Over half of charitable non-profit organizations reported a decrease in contributions over the past few months, a new survey shows.
The percentage of those reporting a decline grew from 34 percent for January through September 2008 to 52 percent for October 2008 through February 2009, according to GuideStar, a source for nonprofit information.
More specifically, the survey found that 31 percent of charities reported a "modest" drop in contributions while another 21 percent said contributions fell "greatly."
Only 20 percent reported an increase while another 27 percent said contributions stayed about the same.
"The economy is having a profound impact on nonprofits," stated Bob Ottenhoff, president and CEO of GuideStar, in the report.
"That more than half of charitable organizations reported a drop in contributions during a period that included the last three months of the year, when giving traditionally rises, indicates the severity of the financial challenges nonprofits are facing," he added.
Overall, 71 percent of organizations that reported a drop in contributions said fewer individuals gave and donation gifts were smaller. Moreover, 31 percent of grantmakers gave less money in grants.
Although only 35 percent of organizations cut their annual budgets from 2008 to 2009, GuideStar was quick to point out that an increase in demand for the charities' services, rather than higher donations, were the likely cause for not slashing budgets.
A majority (59 percent) reported an increase in demand for their services.
Among non-profits that had to cut their budgets, 45 percent froze staff salaries, 30 percent laid off employees, and 57 percent reduced services.
Eight percent of charities are on the verge of closing their doors, the survey found.
The survey, released Wednesday, was conducted online on March 2-16. Among nearly 3,000 responses, most came from public charities and some were from private foundations.
GuideStar plans to conduct more surveys this year to find out how non-profits are coping with the recession.