Nonprofits in Utah dropped by 38 percent to 3,568 since 2009 as many are struggling to find finances for already struggling budgets, according to a study by the Community Foundation of Utah.
Four out of every five nonprofit organizations in Utah work with budgets of less than $100,000 while employing more than 5 percent of the state’s work force.
“At the beginning of the recession, corporate giving in Utah tanked,” Fraser Nelson, executive director of the Community Foundation of Utah, said in a phone interview. “There is no doubt that the worst nonprofits hit were in rural areas. Our data has showed this consistently.”
Nonprofits in rural areas struggled the most because most of their contributions came from businesses like car dealerships and local grocery stores, which cut back after the recession, Nelson said.
Beginning in 2012, 31 percent of organizations had less than 3 months of operating capital, according to the study. Forty-six percent reported they have not seen any signs of recovery.
Despite the declines, there is hope for nonprofits in Utah.
“One of the things nonprofits can do is understand how to generate revenue,” Nelson said.
Over the past three years, nonprofits, like the Head Start Program and the Road Home, have learned how to generate revenue by innovating the products and services they offer, Nelson said.