Nonprofits May Provide Stability Through Recession

Nonprofit employers are providing one of the “few bright spots” for jobseekers in the recession, according to a new study from researchers at the Johns Hopkins University Center for Civil Society Studies.

Between 2007 and 2009, nonprofit employment grew by an average of 2.5 percent per year even as employment in for-profit businesses fell an average of 3.3 percent per year.

And nonprofit growth during the recession was stronger than it had been from 2001 to 2007, which was supposedly a boom.

The study only looked at 21 states, but the states were spread across the U.S.

But a bigger caveat is that while this growth was occurring, it wasn’t easy: 40 percent of nonprofits surveyed in a separate Johns Hopkins study “currently lack adequate staff to deliver their programs and services,” and nearly half of staff members surveyed are having extra work dumped on them, 39 percent are going through a salary freeze, and nearly a quarter (23 percent) are working extra hours or had their benefits cut.

Is this tradeoff worthwhile? Would you trade extra work for stability?