Stretched to the Limit: economic impact survey, Alberta’s nonprofits & charities by the Calgary Chamber of Voluntary Organizations. Results from October 2009.

No one needs to be reminded that times are tough; as we develop coping mechanisms for the current economic situation, many nonprofit organizations are unsure of what the future will bring.
The Calgary Chamber of Voluntary Organizations (CCVO) has released data from its third survey of nonprofits in Alberta, and results line up with the general atmosphere: Nonprofits have been hit hard by the economic downturn and are afraid of what further economic hardship may bring.

The sector has done a good job of coping with the various impacts of the recession. Organizations have looked to streamline their operations, letting go of staff where necessary while trying to maintain programs. Cost cutting is done in areas that will not affect programs; in some instances this results in greater collaboration, partnerships, and mergers. Many programs have been saved by these efforts.

Another major impact of economic hard times has been an increase in service demands, especially in the health and social service sectors. Respondents in this survey revealed that many clients are coming to them who have never had to look for outside help before. As organizations are struggling to find finances to meet existing needs, the demand for their services is increasing.

The CCVO’s survey shows that nonprofit organizations have seen decreases in revenue received from every source: fundraising campaigns, corporate support, earnings, government grants, and every other type of support.

While organizations have efficiently dealt with tighter budgets up to this point, this survey indicates that there is little room for them to deal with further constraints if current conditions continue.

The survey data represents responses from organizations across Alberta, although most participants were from nonprofits in Edmonton and Calgary.

For more information on this or the CCVO’s other surveys on economic impacts of the recession go to their website at www[dot]calgarycvo[dot]org.

Read this report if you work in the nonprofit sector and would like to know how your organization measures up with current trends.

You can find this report in our library, or download the PDF online through our library catalogue.
Review by Jennifer Hoyer 

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