Surviving Dark Economic Times: A Non-Profit’s Employees Take a Stand

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Audubon's WarblerThe National Audubon Society, like so many other businesses and organizations in the United States, is struggling with the current economic recession. So much so, that they have made a significant push for contributions from their own employees. Despite salary freezes for this year and the next as well as the threat of layoffs in the near future, Audubon employees have stepped up and pledged $800,000 in voluntary payroll deductions.
The society’s president, John Flicker, stated that they hoped that their employees’ demonstration would inspire others to make donations and other financial commitments in this tough economic environment.

The Audubon Society’s fiscal year ending in June 2008 actually saw a significant increase in total revenue, from $82.4 million to $104.2 million. But with the U.S. recession that began in the fall, the outlook dimmed. This year, direct mail donations have been relatively steady thus far, but advertising revenue from the society’s magazine as well as licensing royalties have significantly decreased. According to an Audubon spokesman, one major licensee has even gone out of business. Membership is also down.

But the biggest financial fear right now is really 2010. Pledges from corporations and individuals are largely being kept in 2009, at least thus far, but even if the economy turns around, both individuals and companies will have significantly less disposable capital available for charitable organizations due to the drop in the value of stock portfolios around the world.

Nonetheless, the Audubon Society has existed now for over a century. They made it through the Great Depression and will no doubt weather this recession as well. In this rather depressing period of the nation’s history, with so many out of work and so many more fearing for their livelihoods, it is heartening to see the society’s employees pulling together for each other and for a cause they believe in.

Photo Credit: jessicafm at flickr

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