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Financial Sustainability for Nonprofit Organizations

Financial Sustainability for Nonprofit Organizations: A Review of the Literature

Lisa M. Sontag-Padilla
Lynette Staplefoote
Kristy Gonzalez Morganti
Copyright Date: 2012
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 44
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  • Book Info
    Financial Sustainability for Nonprofit Organizations
    Book Description:

    Nonprofits face a myriad of challenges in establishing and maintaining financial sustainability, and these challenges are exacerbated for nonprofits serving low-resources, high-need communities. This literature review identifies key themes and findings that may inform operations and decisionmaking related to improving sustainability in such organizations.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-8278-7
    Subjects: Finance, Health Sciences, Population Studies

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-i)
  2. Preface
    (pp. ii-ii)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. iii-iv)
  4. Figures
    (pp. v-v)
  5. Summary
    (pp. vi-viii)
  6. Acknowledgements
    (pp. ix-ix)
  7. Chapter One: Introduction
    (pp. 1-6)

    The YMCA (Y) is a nonprofit, “cause-driven organization that is for youth development, for healthy living and for social responsibility” (Y-USA, 2012). The Y was founded in London in 1844 and currently has a presence in 10,000 communities across the United States. The Y offers programs, services, and initiatives focused on the unique needs of the communities it serves (YUSA, 2012).

    The YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh has 19 branches and three camps and is committed to serving the greater Pittsburgh area by ensuring that the Y is accessible to all people, offering financial assistance to individuals and families who cannot...

  8. Chapter Two: Challenges and Promising Practices of Financial Sustainability in Nonprofit Organizations
    (pp. 7-19)

    In this chapter, we present key sustainability challenges that are common among nonprofits and identify promising practices to address issues these challenges. Specifically, we discuss challenges related to establishing financial sustainability and, in turn, supporting programmatic or organizational success: (1) reliance on external funding, (2) the nonprofit “brand,” (3) external expectations of partnerships, (4) expectations of value and accountability, and (5) community engagement and leadership. Again, this review is not intended to be exhaustive, but rather to be a higher-level discussion of common challenges identified in the nonprofit field.

    In contrast to for-profit organizations, nonprofits in the United States depend...

  9. Chapter Three: Implications for Financial Sustainability in Nonprofits Serving Low-Income Populations
    (pp. 20-26)

    As highlighted in the previous chapter, financial sustainability is a challenge that most nonprofit organizations must address: maintaining financial security in an evolving funding landscape, contending with “competing” nonprofit organizations while establishing collaborative partnerships, demonstrating value and accountability to funders and investors, and maximizing the contribution of leadership within the community. However, these challenges become exacerbated, if not overshadowed, by other factors for nonprofits serving those communities most in need. Nonprofit organizations serving high-need or low-income, and sometimes minority, populations are faced with balancing multiple community challenges on multiple fronts that reach far beyond the mission of the organization (e.g.,...

  10. Chapter Four: Conclusions
    (pp. 27-27)

    Sustainability for nonprofit organizations has long been of interest to organization leaders, funders, and the communities in which nonprofits reside. However, in the face of the recent economic downturn and increased expectations of mission impact and accountability, nonprofit organizations face a myriad of challenges in establishing and defining sustainability in the long term. These challenges are particularly salient for nonprofits serving vulnerable, high-need, and low-income populations because of the need to juggle a higher reliance on external funding streams (e.g., grants and contracts) with a range of economic, cultural, and social demands that go beyond the social mission of the...

  11. References
    (pp. 28-31)
  12. Appendix: Financial Sustainability Challenges and Promising Practices References Categorized by Literature Review Themes
    (pp. 32-34)