You're not going to like this post...

I'm sorry to rain on your holiday cheer, but I wanted to pass along some critical information just released by the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits on the effects of the current economic climate on Minnesota nonprofits.

Here's what's happening in a nutshell: The impact of the 2008 recession on Minnesota nonprofits has been quick and sharp. Nonprofits are experiencing a decline in total revenue, they are receiving reduced individual contributions, and at the same time they have to pay increased expenses. This has created a tough situation for nonprofits because they are being forced to cut back at the same time they are most needed.

The full report is worth the read and includes a list of strategies and next steps. You should also check out their annual report on Minnesota's nonprofit economy that describes the role of nonprofit organizations in Minnesota's economy by analyzing nonprofit employment, wage, and financial data. The report features a statewide analysis, as well as regional profiles.

I know things look rough, but without trying to sound glib, I think it's important to remember that the nonprofit sector is a vital piece of the U.S. economic pie. I think Kate Barr at the Nonprofits Assistance Fund summed it up well when she said, "What nonprofits can learn...is to maintain the conviction that their work in the community is essential, vital, and will be valued. Carry this passion with you in advocacy, fundraising, and communications as you tell your story and share the impact. At the same time, confront the brutal facts of economic downturn and budget cuts by being disciplined about financial information, contingency budgets (with multiple scenarios) and cautious use of reserves."

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