New Jersey non-profits are struggling and HomeSharing is no exception.
Federal, state and local governments provide the majority of funding for state non-profits. Additional funding comes from the private sector, mostly individual donors. The rest comes from corporations and private foundations. There has been a trend in New Jersey to reduce government funding for “nonessential” services. It is assumed that the private sec-tor will make up the difference in funding. However, the economic downturn also affected individual donors, corpora-tions and foundations (NJ Monthly, 2014) and New Jersey has not fully recovered. Although only a small percentage of HomeSharing’s budget comes from government sources, the fact that other non-profits once reliant on public funding are now competing for limited private sector donations means less revenue for all of the agencies.
The statistics for New Jersey non-profits, as reported by The Center for Non-Profits (2016) are sobering.
74% of NJ non-profits say that demand for services has risen and 78% expected demand to increase again in the next year;
64% reported that their expenses were higher than in the previous year and 70% expected expenses to rise again next year;
Less than half reported receiving more funding than in the prior year (and expected the trend to continue); and
35% reported that expenses exceeded revenue in the prior year.
HomeSharing mirrors these statistics. We have seen a 23% increase in requests for service and have been able to increase nights of shelter by 19% over the last year. We have had a 12% increase in expenses, but this year we are down 7% in revenue. For the last three years, our expenses have exceeded our revenue. Three other non-profits in our community have closed since June.
HomeSharing is fortunate to have a small operating reserve to cover the lean times, diverse funding sources, 100% of our Trustees making donations, and a cost-effective program that others look to replicate. We rely on our funders to sustain us, as we wait for the economy to recover.