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March 21, 2010; New York Times | Things have a long way to go before nonprofit groups can start returning to business as it used to be and it also looks like things are not getting much better for people who are depending on these groups to help them.

According to a survey of 1,315 groups conducted by the Nonprofit Finance Fund (NFF)—and reported in the New York Times—some 80 percent of respondents say they expect 2010 to be harder on them than last year, and that they’ll be asked to do more this year than in 2009. At the same time, only 49 percent believe they can deliver services to all those in need.

Commenting on the survey, NFF chief executive, Clara Miller, said, “One of the clearest messages coming out of this survey is that any kind of green shoots of recovery are very slow to get to the nonprofit sector. Any recovery is not actually reaching people in dire need and the frontline organizations that serve them.”

Compounding problems for nonprofits are expected declines in giving and inability of governments to pay on time for services they contract these groups to provide.  If there’s any cheer in the survey, Miller says it’s the way nonprofits are facing their difficulties head on and taking steps to keep their organizations afloat and focused on doing the best job they can.  To cope, nonprofits reported collaborating with each other, cutting salaries, trimming staff, and starting revenue producing programs.

As always, nonprofits are demonstrating, when cash is in short supply, it’s time to tap into reserves of ingenuity. We’d love to hear what you have done!—Bruce Trachtenberg

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