Big Nonprofits Predict Bleak 2009

Hundreds of the nation’s largest nonprofits are predicting a 9 percent decline in donations for 2009, according to a discouraging new survey by the Chronicle of Philanthropy. It’s the most dramatic drop in giving the publication has reported in the 17 years it has surveyed the country’s 400 largest charities. Some of the nonprofits saw small fundraising increases in 2008, like Harvard University and the Salvation Army, but the survey says their donors had not yet felt the full force of the recession. “These are the most successful charities. If they are going to see a decline of 9 percent, the smaller, scrappier charities that don’t have all that going for them are going to be having a much harder time,’’ said Stacy Palmer, editor of the Chronicle of Philanthropy. Overall, large nonprofits saw a 1 percent increase in total amount raised in 2008, down from usual annual gains of 5 to 6 percent. “It’s going to be at least two more years until there’s real recovery,’’ Palmer said.