State of the sector survey

By Nonprofit Finance Fund, survey results |

NFF’s 2015 State of the Nonprofit Sector Survey focuses on the underlying causes of these dynamics by exploring the programmatic, financial, and operational issues facing nonprofits across the U.S. It launched the Survey in 2008, when economic crisis threatened the viability of many organizations.

Seven years later, results from 5,451 respondents show some indications of recovery, stabilization, and growth. Nonprofits are adding jobs, engaging in strategic conversations such as leadership succession planning, and looking to retain their workforce. Yet as they raise their sights from the focus on short-term crisis, many are confronting the troubling reality that current practices cannot sustain organizations in the long-term or meet the needs of the communities they serve now. Many organizations have stumbled out of crisis looking to make the necessary investments to secure their long-term future. And it is a hard road ahead. 

Key findings

Under-resourced communities are going without because nonprofits can’t meet demand. Americans — particularly those in low-income communities — are still struggling to secure jobs, affordable housing, and healthcare.

  • 76 percent of nonprofits reported an increase in demand for services — the 7th year that a majority have reported increases.
  • 52 percent couldn’t meet demand — the third year in a row that more than half of nonprofits couldn’t meet demand.
  • Of those who reported that they could not meet demand, 71 percent said that client needs go unmet when they can’t provide services.  

The 2015 NFF Survey Analyzer at allows you to investigate questions that cut across sub-sectors, budget size, geography and other dimensions.

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