Research Report

The Impact of the Great Recession on the Number of Charities by Subsector and Revenue Range

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  • This brief extends the analysis of the first brief in the series, "The Impact of the Great Recession on the Number of Charities," which compared closures among nonprofit organizations over two periods: the "baseline period" of 2004—08, which includes the years immediately before the recession's full impact, and the "recession period" of 2008—12, which includes the worst of the recession and its immediate after–math.
  • The brief takes a closer look at nonprofit organizations that ceased operations during the baseline and recession periods by revenue range and subsector (arts and culture, education, environment, health, human services, international affairs, public and societal benefit, and other).
  • In both time periods and across all subsectors, smaller organizations with revenues between $50,000 and $99,999 were most vulnerable to closure.
  • In all subsectors, organizational closure was more prevalent during the recession period (2008—12) than during the baseline period (2004—08).
  • However, organizations with revenues of $1 million and above were no more likely to cease operations during the recession period than during the baseline period.
  • The largest increase in closure rates occurred among international organizations, while human services experienced the smallest increase.
  • In addition to higher closure rates, the recession is also associated with loss of revenue among smaller nonprofits. Twenty–two percent of all organizations with $50,000 to $99,999 in revenue in 2004 had revenue fall below $50,000 in 2008. That share jumped to 30.1 percent for the 2008—12 period.