It’s The Economy…..Again

We’ve had two recent posts (here and here) concerning the impact an economic downturn will have on our Jewish communal world. Today, comes an article from the Chronicle of Philanthropy, Bracing for Tough Times, speaking about how many charities feel vulnerable as the economy slips.

“The faltering economy is starting to affect a growing number of charities and the people they serve. In recent weeks, nonprofit organizations have heard from donors who are putting off big gifts, and some groups that rely mostly on small donations have also seen a falloff.

Many social-service charities — especially those in states like California, Florida, Michigan, and Ohio, which economists believe have already entered a recession — are facing increased demand and such a severe budget crunch they may have to lay off workers. Rising gas and construction prices are adding to the challenge of financing services and expansion plans that numerous charities have under way.

“This is scary to me,” says Michael Seltzer, a philanthropy expert, consultant, and author of Securing Your Organization’s Future, a book about how nonprofit groups can survive hard times. “It’s going to have a dramatic impact on individual giving, foundation giving, corporate giving, government giving. We’re coming off a period of incredible accumulation of capital that led to major philanthropic gifts. We hope [a recession] won’t deter that.”

If past recessions are a guide, many charities can expect donations to tumble. According to figures released last week by Indiana University’s Center on Philanthropy, giving dropped an average of 1.3 percent — after adjusting for inflation — during the five national recessions since 1973. (Giving during non-recession years rose 4.3 percent.)

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