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2018 Key Metrics for Philanthropy-Serving Organizations

Publication date: 
October, 2018

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.