Fourth Annual Agency Survey
Each year for the last four years, United Way has conducted a survey of the nonprofit agencies that receive United Way funding. The fourth annual survey has been conducted and the results are now available. A few key highlights:
- The increase in number of people served seems to have finally peaked: For the first time since we began this survey, fewer than half of the responding agencies (45%) reported that client load increased in the prior year.
- There was a significant jump in the proportion of agencies reporting an increase in the number of unaccompanied or homeless youth they are seeing.
- More than half (55%) of the agencies reported they lost government funding in 2011. But the same portion (55%) reported increased revenue through individual donations.
But to my mind, some of the most interesting findings are reflected in the following graphic:
A few key things stand out to me:
- Note that more than half of the agencies had salary freezes in place in 2009, 2010, and 2011.
- 30% or more have conducted layoffs in all four years of the survey.
- One-third of the agencies have a hiring freeze in place.
And here are a couple of troubling trends: More agencies each year are reducing staff hours and giving staff unpaid time off. Last year, more than 40% of agencies reduced staff hours, while 20% gave staff unpaid time off.
This trend fills me with concern for employees in the nonprofit sector, which accounts for about 10% of Minnesota jobs. This is a microcosm reflective of the economy and why it is so sluggish: layoffs, salary freezes, reduced staff hours, unpaid time off. And while inflation is low, it still exists, and if health care premiums and out-of-pocket expenses increase on top of that, there is simply less money to cover expenses. It is small wonder that retail sales declined for the third month in a row in June. Many workers are having to stretch fewer dollars ever further.
Were there any glimmers of hope? A few. For example, half of the agencies indicated they are likely to hire staff in 2012 (19% very likely, 33% somewhat likely). A good portion (44%) of agencies reported a gain in revenue over the course of the recession. And 40% report they are starting to see signs of improvement in the economy.