Recession not over, not-for-profits still struggling

Ontario Trillium Foundation survey finds most organizations surviving, some barely hanging on while others try new approaches

TORONTO, Jan. 12 /CNW/ -


Not-for-Profits across Ontario continue to feel the aftershocks of the recession, though many have used the downturn to launch new partnerships or explore alternative revenue streams, according to a survey released by the Ontario Trillium Foundation ( (OTF).

Following up on conversations first held in January 2009, the OTF returned in the fall to ask 100 Ontario not-for-profit organizations how they were faring, and what actions they had taken to cope with lowered donations, sponsorship or funding as well as higher demand for services.

There were notable changes in the status of organizations:

    The positive...
    -   More than 72% of respondents reported collaboration was increasing in
        the sector
    -   A large majority of organizations (87%) have now developed plans to
        manage through the current economic uncertainty
    -   There have been minimal layoffs or cutbacks in services (they're
        coping but stretched)

    The negative...
    -   More than 75% of respondents indicated that their organizations were
        feeling the effects of the recession (compared to about 30% in
    -   Almost two-thirds of organizations surveyed reported a decline in
        funding over the past year
    -   68% of respondents reported the fundraising climate was worse (34%)
        or the same (34%) as in January 2009
    -   About 30% of respondents reported some reduction in the number and
        value of corporate sponsorships
    -   68.9% reported experiencing an impact on their programs and services
        as a result of the downturn - 77% for social service organizations,
        56% for arts organizations, 67% for environmental organizations
        (which may see opportunities to increase revenue, community
        engagement or further environmental goals)
    -   Food banks reported an average 25% increase in demand for services
        across the province


"On the bright side, a majority of respondents indicated collaboration was increasing," said OTF CEO L. Robin Cardozo. "Several organizations noted that, in tough times, agencies are often forced to come together to look at what they have in common and how to support each other. That's a good thing."


Examples of what the Ontario Trillium Foundation heard:

    -   In Toronto,an environmental organization said some institutional
        funders or donors who in the past may have given $10,000 - $15,000
        have pulled back, giving in the $2,000-to-$5,000 range
    -   In Eastern Ontario, a credit and family counseling service was
        swamped with 1,000 new clients coming through the doors - in one
        month alone
    -   In Southwestern Ontario, an employment resource centre reported that
        by July client numbers had doubled over the previous year
    -   Organizations with endowment funds continue to face low returns on
        their endowment funds and the possibility of several more years of
        low investment earnings

    Examples of collaboration/resiliency:

    -   In Leamington, the Ontario Association of Food Banks partnered with
        local farmers to bring 300,000 pounds of fresh peppers to food banks
        in the area after donations from food manufacturers dropped
    -   In Toronto, several women's shelters have come together, with support
        from the province, to undertake a collective strategic planning
    -   In Cochrane and other northern communities, credit counseling
        agencies are exploring a joint marketing plan to make their
        advertising go further
    -   Ecology Ottawa is collaborating with low-income housing providers to
        find ways to lower energy bills for their buildings


A leading grantmaker in Canada, the Ontario Trillium Foundation strengthens the capacity of the voluntary sector through investments in community-based initiatives. An agency of the Government of Ontario, OTF builds healthy and vibrant communities.


Read more about the results of the OTF's Challenging Times ( survey or hear the audio clips on the social media release (

Read what other surveys have shown (

Learn more about the Ontario Trillium Foundation (

Follow L. Robin Cardozo on Twitter (

Ce communiqué est disponible en français

SOURCE Ontario Trillium Foundation

For further information: For further information: on the survey or more examples of how local community organizations said they are responding to the downturn, contact: Alexis Mantell, 1-800-263-2887 ext. 218,

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