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2017 Key Metrics for Philanthropy-Serving Organizations

Publication date: 
November, 2017

United Philanthropy Forum’s first-ever 2017 Key Metrics for Philanthropy-Serving Organizations report provides comprehensive benchmarking data and analyses on the governance, finances, membership, services and programs, and operations of regional and national philanthropy-serving organizations (PSOs).

Key Findings

PSO Diversity

PSO boards are more diverse than nonprofit boards overall but less diverse than 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. Nearly three-quarters (74%) of PSOs report having guiding principles or a strategic plan referencing diversity, equity, and/or inclusion (DEI), while a nearly equal number (68%) 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 (31%), followed by member dues (26%) and unrestricted grant support (21%). Smaller PSOs are far more dependent on member dues than larger PSOs.

Nearly half of PSO expenses (47%) 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 than national PSOs, but national PSOs reported spending far more on consulting support. 

PSOs optimistic on their economic outlook. Three out of five PSOs (60%) indicated that their budgets would be higher in 2017 compared to 2016. Only 7% expect their budgets to be lower, and the balance (33%) anticipate that their budgets will remain about the same.

PSO Membership Renewal & Growth

PSOs have positive outlook on membership growth. Half of all PSOs expect to see an increase in institutional members in the current fiscal year and just 5% expect their membership to decline.

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Findings presented in the "Key Metrics" eport are based on the responses of 51 PSOs to United Philanthropy Forum’s “2017 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.