Dissertations and Theses @ UNI


Open Access Thesis


United Way--Administration; Recessions--Social aspects--United States; Nonprofit organizations--Economic aspects--United States; Academic theses;


In December of 2007, a recession began in the United States that affected nearly every aspect of the economy. The Great Recession created a global meltdown of numerous sectors including the nonprofit sector. The nonprofit sector is a significant part of the United States economy, making up more than 10 percent of employment and has approximately 1.4 million nonprofit organizations registered with the Internal Revenue Service. The researcher examined what effect the recession had on nonprofit organizations. The purpose of the study is to determine how the recession that began in 2007 has impacted 501(c) nonprofit organizations in five United States cities. The researcher sent a survey to five United Ways in different regions of the United States. The researcher sent the UNT Survey of Economic Impact on Nonprofit Organizations: Version II to United Ways in the five of the United States. The survey was sent to: (a) Cedar Falls, Iowa; (b) Dallas, Texas; (c) Kansas City, Kansas; (d) Orlando, Florida; and (e) Hattiesburg, Mississippi via local United Way organizations. These cities were selected because, of the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance collegiate programs at colleges located within each city, giving the survey a convenience sampling. The survey asked questions regarding how the recession impacted the demand for services, financial funding, actions taken and the ability to capitalize on opportunities in light of the recession. The results showed that 39% of nonprofits were impacted significantly by the recession. Seventy percent of nonprofits had an increase in the demand for services, of which a little more than half (55%) were able to meet the need. Funding was down from all sources, except fees for services which an increase in funding. Organizations were likely to take actions that were not detrimental to services, but were likely to cut personnel and benefits to accommodate the change in finances. Finally, 64% of organizations capitalized on opportunities created in light of the recession. Mostly, organizations received one-time grants due to the recession. Overall, the results indicated that nonprofit organizations made strategic decisions in an attempt to survive the economic downturn.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Master of Arts


School of Health, Physical Education, and Leisure Services

First Advisor

Julianne Gassman

Second Advisor

Kathleen Scholl

Third Advisor

Christopher Kowalski


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Date Original


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1 PDF file (66 leaves)



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