Non-profits Should Network to Survive Economy During Holidays

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Purse strings are tightening for individuals and corporations alike this holiday season, and donations may be the first to be cut from holiday budgets. Non-profit organizations should take steps to ensure they stay afloat during the current economic recession, says Ray Sarnacki, visiting assistant professor of management at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia.

According to the Giving USA Foundation, non-profits historically receive most of their donations from individuals. In 2007, nearly 82 percent of all charitable giving came from individuals. Corporations accounted for only 5.1 percent of all donations, with foundational contributions slightly higher at 12.6 percent.

In times of recession, charitable giving decreases. In 2001, the last time the economy condensed, donations fell by 2.3 percent, according to the Giving USA Foundation.

Sarnacki says that for non-profits to weather the recessional storm, they must receive funding from many different sources.

“Non-profits need to develop multiple and diverse funding streams to sustain them if one source drops off,” explains Sarnacki. “They must invest in strengthening and expanding relationships with influential people, especially board members, who can help them generate additional revenue during tough economic times.”

In order to prevent marginal non-profit organizations from going by the wayside, Sarnacki suggests they merge together with similar non-profits to strengthen their support systems.

“Strong non-profits have a network of people—both individuals and corporations—to sustain them,” Sarnacki explained. Sarnacki can be reached for comment at 610-660-3139, by e-mail at, or by calling the Office of University Communications at 610-660-1222.

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