Monday, March 28, 2011

More About Nonprofits and the Recession

The other day, we posted a story about how the recession impacted nonprofits.  Today, we wanted to follow up on that story a little bit.  Over the weekend, The Charleston Post Courier posted a story about some local nonprofits that have either succeeded or faltered during the Great Recession.  It's a pretty fascinating read, to say the least.

The story starts with information about Florence Crittenton Programs, an NPO dedicated to helping poor mothers in South Carolina.  The director there, Lisa Belton, had to start working for 30% less than the previous director made because donations were fading because of the country's economic plight.  As she explains, she made a personal sacrifice to help an organization she cares so deeply for.

Yet the story provides an interesting contrast by describing how Goodwill Industries of Lower South Carolina fared.  Located just a few miles from Florence Crittenton, this nonprofit organization was on the opposite end of the spectrum.  During the same period that saw Forence Crittenton Programs suffer, Good Will Industries flourished, posting double-digit revenue increases.  In fact, the organization did so well that in 2009, it gave its president a $31,375 bonus in addition to the $228,417 he already made annually. 

Thus was the story of South Carolina Non-profits (and, really, nonprofits all across the country).  As donors started saving their money instead of donating, organizations had to do more with little.  Some agencies, like Goodwill, managed to harness this better; and some, like Florence Crittenton, did not.  This is not a judgement on either of these organizations, though it probably was a little easier for Goodwill with its large network.  At the same time, however, a local South Carolina food bank, Lowcountry Food Bank, was able to succeed in this environment as well.  By spreading their message of how food was a priority, this NPO was able to raise a lot of money; their revenue rose by nearly $23 million (or 45%) from 2007 and continued during the worst of the recession.

This story is a great read on how differnet NPOs managed to survive (or struggle) through one of the worst economic downturns this country has experienced, and we at The NonProfit Times recommend you read this story in its entirety.

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