.

In addition to the quantitative results showing trends in funding and strategy, survey respondents also gave candid feedback about how the economy has impacted their mission and operations. Said one respondent: "With the extreme reduction in staff, we are doing the same amount of work with half the staff." Another stated: "I believe we are a stronger team because we are facing these challenging times together..." Others shared a new understanding of the costs of certain types of revenue: "Not all grants are good grants," said a respondent. "Government grants that do not include administrative costs allow you to provide services, but drain your agency's resources." These observations show executives with a heightened understanding of how both the economy and types of available funding impact nonprofit operations.

"The report underscores the intense pressures that our local nonprofits are facing," said Shelley Hoss, Chair of the Orange County Funders Roundtable and President of the Orange County Community Foundation. "But the good news is that in the face of these economic pressures, nonprofit executives are demonstrating a willingness to explore new strategies and to make tough management decisions. They are continuing their commitment to meeting the needs of the Orange County community in the most effective way they can."

The report was distributed at a recent summit of nonprofit leaders, board members and funders who convened to discuss critical issues facing nonprofit organizations. Report results will continue to be used to support philanthropic decisions and regional dialogue focused on strengthening the nonprofit sector in Orange County.

For the full report please visit

For further information please contact Shelley Hoss at (949) 553-4202 ext. 25 or Anne Olin at (714) 647-0900 x101.

The Orange County Funders Roundtable (OCFR) is a funder collaborative committed to promoting effective philanthropy and strengthening the nonprofit sector in Orange County. Since 2006, OCFR has promoted information sharing and collaborative funding projects among regional funders, and sponsored community needs assessments to better gauge the issues facing local nonprofits. For more information visit

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Contact Information

    Shelley Hoss
    Chair, Orange County Funders Roundtable
    (949) 553-4202 x 25

    Anne Olin
    Executive Administrator, Orange County Funders Roundtable
    714-647-0900 x101