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March 26, 2013 / Christian Clansky

Majority of nonprofits don’t think they can afford to meet demand for services

The 2013 Nonprofit Finance Fund’s survey of more about 6,000 nonprofits finds that the majority of respondents don’t think they have enough money to meet service demands (Chronicle, 3/25):

– For the first time in the survey’s five years, more than half of the charities said they were unable to meet demands for assistance last year, and even more groups expect to struggle to do so this year.

– One in four groups is running so close to the bone it had less than 30 days’ cash in hand.

– Thirty-nine percent of the charities said their financial situation is so challenging they plan to change how they raise and spend money.

Another key finding is that nonprofits are trying to cope with cuts in government funding by turning more to private philanthropy. The Bank of America Charitable Foundation sponsored the survey and it’s president, Kerry Sullivan, says:

Philanthropy and government can’t cover the costs and expenses needed to deliver on the increasing demand…The challenge, and what we’re thinking about, is looking at new ways to drive capital to help nonprofits.

Related: It’s important to consider the size of the nonprofit sector when having discussions about its financial health. According to the Urban Institute, there are about 2.3 million nonprofit organizations operating in the United States.

GIVING | Did you know that Americans who earn in the top 20 percent only give an average of 1.3 percent to charity? And those in the bottom 20 percent give 3.2 percent? The Atlantic asks why that is and uses our region as a case study. The bottom line: “[I]nsulation from people in need may dampen the charitable impulse.” (Atlantic, April 2013 issue)

If that theory is indeed true, then the phrase “ignorance is bliss” seems perfectly appropriate for significant parts of our region.

– Yesterday we wrote about former HUD secretary Henry Cisneros’ observations of housing trends. Today, Rebekah shares Cisneros’ ten recommendations for our region’s funders. (Daily, 3/26)

Is the Washington, D.C.-area housing market bubbling again? (WaPo, 3/26)

Washington-area foreclosure rates lower (WTOP, 3/26)

YOUTH | The DC Alliance of Youth Advocates is conducting a survey of currently and formerly disconnected youth. If your organization serves members of this population, they need your help collecting survey responses. [More info.]

EDUCATION | The latest on the Prince George’s schools situation is that legislation has been introduced in the Maryland Senate. The bill does give County Executive Rushern Baker more direct control over the school system, but not nearly at the level he was seeking. It basically splits the responsibilities between Baker and the school board. Baker is hoping that amendments will be added in his favor. (WaPo, 3/26)

As we know from the federal government, split political power is the elixir of successful reform. No wait, I meant poison. Sorry.

ARTS/BUDGETS | The District’s FY2013 budget includes the biggest increase in arts funding of any state in the country. The increase is an excellent 133%. (Elevation DC, 3/26)

CORRECTION | I accidentally called LISC by the wrong name yesterday. Please note that their correct name is the Local Initiatives Support Corporation. I wrote “Collaborative.” Apologies for the mistake.

Breaking a law in Egypt is near the top of my list of things I’d avoid like the Ten Plagues, but that’s not the case for some Russian photographers. They climbed the great pyramids and took some truly spectacular photos of the view. They also made the mistake of taking pictures of their own faces, which seems like a terrible idea.

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