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2018 Key Metrics for Philanthropy-Serving Organizations

Publication date: 
October, 2018

We are currently collecting updated data and expect the full report to be released in September 2021. Please contact Ivana Bikombe to learn more about how to update your PSO's information.

United Philanthropy Forum’s 2018 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), based on the responses of 56 PSOs.

Key Findings

PSO Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

  • PSO boards are more diverse than nonprofit boards overall but less diverse than the U.S. population. Two-thirds of PSO board members (67%) identify as white, compared to 84% of nonprofit board members in the country. However, PSO boards are not as diverse as the population of the United States, which is 61% white, suggesting that PSOs need to make additional progress to reflect the full diversity of the country on their boards.

  • Most PSOs have strategies and resources focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). More than four out of five PSOs (83%) report having guiding principles or a strategic plan referencing DEI, 89% conducted at least one program with a DEI focus in the past 12 months, and 65% report having at least one staff member with job duties that include a focus on DEI.

PSO Finances

  • Restricted grants are largest source of PSO revenue. For PSOs overall, restricted grants represented the single largest share of their revenue (49%), followed by member dues (22%) and unrestricted grant support (13%). Regional PSOs and smaller PSOs are notably more dependent on member dues than national and/or larger PSOs.

  • Half of PSO expenses go to employee salaries and benefits, consistent with the average share reported by ASAE for nonprofit associations overall (49%). Regional PSOs reported slightly higher combined salary and benefits expenses (56%) than national PSOs (44%), but national PSOs reported spending more on consulting support.

  • PSOs remain mostly positive about the economic outlook, but there are small signs of weakness. A majority (59%) of PSOs indicated that their budgets would be higher in 2018. However, 17% of PSOs expected their budget to be lower in 2018, compared to only 7% in the 2017 survey.

PSO Membership Renewal & Growth

  • PSOs continue to report fairly high renewal rates and have a positive outlook on membership growth. PSOs reported a 94% median membership renewal rate, consistent with 2017. Meanwhile, half of all PSOs expect to see an increase in institutional members in the current fiscal year and just 7% expect a decline.

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Findings presented in the "Key Metrics" eport are based on the responses of 56 PSOs to United Philanthropy Forum’s “2018 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 & Benefits” report on PSO employment practices that the Forum released earlier this year, based on additional learnings from the survey.