NFF State of the Sector Survey Data Analyisis for 2015

Nonprofit Finance Fund has done its annual analysis of data from the State of the Sector Survey. Of the 5,451 nonprofits that took the survey in 2015, more than 900 identified as arts and culture organizations. These groups represented a wide range of artistic disciplines, with top responses among Museums (15%) and Theatres (13%). An in-depth Special Supplement on the Arts & Culture Sector is also available.

Here is a rundown of the key findings from the latest data:

Under-resourced communities are going without because nonprofits can't meet demand. Americans —particularly those in low-income communities—are still struggling to secure jobs, affordable housing, and healthcare.
  • 76% of nonprofits reported an increase in demand for services—the 7th year that a majority have reported increases.
  • 52% couldn't meet demand—the third year in a row that more than half of nonprofits couldn't meet demand.
  • Of those who reported that they could not meet demand, 71% said that client needs go unmet when they can't provide services.

Nonprofits identified critical needs in their communities, including:

  • 35% affordable housing
  • 26% youth development (such as after-school and mentoring programs)
  • 23% job availability; 16% job training
  • 21% access to healthcare
  • 19% access to strong, well-performing schools

Recovery of the U.S. economy hasn't addressed the systemic and perpetual funding challenges facing nonprofits. While we are seeing some positive economic indicators, in many cases nonprofits are still hampered by insufficient funding and a lack of investment in long-term sustainability.

  • For some nonprofits, financial health indicators have improved: 47% ended 2014 with a surplus, the highest in the history of our survey.
  • However, 53% are reporting 3 months or less of cash-on-hand.
  • Nonprofits said that top challenges were:
    • Achieving long-term sustainability (32%)
    • The ability to offer competitive pay and/or retain staff (25%)
    • Raising funding that covers full costs (19%)

Nonprofits are navigating a time of immense need and change, while pursuing ways to build long-term sustainability and viability. Nonprofits continue to prove their ability to survive and thrive in tough conditions. They are working to ensure their ability to meet community needs now and in the years to come. Here are some of the ways they are investing in their futures:

  • 51% collaborated with another organization to improve or increase services offered.
  • 44% hired staff for new positions.
  • 33% upgraded hardware or software to improve service or program delivery.
  • 29% conducted long-term strategic or financial planning.

    Get complete information on the survey.