“Regardless of who is at fault for society today, we must take care of each other. Since governments cannot find a way to do this, it has fallen to non-profit organizations. We have risen to the occasion. However, we need you to stop making it harder for people and business to give. Actually, you need to make it easier.”- A nonprofit leader
Report to the Legislature 2011
We were honored to present the findings from our latest study to the Joint Social Services Appropriations Committee last week. Here is an experpt from the full report
Like the private sector, our studies have shown Utah’s nonprofits to be responsive to changes in the economy. Our nonprofit sector is increasingly collaborative and innovative. They have created or deepened collaborations, allowing them to continue to meet community needs and reach out to new populations. They have found efficiencies in operations and made very significant, and repeated, cuts to their budgets. They have dismissed staff and taken reductions in both pay and benefits.
Nonprofits are also actively seeking to ensure their future in the following ways. In 2010:
- Community Foundation of Utah’s “Enlightened Entrepreneurs” programs have linked 65 nonprofits with 100 entrepreneurs to develop new business models.
- 27% entered a new collaboration or partnership with a business entity
- 40% entered a new collaboration with another nonprofit; and
- 29% entered a new partnership with a government entity
Top Concerns and Recommendation for Legislative Consideration
Nonprofit leaders are entrepreneurial, determined, and passionate – and astute. They anticipate changes in the political and economic landscape, and perceive real threats in changes in public policy. Chief among these is an increasing reliance on the nonprofit sector to take care of community needs coupled with a further reduction in government support for human services and education.
Nonprofit leaders do not believe – or universally want – the state to tax its way out of this recession. They understand that a competitive tax policy can help drive economic growth. But, they are concerned that those businesses that relocate to Utah using favorable tax policy are not sufficiently held accountable for contributions back to their local communities.
Nonprofits also encourage the state to develop favorable economic climates for their long term financial health. Proposals to create state tax incentives for donations and endowments to Utah nonprofits are highly supported.
- Strong majorities (86%) agree or strongly agree with the creation of a state tax incentive for individual donations and corporate donations to Utah nonprofits.
- Slightly smaller majorities (70%) like the idea of creating state tax incentives for individual and corporate gifts to create and build endowments.
Where We are Today
More than half of the agencies we surveyed said they conduct little or no legislative advocacy. Most say they do not have the staff or the time.
Nonprofits want their elected officials to understand that they are working hard on behalf of all the citizens of our state and that they cannot continue to absorb the need indefinitely.
- 70% of Utah’s nonprofits are today either running a deficit or operating on less than three months of reserves.
- 44% do not think they will have the resources to meet community demand in 2011.
Nonprofit leaders are optimistic. They have to be. So while they worry that they will not have sufficient resources to meet demand in 2011, most are looking forward to 2011 positively. In fact, more nonprofits view things as looking up than expect more hardships in the coming year (33% to 16%). They know the decisions you make will directly impact their ability to meet their mission.
Nonprofits ask the state legislature to remember their role in our collective society.
“How many legislators have experienced a service or a program and not even thought about how empty the community would be without these opportunities? The Zoo, the Arts Festival, EVE. The emergency services, health and homeless, the preventive groups, Volunteers of America, Red Cross, Alliance House, Hope House etc, keeping people in a fragile place safe. The support social services: Bad Dog Arts, Spy Hop, after school programs, grief support programs, scout programs, dance programs funded by the ZAP tax money. Organizations like the Assistance League, Donated Dental Services, Neighborhood House, The Children's Center, YMCA … The list goes on and on. I charge every person to try and say they have never interacted with a nonprofit of some sort. They could be here today, and gone tomorrow... - An Executive Director