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Survey finds not-for-profits in decline

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Entitled Managing in a Downturn, the survey was conducted during April and May 2009, and focuses on the perceptions of not-for-profits (NFPs) across Australia of the economic downturn’s impact on their income and expenditure, as well as management actions they have implemented or are planning to help them through the downturn.

Key points:

– NFP incomes are declining, and are expected to continue to decline.

– Government funding still a stable source of income, while investment incomes have suffered.

– Large organisations are faring better as their revenues have declined less and they typically have larger reserves.

Main points:

  • Operational costs are expected to increase over the next year, requiring NFPs to rely upon existing reserves or find efficiencies in order to maintain service levels.
  • 30 per cent of NFPs have already implemented cost reduction measures, and more are planning cost reductions in the next year. The top three planned cost reductions are staff.
  • NFPs are responding to the downturn by increasing fundraising activities, looking to increased government support, boosting volunteer numbers, and developing new marketing and brand awareness campaigns.
  • Improved strategic planning and management is also a high priority. Areas of focus include proactive detailed scenario planning, detailed activity-based budgets and management accounts, and board and trustee involvement.

A collaboration between PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), the Fundraising Institute Australia and the Centre for Social Impact, the survey draws upon a similar survey conducted by PwC in the UK last year.

Major events such as the bushfires in Victoria and floods in Queensland led to very substantial charitable contributions across Australia. Respondents were asked to consider their survey responses outside the one-off impact of these natural disasters.

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