UCLA Report: How Recession is Affecting Nonprofits
Jan 31, 2012
As Manager of Research and Evaluation, Kevin oversees evaluation efforts across
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As part of our Special Initiatives grantmaking, we fund research on occasion that can help us understand the trends and issues facing the nonprofit sector. After all, we can only accomplish our mission through the hard work of the nonprofit organizations that we partner with. Understanding the nonprofit environment helps us do a better job of aligning our grant support with their needs and opportunities.
A great example of Irvine-funded research along these lines was released on January 31 by the UCLA Center for Civil Society. Since 2003 the center has published annual reports on the state of the nonprofit sector in Los Angeles; this year’s report focused on how the recession is affecting human service organizations. The report, Stressed and Stretched: The Recession, Poverty and Human Services Nonprofits in Los Angeles, shows how reduced revenues from government and individuals has caused nonprofits to do more with less at a time when the number of Angelenos in need of social services is growing. Nonprofits serving the lowest income neighborhoods, and those serving African Americans in particular, have been hardest hit.
In order to help nonprofit leaders reflect and respond to this new research, the Center hosted a State of the Sector conference on January 31 that drew over 200 nonprofit executive directors and senior staff. In addition to sharing the report findings, Frank Gilliam, Dean of the UCLA Luskin School for Public Affairs, discussed the importance of connecting with potential allies and donors on shared values. David LaPiana, a nationally recognized expert on nonprofit management, shared ideas for how nonprofit leaders can use partnerships and collaborations to enhance their impact, even while budgets are tight and fundraising is down.
We hope reports like this help funders, and anyone else who cares about nonprofits, understand how the nonprofit sector is responding to these challenging economic times. If you have any thoughts about this report, or Irvine’s support for this kind of research, I welcome you to comment below.