News and Information about the nonprofit sector in Massachusetts. Check back frequently to keep informed.
December 3, 2021
Nonprofit Jobs Growth Stalls; Full Recovery Expected Next Fall

October 14, 2021 — Nonprofits nationally shed jobs in September, compared to August, stalling a slow but steady recovery from pandemic-induced job losses over the course of 2021, according to one recently released report, while another indicated that for the first time in years the sector witnessed an increase in the number of people donating.

“While September’s stalling of the consistent, if slow, recovery seen over the course of 2021 is discouraging—especially the sizable losses recorded in educational institutions—it is important to note that disruptions to normal hiring patterns make this field difficult to track in real-time,” said the Center for Civil Society Studies (CCSS) at Johns Hopkins University, which released updated nonprofit sector employment figures.

As a result, the center pushed back its forecast of nonprofit sector job recovery to pre-pandemic levels from July 2022 to September or October 2022.

Although the reports did not provide state-specific numbers, Massachusetts trends generally reflect national nonprofit changes.

Of the major fields of nonprofit activity the center tracks, the educational field was the hardest hit in September, followed by health care, religious, grantmaking, civic, professional, and similar organizations lost.

On the positive side, social assistance organizations and nonprofit arts, entertainment, and recreational organizations continued a recent strong recovery trend during September.

The nonprofit workforce remained down by nearly 560,000 jobs—or 4.5%—in September vs. its estimated pre-pandemic level. These missing jobs, according to the center, included 15% of all workers in nonprofit arts and entertainment organizations; 7% of those in education; 4% of workers in nonprofit social service institutions; 5% of workers in religious, grantmaking, and civic associations, and in and 3.4% of workers in health care institutions.

Nonprofit Health Report Cites Smaller Budgets, but More Donors

Many nonprofits used reserve funds to stay open over the course of the coronavirus pandemic, but risked financial stability, according to Independent Sector’s second annual Health of the U.S. Nonprofit Sector report, released Tuesday.

For the first time in years, the sector witnessed an increase of people donating, according to the report, “creating an opportunity to communicate our societal value to new and returning donors.”

“As nonprofits continue to cope with COVID-19, the extent to which their resources will keep pace with what communities need demands greater, urgent attention,” said Daniel J. Cardinali, president and CEO of Independent Sector.

Report highlights include the following:

  • COVID-19 brought monumental change to nonprofits, but the experience of individual organizations varied by subsector and size. For example, nonprofits serving the arts – vital for creative expression and connecting people – suffered differently than other subsectors.

  • The pandemic caused nonprofit budgets to shrink, especially for organizations that rely on fees-for-service. Many nonprofits used reserve funds to stay open but risked financial stability.

  • Community needs for services provided by nonprofits nationwide have grown.

Though 40% of nonprofits reported serving fewer people last year, they still had significant reach, with 57% of people in the nation saying they received services from a sector organization, according to Independent Sector.

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