Chronicle of Philanthropy: Facing Financial Stress, Nonprofits Lay Off Workers

UC economist Michael Jones' study of nonprofits cited in in-depth piece on COVID-19's impact

COVID-19 has created adversity in virtually every business sector. Nonprofits are no exception.

The Chronicle of Philanthropy's feature story, "Facing Financial Stress, Nonprofits Lay Off Workers," provides a sobering look at the challenges nonprofits are up against, as well as a guide for leadership to minimize the damage. 

"The government does not track the number of layoffs by nonprofit groups, but it is likely that they are as hard hit by the crisis as others," writes author Jim Rendon. "Nonprofits across the country have furloughed staff (a mandatory suspension from work for a period of time where benefits are usually retained), laid them off, or are already considering such moves to help them shore up their finances as they face an uncertain future."

Rendon's piece cites research by Michael Jones, associate professor of economics at the University of Cincinnati Carl H. Lindner College of Business and executive director of the Kautz-Uible Economics Institute. The research, originally published by Jones on Medium on April 3, finds that of 155,000 nonprofits with budgets over $50,000 excluding hospitals and schools, 18,000 groups ­— roughly 12 percent — had less than two weeks of cash on hand.

"These groups employ 1.65 million people and will certainly have trouble weathering this crisis," wrote Rendon. "All the nonprofits in the analysis had an average of just three months of cash on hand."

Featured image: Lindner Hall, home of the Carl H. Lindner College of Business.