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2021 Key Metrics for Philanthropy-Serving Organizations

Publication date: 
December, 2021

United Philanthropy Forum’s 2021 Key Metrics for Philanthropy-Serving Organizations report provides comprehensive benchmarking data and analyses on the finances, membership, services and programs, operations, and governance of regional and national philanthropy-serving organizations (PSOs). This is a resource for Forum members only. Nonmembers, funders, and other organizations may access the Key Findings and Executive Summary.


PSO Board Diversity

  • PSO Boards Are Growing More Diverse. Forty-four (44) percent of PSO board members identify as people of color—up slightly from the prior year and markedly from the 33 percent shares reported in both 2018 and 2017. This figure is also double the 22 percent of nonprofit board members across the country who identify as people of color. However, more than two out of five PSO boards (45 percent) are more than 60 percent white, suggesting that PSO boards need to make additional progress to reflect the full diversity of the country.

PSO Finances & Operations

  • Most PSOs are positive about the near-term economic outlook for their organizations. Nearly two-thirds of all PSOs (65 percent) indicated that their budgets would be higher in 2021 compared to 2020. Only 10 percent of PSOs expected their budgets to be lower. The balance of PSOs (25 percent) anticipated that their budgets would remain about the same. National PSOs were especially positive, with (71 percent) expecting to grow their 2021 budgets, compared to 59 percent of regional PSOs.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted PSOs finances & operations in numerous ways. With COVID-19 forcing PSOs to move to virtual program formats in the past year, their median conference profits reduced significantly. In addition, eight national PSOs reported closing their offices in response to the pandemic and transitioning to fully virtual operations, raising the number of fully virtual national PSOs to 14, and other PSOs are reevaluating their current office space.

PSO Membership Renewal & Growth

  • PSOs report fairly high renewal rates. National and regional PSOs both reported a median 92 percent membership renewal rate.
  • Most PSOs expect stable or growing membership. More than two out of five PSOs expect to see an increase in their membership numbers in the current fiscal year; just 8 percent expect their membership to decline.

Learn More

Download the Report

Download Additional Benchmarking Tables (Forum Members Only)

Findings presented in the "Key Metrics" report are based on the responses of 63 PSOs to United Philanthropy Forum’s “2021 Forum Compensation, Benefits & Key Metrics Survey.” Respondents included regional PSOs as well as national PSOs that are focused on a funding issue, population group, philanthropic practice or type of funder. This report is a companion report to the “Compensation & Roles” report on PSO employment practices that the Forum released earlier this year, based on additional learnings from the survey.