D.C. and N.Y. Charities Reveal Recession Jitters in New Surveys
March 12, 2009, Chronicle of Philanthropy — Among nonprofit organizations in the Washington and New York metropolitan areas, staff members who run programs are most likely to be laid off this year, while fund raisers at those charities are most likely to see their ranks increase, according to a pair of new surveys on nonprofit salaries.
The surveys, by the recruiter Professionals for NonProfits, which maintains offices in both cities, found that 29 percent of Washington charities that responded said they expect to decrease the number of employees who run programs, with 24 percent of New York charities surveyed reporting the same.
By contrast, one-quarter of Washington organizations and 21 percent of New York charities that responded to the survey said they expect to hire fund raisers in 2009.
These findings are not surprising, says Gayle A. Brandel, president of Professionals for NonProfits.
“Whenever we find that an organization has to go through some sort of a budget trimming, unfortunately we find that it affects programs, and they tend to be able to cut programs much more quickly, much more easily than they can other things. So programs tend to be cut first,” Mr. Brandel says.
Conversely, “in times when it’s so critically important for monies to be raised, fund-raising staff would be the focus,” she says.
As a result, she adds, fund raisers’ salaries are the only ones that are increasing with any consistency, because competition for talent with that expertise is so keen.
The surveys—based on data from 350 nonprofit organizations in Washington and 480 in New York—were conducted in December. Both are conducted annually, with a new survey of New Jersey organizations added this year.
Respondents for all surveys included art and cultural, education, health-care, international, and social-service groups, as well as noncharitable nonprofit associations. The groups’ budget sizes ranged from less than $2-million to more than $50-million.