Lehigh Valley nonprofits generated total revenue of $4.31 billion in 2009. But a study of the nonprofit sector in the Lehigh Valley just released by a pair of Muhlenberg College professor shows that, while that number seems large, it is not spread evenly across the sector.
According to the study, hospitals are the big winners in the nonprofit arena.
“Hospitals make up just over one percent of the nonprofits, yet they generate 47 percent of the revenue,” said Roland Kushner, Muhlenberg associate professor of business, one of the study's authors. “Higher education institutions, which account for an even smaller share of the nonprofit sector, generate another 17 percent of revenue.”
The survey, conducted last year among 169 Lehigh Valley nonprofits, revealed valuable information about the variety of services offered by these nonprofits, the organizations' relationships with each other, and their expectations for the future said the authors.
“Particularly interesting was the overall level of optimism of nonprofits in the study. Nonprofit providers expect less funding and more requests for service in the future,” said co-author Michele Moser Deegan, associate professor of political science at Muhlenberg.
“They intend to maintain services already provided, drawing from more public and private support as well as volunteers, which will be challenging in light of the current economy and state budget cuts.”
The study concludes that while the many small nonprofit organizations in the Lehigh Valley certainly benefit the community, they often lack adequate resources to meet service demands, raise funds and grow.
There is an opportunity for positive change if organizations work together, particularly in the areas of service delivery, the sharing of resources and training.In their next report, Deegan and Kushner said they intend to make an informed trend analysis of the nonprofit sector, using the 2009 data as a benchmark year.