Milwaukee Nonprofits Still Feeling Effects of Economic Downturn, Report Finds

The decline in support and increase in demand that many Milwaukee nonprofits experienced in 2009 have continued to challenge local organizations in 2010, a new report from the Greater Milwaukee Foundation finds.

Funded in part by the Donors Forum of Wisconsin, the Faye McBeath Foundation, and the United Way of Greater Milwaukee, the fourteenth annual Report Card on Charitable Giving (22 pages, PDF) found that 66 percent of nonprofits in the region blame the economic downturn for a drop in giving, while 45 percent believe the state of philanthropy in the region is getting worse. Moreover, of the organizations providing direct services to clients, 62 percent reported that demand for assistance is increasing.

The report also found that nearly 80 percent of Milwaukee nonprofits have been forced to cut their costs; half have seen their expenses go up; more than 40 percent expect to see a decline in gift revenue from corporations, individual donors, and foundations; 38 percent have seen declines in revenue this year; and 33 precent expect to run a deficit this year, despite taking steps to control their expenses. Arts and culture organizations expressed the greatest concern about their financial health, with 35 percent of arts groups saying they struggle with chronic financial problems.

"Overall, it's the status quo for many organizations, and that's bad news considering how many agencies continue to face challenging financial times," said Greater Milwaukee Foundation president Doug Jansson. "Organizations are facing another tough year, and for many the end of this rough stretch is nowhere in sight."

"Nonprofits Face Another Year of Increased Need and Decreased Support." Greater Milwaukee Foundation Press Release 09/29/2010.