Oil and water rarely mix: exploring the relative stability of nonprofit revenue mixes over time

Document type
Teasdale, Simon; Kerlin, Janelle; Young, Dennis
Third Sector Research Centre
Date of publication
1 June 2013
Working paper; 99
Community Development and Regeneration
Social welfare
Material type

Download (675KB )

This paper explores whether nonprofits are increasingly adopting mixed revenue strategies, and the sustainability of these strategies over time. The researchers constructed a panel using NCCS (National Centre for Charitable Statistics) data from 1998 and 2007, and divided nonprofits into three groups: commercial, donative and mixed revenue. It found no evidence that nonprofits were increasingly adopting mixed revenue strategies. Mixed revenue strategies appeared less sustainable over time than predominately commercial or predominately donative strategies. The results suggest that for most nonprofits, relying predominately on either commercial or donative revenue is a more stable equilibrium than attempting to achieve a balanced revenue mix. Exceptions may be those nonprofits, such as arts organisations, where there is a natural alliance between donors and customers.

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