Seventh Annual GuideStar Nonprofit Economic Survey Reveals Significant Challenges for Charities

Results contrast greatly with those from only one year ago
Release date: October 29, 2008
Washington, D.C., and Williamsburg, Va.—A new GuideStar survey shows that the proportion of charity representatives reporting decreased contributions nearly doubled between 2007 and 2008, and that almost half of participants from nonprofits that rely on end-of-year gifts expect donations to decline during the last quarter of 2008 compared to the last quarter of 2007.

GuideStar, the leading provider of nonprofit information, asked individuals associated with charitable nonprofits how their organizations fared financially during the first nine months of 2008 compared to the first nine months of 2007. Some 38 percent reported increased contributions, 25 percent said contribution levels had remained about the same, 35 percent reported a decrease, and 2 percent did not know.

By contrast, in 2007, 52 percent of participants said that contributions had increased, 25 percent said they were about the same, 19 percent said they had decreased, and 4 percent did not know.

In both 2007 and 2008, nearly half (46 percent) of the participants said that their organizations receive the majority of contributions during the last quarter of the year, the period known as the giving season. Last year, however, 60 percent of this group predicted that contributions during the 2007 giving season would exceed those from 2006, whereas this year, 49 percent said they expect decreased end-of-year donations.

The 2007 and 2008 survey results were similar in one area. This year, 64 percent of participants reported that demand for their organizations' services had increased during the first nine months of 2008 compared to the first nine months of 2007. Last year, 67 percent of participants reported increased demand.

"The results of our seventh annual nonprofit economic survey highlight the importance of the 2008 giving season," stated Bob Ottenhoff, GuideStar's president and CEO. "For the first time in five years, the number of participants reporting decreased giving nearly equals the number reporting increased contributions. Meanwhile, demand for nonprofit services continues to rise. I hope donors will realize that, even if they cannot give as much as they have in the past, every gift they can make during this time of shrinking resources and increased demand is valuable."

About the Survey

GuideStar's seventh annual nonprofit economic survey was conducted on-line October 6-20, 2008. Some 2,927 individuals representing at least 2,730 charitable organizations participated. Survey results for a particular state can be requested. See the survey >

About GuideStar

GuideStar,, connects people and organizations with information on the programs and finances of more than 1.7 million IRS-recognized nonprofits. GuideStar serves a wide audience inside and outside the nonprofit sector, including individual donors, nonprofit leaders, grantmakers, government officials, academic researchers, and the media.

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