This shortfall of individual giving
puts New Jersey’s nonprofits on shaky
ground, with insufficient revenue to
fill the void left by government and few
places to turn for alternative funding.
And current needs are pressing. In a
survey on philanthropic trends published
this year by the Center for Non-Profits,
more than 80 percent of responding
nonprofit organizations reported that
demand for their services had increased
in 2013 and that they expected still more
demand in the coming year. Nearly one-third reported that their expenses exceeded revenue and support in 2013, and
74 percent said they expected expenses
to increase in 2014.
ARE NEW JERSEYANS STINGY by
nature? Czipo, of the Center for Non-Profits, thinks not. She speculates that
our giving numbers reflect, in part, the
high cost of living in the state, which
severely curtails discretionary spending. The data also do not reflect exactly
how much bang we’re getting for our
buck. In fact, more of our giving may go
to those truly in need than in states like
Utah and Alabama, where a substantial
percentage of donor funding goes to
And certainly there are many New
Jersey individuals and companies that
give generously—as documented by New
Jersey Monthly’s annual Seeds of Hope
Awards and the new Great Oaks Awards
(see page 64).
Czipo suspects that a state-level
charitable tax incentive could help to
increase private donations. The Center
for Non-Profits is investigating the feasibility of such an incentive.
“I believe it’s in the state’s best inter-
est to have a healthy, thriving nonprofit
community so the needs of society can
be met,” says Czipo.
Not too many of us would argue with
that. But given New Jersey’s inability to
shake off the recession, and the increasing shift of responsibility for social
services from government to the private
sector, the health of our nonprofit community could be severely compromised
for years to come. ;
Leslie Garisto Pfaff is a longtime corre-
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